Every once in awhile I see one of these stories and I shudder. And then I decide to take a break from talking about marketing to share, once again, about the importance of Realtor® safety.
We’ve all heard what we should do, but these stories continue to happen, again and again. All I can think is that we all take shortcuts because it’s easier, faster, and anyway, we think it could never happen to us.
But it can. And the only way to keep from being a victim is to follow these important safety rules.
Never Meet With Someone Who Isn’t Prequalified By a Lender
How do you know someone is a serious home buyer? When they are prequalified. So absolutely, positively do not meet with people who are not.
Even if they are harmless, meeting with someone who isn’t financially qualified isn’t a good use of your time. And in the worst case scenario, well… you fill in the blank.
As a professional, you need to focus your energy on the people who will become your best clients. Those people are financially prequalified before they start searching for a home.
Always Meet With Someone At Your Office First
Once someone is prequalified, it’s time to get to know them. The first place to meet them is in your office, and you should get their ID and make a copy for your files. That way, your broker has identifying information if something goes wrong.
Never, ever meet someone for the first time at a home you’re showing. When agents are assaulted, kidnapped, or killed, it almost always happens at a home showing when the agent and prospective client are alone.
If someone objects to meeting at your office or threatens to find another Realtor® if you won’t show them a home before you meet, let them go. Your life isn’t worth it.
Work in Pairs
One thing I wish I could enforce at all times is working in pairs. I know that real estate is an individual industry and no one wants to spend time on a showing or open house that they aren’t profiting from, but imagine how much would change if we found a way to work in pairs?
Find someone in your brokerage office or even a friend, and offer to pay them a bit per hour to be with you at showings, open houses, and anywhere else you’d otherwise be alone. It could avert an awful tragedy.
Create a Safety Pledge and Have Listing Clients Sign It
Do you know who ELSE wants you to identify and prequalify everyone before you show a home? The folks LISTING it!
Listing clients have no idea that Realtors® will frequently let complete strangers into their home, and are often relieved to find out that as an agent you’re different. Emphasize how important their property is to you and talk to them about the importance of safety.
We Want You To Succeed – Safely
Don’t blow off the safety steps you can take. Yes, they take time. Yes, a client may get mad. But you know what?
It’s not worth your life.