Take the steps to ensure your safety. Image courtesy of justbesafe.com
September is Safety Month for Realtors for the National Assocation of Realtors (NAR). While the association dedicates this month to spotlight the importance of personal safety, we would like to take the time to remind all real estate agents of the necessary precautions to be practiced regularly to keep them out of harm's way.
The following 10 tips and tools serve as guidelines to help Realtors establish and maintain a safety-based routine to their daily procedures:
1. Meet clients for the first time in your office and ask for identification. Find out as much as you can about your new prospect, such as their occupation, interests, family, etc. Introduce all clients to coworkers and make it clear you will be taking them out of the office.
2. Be sure your cell phone is fully charged and in your possession at all times. Pre-program emergency contacts as your speed dial options. Designate a mundane password or phrase with someone to serve as an alert. For example, "Can you please pull the Jones file before I return to the office?"
3. Always let someone at your office know of your schedule when holding open houses. Inform the neighbors on either side of the property of your times at the location, and ask if he or she can watch for anything out of the ordinary. Be alert of patterns in visitors' arrivals, especially towards the end of your open house. Never assume that all visitors have left the premises.
4. Do a walk-through with the homeowner and discuss any safety precautions that may need to be done; check all rooms, and determine escape routes.
5. Keep your car keys easily accessible. Today's cars are equipped with a panic button on the remote key entry to alert anyone in the area of your distress.
6. Homes equipped with security systems are connected to emergency services. Knowing the emergency code on a home's alarm system can serve as a direct link to the help you may need.
7. Let your office know where you are at all times, and try to let your clients know that you shared this information. Complete a registry or itinerary form noting your time of absence and information about the company joining you.
8. When showing, never inform a caller on an ad or sign that the property is vacant. Direct the prospective buyer through individual rooms by pointing the destination and gesturing for them to go ahead of you. Always avoid confined areas without windows or an easy way out.
9. Consider driving in a separate car from your client. If you must take one car, you have more control when using your own. Lock your doors immediately after getting in your car and whenever you leave it unattended.
10. Remind sellers that strangers will be in their home. Advise them to store any valuables and/or weapons in a secure place.
As a real estate professional, you spend a significant amount of time engaging unfamiliar people in sometimes remote locations throughout your market area-whether hosting an open house, meeting new clients to sell a property, or showing prospective buyers a vacant home. By taking the right steps, you can help ensure a safe, secure experience. Remember, your health and security is the most important part of every transaction.