How Real Estate Agents Can Protect Themselves in the Field

Real Estate Broker/Owner with Vision Realty

I'm tired of hearing about another real estate agent that was murdered, hurt or robbed while on the job. This is a tough business, especially when you are traveling around to vacant homes with unknown people. But, there are ways that we can take care of ourselves and protect ourselves on the field. Adapted from an article on Realtor Magazine, here are some of the main points I took away on how to protect ourselves in the real estate business.

Never do open houses alone.

This might be a difficult thing to do but partnering up for open houses really can protect both agents and the homeowners house. With two people protecting the house and monitoring people coming in and out, there's less of a chance that someone's going to rob the house or do something illegal.

Be alert.

Simply being alert and aware of your surroundings can really keep you safe. Be on the lookout for clues and definitely trust your gut. If something doesn't seem right or feel right, there's probably a reason. Make an excuse to leave if you're getting red flags and clues that something is just not right. Make sure that wherever you are in the house or on the property you have an easy route of escape. Don't lock yourself in any backyards or rooms and keep your phone close by ready to make a call if necessary. Have pepper spray on your keychain and always have a good exit plan in case things go south quickly.

Don't be distracted.

It's easy to get distracted when showing someone a house. If there are multiple buyers they can divide and conquer and set up a distraction in one area. Be aware of your surroundings and your clients at all times. Keep all your valuables on you or in the trunk of your car locked up, however, don't lock your car in case you need to make a speedy getaway.

Let someone know where you are.

In vacant homes, squatters are not that uncommon and can be very startling if you walk in on a house with uninvited guests. Call a friend or spouse and let them know the address of where you are going to be and that you're planning on calling them as soon as the appointment is done. If for some reason you don't call within the timeframe or check-in, your friend has been instructed to call 911 and give them the address.

Don't get lax on referrals.

Just because a client is a referral from a trusted source doesn't mean that this referral will be safe. These are people you have never met before and it's important to treat them as you would a complete stranger.

Take extra precautions with REOs.

Some electronic keys have a panic button that can dial several numbers and play a recorded message saying that you need help. Bank owned or distressed homes may be in neighborhoods with a high crime rate so visit these homes in the daytime and take extra precautions.

Simply being aware and trusting your guy has proven to be the most effective way to stay safe. Always let someone know where you will be and check in often.  - Posted first on Linkedin

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columbus, lewis center and gahanna real estate

Columbus Ohio real estate - Vision RealtyAs a certified Realtor® for the top-rated Columbus Realty Firm - Vision Realty, with 32 years of dedicated real estate experience, I can help buyers, sellers, investors, short sale sellers and more find, sell or invest in the right property, at the right price, at the right time. Contact me anytime for updates and information on the Columbus OH Real Estate market.


Donald Payne - Vision Realty, Inc.
4608 North High Street

Columbus, OH 43214

Toll-free: (866) 510-2223

Cell: (614) 323-4348
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Dorothy Liu

Good points, also consider pepper spray and a self defense class.

Nov 09, 2017 06:43 PM #4
Patricia Baker

As a woman, I never ever meet a stranger (buyer) in a house for the first time. They must agree to meet me in my office first to assess their needs. If they refuse, they will not be my client and they will never be loyal to me. If I am the listing agent I never meet them at night in my seller's home and usually take my son (on my team) with me. I also ask for a pre approval lender letter before I have a private showing with a (direct) stranger at one of my listings. Or ask them to come to an open house with others.

Nov 09, 2017 07:30 PM #5
Stephen Connolly

If I feel uneasy at all I will make sure to carry pepper spray or my firearm--I usually never really have too unless I have not previouly met the clients before hand and not pre=screened them.  Also its important to allow the client to walk in front of you at all times

Nov 09, 2017 08:03 PM #6
Fred Sweezer Sr.
Hud Certified 203K Consultant - Long Beach, CA
Certified Home Inspector

Thanks for your post it covers all the areas of being safe. 

Nov 09, 2017 08:47 PM #7
Truestar Home Inspection Services - Gibsons, BC
Home Inspections, Condo and Townhouse Inspections

Thank you for sharing this blog.

I will share it with my trusted agents

Nov 09, 2017 09:25 PM #8

Avoiding the threat is always the best solutions. There are CE approved classes for that created by some active military and police here:

Nov 09, 2017 09:45 PM #9
John Wiley
Right Move Real Estate Group- EXP Realty - Fort Myers, FL
Lee County, FL Real Estate GRI, SRES,GREEN,PSA

Thanks for some great tips.

I think safety starts with the first contact. Too many agents get so excited about a possible buyer that they just run out the door to meet them.

This is not safe. Vet them before you ever go to a showing. Have them meet you in the office, get their info. Make sure you have someone that knows your whereabouts and can track you. There are apps that will do that easily.

Nov 10, 2017 02:55 AM #10
Sharon Tara
Sharon Tara Transformations - Portsmouth, NH
New Hampshire Home Stager

Being aware of the surroundings and ready to flee is so important. My husband always has the address and name of the person I'm meeting when I do staging consults. You can't be too cautious!

Nov 10, 2017 03:54 AM #11
Dörte Engel
RE/MAX Leading Edge - Bowie, MD
ABC - Annapolis, Bowie, Crofton & rest of Maryland

Dear Donald,

Keep your spidey senses at the ready.

Nov 10, 2017 04:37 AM #12
Terry McCarley
REMAX Realty Team - Cape Coral FL - Cape Coral, FL

It is sad we live in such a dangerous world.  We really have to be careful in this industry so thanks for the tips!

Nov 10, 2017 04:39 AM #13
Carol Tunis
Florida Homes Realty & Mortgage - Saint Augustine, FL
Carol Tunis...a "HouseSold" name!

Good advise!  I carry pepper spray and have my conceal carry.  If I do an open house, I have my husband with me.  The world is getting more dangerous and it's our responsiblity to protect ourselves.  Be careful out there!  Thank you for this post...


Nov 10, 2017 05:35 AM #14
Michele Connors
The Overton Group, LLC Pitt & Carteret County - Greenville, NC
Your Eastern North Carolina Realtor

I dont hold Open House at any occupied home anymore..too risky allowing stangers right off the street into the home to do carry out their bad intention. 

Nov 10, 2017 06:15 AM #15
Sharon Parisi
United Real Estate Dallas - Dallas, TX
Dallas Homes

This is excellent advice.  It's becoming far too risky to hold open houses.  Recently, a local police department stated that no Realtor should have an open house without another adult present in the home.

Nov 10, 2017 06:50 AM #16
Christi Farrington
William Raveis Real Estate - Norwalk, CT - Norwalk, CT
~ Your representative in Fairfield County, CT

Thank you for the great safety tips.  I no longer enter a listing before my client arrives, especially vacant homes.  The listing that I presently have does have security cameras, and I make sure that people who come to open houses are aware and sign a waiver knowing that they are on camera.  It helps my comfort level ... a little bit.

Nov 10, 2017 01:59 PM #17
Ron Saporito, Palm Desert, CA Real Estate & Mortgage Broker Since 2003
Ronald Christopher & Associates. Proudly serving Palm Desert, La Quinta, Indio, Coachella, Rancho Mirage, Palm Springs. - Indio, CA
Call (760)574-8486.

Great tips for staying safe as a Realtor and congratulations on the feature. 

Nov 10, 2017 04:21 PM #18
Chris Lima
Atlantic Shores Realty Expertise - Port St Lucie, FL
Local or Global-Allow me to open doors for you.

Great safety tips and CONGRATS on the feature. We can never be reminded enough on putting safety first.

Nov 10, 2017 07:04 PM #19
Mary Hutchison, SRES, ABR
Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate-Kansas City Homes - Kansas City, MO
Specializing in Brookside, Waldo, Prairie Village

It is very easy to be a victim at an open house--also takes some work to protect yourself but worth it!

Nov 11, 2017 01:40 PM #20
Jan Green
Value Added Service, 602-620-2699 - Scottsdale, AZ
HomeSmart Elite Group, REALTOR®, EcoBroker, GREEN

Very smart advice! In my other office we gave the receptionist a safe word so that if we ever contacted the office while doing an open house, and used that word, they knew to call the police.  Icognito way of alerting someone that something is wrong.  I don't have that at my new office, but it sure made sense at the time. 

Nov 12, 2017 06:43 PM #21
Sheri Sperry - MCNE®
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - Sedona, AZ
(928) 274-7355 ~ YOUR Solutions REALTOR®

Great points to keep in mind for all agents. Thank you for reminding us. 

Nov 13, 2017 07:45 AM #22
Gary Rossignol
RE/MAX Preffered Group - Cincinnati, OH
Greater Cincinnati's Rock-n-Roll Real Estate Agent

Mortgage lenders and stagers and newer agents are always willing to hold or help at open houses. I'm under the impression that a safety app on your phone will not save your life in a desperate situation. That is why I have my conceal and Carry license and am always protected.

It just makes sense to always meet a new prospect at your office first. NEVER MEET AT THE HOME, especially after dark. With Eastern Standard Time in play it gets dark around 6PM in Ohio. That makes it more of a challange.

Nov 14, 2017 09:52 AM #23
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