Safety First!

By
Real Estate Agent with Coldwell Banker Home Connection

As we sometimes encounter in our profession, one of our agents recently had a strange showing experience with some potential buyers.  This couple acted very oddly from the moment they stepped into the home and really created suspicion with their comments.  Fortunately, our agent knew that there were steps she could take to notify us of her concerns.  We had discussed a plan with our agents in advance and brainstormed on various ways that they could let us know if they ever felt concerned for their safety.  Her gut instinct was to react with caution and she changed her showing routine and immediately put up her guard.  The buyers have some potential interest in the property, they might just be rather "unique", but it was enough for her to fear for her safety.  Her experience reminds us how important it is to take precautions when meeting with customers.  It's important to have a "distress" plan in place and to always be aware of signs of potential trouble.  Always put your safety first, listen to your instincts, and if you're not comfortable find a way to cut short the appointment and leave.  It's better to lose a potential sale than to risk your safety.

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Ambassador
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Susan Emo
Sotheby's International Realty Canada - Brokerage - Kingston, ON
Kingston and the 1000 Islands Area

Lynn -  I'd be curious to hear how 'oddly' these people acted; what did they do, say?   Also, what is your exit strategy or distress plan?   Thanks for reminding us all the important need to stay safe over making a buck!

Mar 23, 2010 10:22 AM #1
Rainmaker
1,248,390
Steven L. Smith
King of the House Home Inspection, Inc. - Bellingham, WA
Bellingham WA Home Inspector

There was a young female agent killed at an open house north of here in Canada a couple years ago.

Mar 23, 2010 10:25 AM #2
Rainmaker
1,402,864
Vickie Nagy
Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate - Palm Springs, CA
Vickie Jean the Palm Springs Condo Queen

This is a great reminder to all of us in the profession, men and women, and I thank you for it!

Mar 23, 2010 10:28 AM #3
Rainmaker
588,565
Susan Neal
RE/MAX Gold, Fair Oaks - Fair Oaks, CA
Fair Oaks CA & Sacramento Area Real Estate Broker

Hi Lynn, That is a pretty scary illustration with your post.  If the guy looked like that, no wonder the agent was nervous!  Seriously, when I show property or hold an open house, my phone is in my pocket and my blue tooth in my ear.  If I touch my blue tooth and say, "Call Jon," it will dial his cell phone and then I can say whatever I want him to hear without the prospect knowing that I'm on the phone. 

He also calls me about once an hour just to check on me.  We don't make a big deal out of it, but it does provide a safety net.  A few other gals in my office have also asked me to call them when they are doing open houses alone. It's just a good idea not to have a 3-4 hour period where you might be in trouble but your family and coworkers think you're fine because they know you will be at the open house for hours, and you can always tell the spooky guy that you just got an emergency call and have to potpone the rest of the tour/open house until later.

Mar 23, 2010 10:34 AM #4
Rainmaker
879,905
Kerry L Klun, Broker/Owner
Palm Realty - Melbourne, FL
321-626-5868

One of my collegues here in Denver made a safe escape from an open house she was holding.  She looked out of a second floor window and saw a man pull a knife out of a bag as he entered the house.  She knew the floorplan of the property and ran down a back staircase and exited through the garage and jumped in her car and took off.

I think she quit doing open houses after that.  They never caught the guy.  Very Scarey!

Mar 23, 2010 11:01 AM #5
Rainmaker
92,270
Lynn Johnson
Coldwell Banker Home Connection - Owatonna, MN
Owatonna, MN Real Estate

From the comments so far it's easy to see that this is a subject that affects a lot of people - and some with very lasting and tragic results.  We've always had a code in our office that agents can use when they are concerned for their safety - make a phone call and mention the "red" file.  We also meet up with agents on showings if they're uncomfortable or accompany them from the start.  I've sometimes just tagged along when an agent asks.  I check out all the exits in a house when I hold an open and will make sure that all the exit doors are accessible.  It's also smart to make plans with a spouse or friend about checking in at regular intervals.  Be sure that someone knows the address of the property (properties) you're showing and the name of the people you're meeting (when meeting a new, unfamiliar customer).  If I feel really uncomfortable I'll be sure to be the person closest to the room entry and will let them go into the basement first and will stay close to the door.  There are a variety of precautions that people can take - be careful and listen to your instinct.

Mar 23, 2010 03:41 PM #6
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Rainmaker
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Lynn Johnson

Owatonna, MN Real Estate
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