Safety First!

Real Estate Agent with ERA Suncoast Realty

Just another reason for us to be very careful as Realtors.  Our office has several policies we use when going out with buyers or listing appointments.  First and foremost if you don't feel comfortable take an associate with you.  If you are uneasy with a prospective buyer, tell them you need to make a copy of their driver's licenses for your file before you take them to show them houses, have them pre-qualified by a lender, make an itinerary and file it with someone in the office prior to leaving and have them call you several times while you are out.  Basically always trust your gut feelings about people.  You can also do a google search, check them out on the FDLE website (where sexual offenders and predetators are registered) or your local law enforcement site.  Bottom line be safe, no deal is worth being harmed or dying for.

As received from the Florida Association of Realtors:

Realtor robbed, threatened during property showing

LAKELAND, Fla. - April 3, 2008 - A Realtor for Exit Realty in Lakeland was robbed and threatened Tuesday by two men posing as potential renters for an apartment she owns.

According to Lakeland police, the woman met the two men, who had called about her rental property, at the apartment Tuesday afternoon. After walking through the residence, one of the suspects grabbed the Realtor and threatened her with a knife, while the other man bound her wrists with tape and put her in the laundry room.

The suspect threatened to kill her, tied her up and left her in the laundry room, said Jack Gillen, a spokesman for the Lakeland Police Department. The men stole personal belongings of the victim, including credit cards, money, jewelry and her car, a 2006 green Nissan Altima.

Detectives are working the case and continuing to follow leads, Gillen said. The suspects are considered armed and dangerous; anyone with information should call the Lakeland Police Department.

Because of their frequent contact with unfamiliar people in isolated locations, Realtors face more on-the-job risks than many other business professionals. Many local Realtor boards and associations, including the Lakeland Association of Realtors, offer safety education and training courses. Most real estate offices also have their own safety policies and procedures in place for dealing with suspicious clients.

Some suggestions to help stay safe during a property showing include asking a new client to stop by the office to complete a Prospect Identification Form, preferably in the presence of an associate. As part of the information, get the client's car make and license number, photocopy the driver's license and keep the information at the office. Be sure to call references and verify employment and current address. It's also a good idea to introduce the prospect to someone in your office - a would-be assailant does not like to be noticed or receive exposure, knowing a person could pick him/her out of a police lineup.

Comments (7)

Jeffery Griffin
Jeff Griffin LLC - Wailuku, HI
Broker Owner
pretty darn safe on the island of Maui Hawaii
Apr 03, 2008 06:36 AM
Jeremy Blanton
Myrtle Beach Homes Blog - Myrtle Beach, SC
Myrtle Beach REALTOR®-
Great always need to be alert & aware!!!
Apr 03, 2008 06:42 AM
Michael A. Caruso
Surterre Properties - Laguna Niguel, CA

Hi Melinda,

Some good safety advice, thanks for sharing.  Have a great & safe week.  Michael A. Caruso

Apr 03, 2008 06:49 AM
Jude Sandvall: DreamHomes by Jude
Brokers Guild Classic - Englewood, CO
good information.  i'm always a little wary as i visit many vacant HUD properties and have even run into homeless people living in them.
Apr 03, 2008 06:50 AM
Keith Goodman
Keith Goodman - Merced, CA
Melinda. I think that the above things are important for any agent, man or woman. People now-a-days are alot more brave, not being afraid to assault in broad daylight. Thanks for the post, Keith..
Apr 03, 2008 06:51 AM
Melinda Barry
ERA Suncoast Realty - Crystal River, FL

To all have posted comments.....Thank you!!!!

We just recently had a seller robbed and it was pretty scary.  A elderly woman came to her door and knocked stating that all the flyers were gone from the flyer box.  The seller invited her in for a look, the woman said is it ok if my daughter comes in, the seller said yes.  While the daughter kept the seller busy, the woman stole the sellers credit cards and later made some pretty serious purchases.

So, we even need to remind our sellers the importance of not opening their doors to potential criminals.  As of yet, I believe these ladies are still at large in our county.

Everyone, take care and have a safe, happy and prosperous weekend!

Apr 04, 2008 03:07 AM
Amanda Harper
Essential Properties, Inc. - Goodyear, AZ
Thanks for the great reminder. It is so easy to get caught up in the day to day and forget about our own personal safety. We need to always be cautious and do what we can to minimize these things from happening
Apr 04, 2008 05:43 AM