A recent NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® survey reveals that almost 40 percent of REALTORS® have experienced a situation that caused them to fear for their personal safety or the safety of their personal information. Five percent said they were victims of an actual crime, such as a robbery, assault or identity theft.
How can you avoid becoming a REALTOR® safety statistic? Here are 10 precautions you can take to shield yourself from danger as you go about your daily business:
- Suggest to all first-time clients that your initial meeting take place at your office or in a public place.
- Before leaving your office with a new client, ask him or her to provide a driver’s license or other form of photo identification. Make a photocopy for your file. Drive separately and meet your clients at the property or other location.
- Maintain a mobile calendar that an assistant, office manager, family member or friend can access in order to check your schedule. It should include appointment times, property addresses, and contact information for your meeting. Before a meeting or showing, let this individual know when and where the meeting will take place, and what time you’ll be finished. Be sure to touch base to let them know when the meeting is over.
- Make sure your cell phone is well charged and contains emergency numbers that are easily accessible in the event of a situation.
- Consider downloading an app to help keep you safe by triggering a silent alarm, broadcasting GPS coordinates, one-button auto dialing, and other safety features. Some of these apps include React Mobile, AgentsArmor, OnGuardHelp, Real Alert, CUFF and AlertID. Don’t forget to ask if they offer discounts for REALTORS®.
- Avoid parking in a driveway or someplace where you might be boxed in. You might consider taking a picture of the client’s license plate and texting it to your office.
- When entering a property with a client or clients, unlock the door and let them enter first. And as you tour the home, invite clients to enter each room ahead of you. When possible, try to keep yourself between the client and an exit. And it’s a good idea to invite clients to enter attics, basements, garages and other confined spaces by themselves.
- During an Open House, arrange for an assistant or colleague to be present. Have a sign-in sheet that includes verifiable contact information and ask clients to show a photo ID.
- Avoid sharing personal information with a new client. Only share your professional information.
Ultimately, the best step you can take to remain safe on the job is to trust your intuition and avoid situations which might leave you vulnerable. Safety experts advise if something a client says or does during an appointment doesn’t feel right, it’s okay to end the meeting and exit immediately.