September is REALTOR® Safety Month so this is a good time to remind agents and clients alike, of the risk of encountering someone who may be intent on doing you harm.
As an agent, I meet new people on a regular basis. Most of the time I have little or no opportunity to screen the person before we begin to interact. Showing vacant homes or even holding open houses presents a situation where you have very limited control over an unexpected meeting. You have to be a quick judge of character, ask the right questions and still make a good impression.
Clients too are not averse of risk when meeting a new agent. I know it is hard to believe, but there people who will pose as an agent for nefarious reasons. As a client you should always take a few minutes to research the agent that you are planning to meet. For most clients, it is easy enough to find information on an agent, including contact information and even pictures. A few minutes of investigation will let you know if the person you are meeting is, in fact, the person you are expecting to meet. Meeting first at an agent’s office or in a public place may be safer than meeting at a vacant home.
Many people that want to view homes like to remain anonymous. They are concerned that the agent will "bug" them if they reveal too much about themselves. When meeting with an agent at an open house or a home showing please don't be insulted if I ask you to sign in or even present some ID to verify your identity. It is for your safety and the agents.
If you prefer not to have the agent contact you after your meeting, let them know right up front. Most agents are very good at honoring a person’s request.
For more insightful tips visit: From The OutSide Looking In a real estate blog for the well informed.