On average, there are more than 5 million real estate agents in the United States and Canada combined. With so many people working to buy and sell homes, it’s no surprise that safety is a major concern for this group. To date, there is no safety protocol for real estate agents to follow in order to assure their safety while at work.
This blog post discusses the dangers that come with being a realtor and gives readers 10 tips on how they can protect themselves. These best safety tips for real estate agents are aimed at helping them cope with the daily pressures of their job.
Tip #1: Drive separately from your clients
According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), 83% of agents drive clients from one point to another for appointments. This means that 83% of agents directly risk their lives while at work.
As a real estate agent, you are under no obligation to drive in the same car with your client. While this might sound a little odd, since the first thing in your mind is to close this deal, you should remember that your life is much more important than home buyers.
If you land a potential client who doesn’t have his own car, it will be prudent to use other means such as taxi, bus, Uber, or Lyft. Even if you have your own car ready and fueled, it might not be a good idea to assume the person you are driving with is good.
It’s better to be safe than sorry and you might just save a life in the process. People are not always who they say they are. And that is why this agent safety tip should be top of your list.
In many instances, your client will not be happy about this decision- they are very used to being driven by their agent from point A to B for an appointment. However, it is important that they understand that there has been a direct increase in targeted attacks on agents since 2014; as such safety should always come first.
Tip #2: Learn some self-defense techniques
Among the tips for real estate agents to stay safe, this one is most important, especially for ladies. Walking around with pepper spray in your handbag is an excellent idea. But that might not be enough to scare off those bad actors. It would be better if you learned some self-defense tricks.
Walking into open houses alone is already dangerous. You just don’t know who or what might be hiding in there if there have been no occupants for a long time. But with a few skills in martial arts or judo, you can walk around more confidently.
Tip #3: Avoid expensive jewelry while at work
This might sound awkward since many real estate agents seek to impress their clients. However, it’s better to stay safe by keeping off expensive jewelry than to be sorry. As stated above, there is a thin line between genuine clients and robbers. That last thing you want is having to deal with the wrong group.
Expensive jewelry is a good attraction for bad actors. Your pepper spray might be of little effect to calculating cone artists. It is good for a real estate agent to look sharp, but that should be done with great care.
Tip #4: Avoid Asking for roadside assistance
We understand that the job of a real estate agent can be quite demanding. Long hours of driving can lead to a punctured tire or an engine failure for your car. At that moment, asking for roadside assistance seems to be the best option.
What you may not know is that you could be asking for help from the wrong person. If it’s a must, we suggest you call someone you know and see if they are close enough to offer assistance. Stay safe in black spots by making sure you have a way to communicate with someone you know.
Tip #5: Keep Communication Open
When you accompany your clients to show a property, make sure someone at the office knows where you are. Many agents want to keep their businesses a secret from the competition, which is okay. However, there must be someone you know who should always know where you are and with whom.
You could even let your family and friends know where you are. It never hurts to let someone else watch your back while showing a property to your new client. Your safety is more important than anything else.
Tip #6: Avoid sharing personal information with strangers
Personal safety begins with understanding that not everyone who presents to be a client is good. Your work is to show properties and has those interested in buying pick their preference. So, there is never much need to share personal information like your driver’s license, personal phone number, and home address.
The last thing you want is a stranger at your house because you left them your personal data. Some can even use the information to blackmail in ways you have never known.
Office contact information should be enough for new clients. Any other information should be left for the police or other trusted entities.
Tip #7: Always be prepared
When it’s time to show an open house, always come prepared. Have your marketing materials printed in advance so that you never have to run to and fro. We are talking about how you can stay safe, but you must also keep your lead.
Also, being prepared means getting ready for anything. If you are not comfortable going to the meeting alone, ask another person you trust to come with you. And when you get to the location, look at the surroundings and make sure everything is in order. A vacant house that has no lock should be an alert. Enter such a place with caution, watching for any sign of trouble.
Always park your car at a safe distance. A safe distance between your car and theirs will protect you from any potential threats. It will also prevent any potential “close-up” encounter. Also, this will give you enough time to escape should there be a threat to your life. If you are driving them, park close to the entrance of their appointment or home so that they have an easy time getting out of the vehicle.
Remember that the safety of your client is equally important. You need to walk with them into every building and stay nearby while they conduct business inside. If possible follow behind them instead of staying at ground level near where cars enter (or exit) such as when going through a gate. Make sure to be aware of any suspicious persons around before entering buildings too. This includes people loitering outside waiting by doors/entrances which might just seem like someone trying to sell something but could actually be planning to rob clients or steal from the place of business.
Tip #8: Keep your meetings transparent
In the world of digital gadgets, it’s very easy to get manipulative information. Before you start talking about the number of rooms in a particular house and what door should be opened, ask for personal identification first.
When scheduling a meeting, be sure to set it up in a public place. It could be a place with easy access to the police, other authorities. Your safety should always come first in every meeting. While social media is a great marketing platform, avoid the temptation of keeping all information private as you prepare to meet your new prospect.
Tip #9: Take control of your schedule
When is it convenient for you to present new showings? Always make your own schedules and stick to them. Female agents should take this even more seriously. If it makes you feel uneasy to meet someone in private after dark, push the meeting to your convenient hour.
Hold the keys to your career by making sure everything happens according to your terms and conditions. Of course, you will need to give room for an adjustment wherever possible, but that should not mean you must bend to whatever makes you feel uncomfortable.
Don’t conduct business at night if it’s not required. This is especially important for women who are alone and could face additional safety risks/challenges when in a dark, unfamiliar area or neighborhood.
Avoid parking lots with unlit areas or poorly lit perimeter sidewalks. These can be spots where cars may get broken into more often as well as being an easier place to mug someone walking by too.
Extra care should always be taken when meeting new people after work hours just because they might not actually be potential homebuyers but instead criminals waiting to rob the unsuspecting victim returning from their day-long work.
Tip #10: Tell others where you are
Always carry a cell phone, make sure it has power and use the GPS app so your family knows where you are. Avoid showing any property after dark, unless you are really sure about the client.
Don’t go anywhere alone or without telling someone what time you’ll be home. (This is also important for safety reasons). Among all the safety tips we have shared here, this is perhaps one you should take most seriously. As a real estate agent, safety is of greatest concern, and it begins by trusting other people to watch your back.
Plan how to get back if an emergency arises before leaving work. If there’s no way out of the parking lot then park in front of the exit on display – this will allow easy access during emergencies like an active shooter situation.
If you’re being followed by a car that won’t leave you alone, call 911 immediately and drive away as fast as possible. Most likely, they’ll just follow behind at their own risk which gives law enforcement more time to respond. Avoid stopping in the middle of nowhere to confront them. This could be a good time to call the police and ask for assistance.
Safety tips for real estate agents – Final thought
Your personal safety should always be a priority. Personal information like your cell phone number, home address, driver’s license, and other information has been used to hurt many realtors. It is time to have an emergency backup plan for any situation that comes your way with the safety tips we have shared here. If you have any questions, feel free to reach out and our team will help you.