REALTORS: How Do You Stay Safe?

Posted on Aug 13 2015 - 10:28am by Housecall

safety graphic

When real estate professionals are in the field, safety should be one of their utmost concerns. With REALTOR® Safety Month just around the corner, and the looming anniversary of Arkansas real estate agent Beverly Carter's death, agents should take a few moments to reconsider how they can remain safe while meeting with clients and traveling to various neighborhoods of their respective towns and cities.

RISMedia wants to know: How do you stay safe? Answer a few brief questions below and share your thoughts and strategies for staying safe in real estate. Responses collected will be used for future RISMedia coverage, and shared on Facebook and Twitter.
Create your own user feedback survey

23 Comments so far. Feel free to join this conversation.

  1. Valerie August 14, 2015 at 1:41 pm - Reply

    If any little thing feels wrong, don’t proceed.
    Anyone REALLY interested in buying a home
    will understand. We shut off our instincts all
    the time to conform to others when we shouldn’t

  2. A. Selena Barr August 14, 2015 at 3:45 pm - Reply

    I carry concealed, ALWAYS packing HEAT. Thank God I’m a Texan!

    • Dorothy August 19, 2015 at 5:29 pm - Reply

      Carrying a weapon is like looking for trouble. I do not meet new people alone at vacant properties and neither do the agents in my firm. We Google new clients to confirm who they are. We meet at the office to get to know the people/person and we do not walk on large acreage alone. I have had open houses at vacant properties where I set up my table outside. People sign in and are free to walk thru. Common sense is encouraged, listening to your instincts is encouraged, taking safety risks- not encouraged. No need for a gun, just don’t go where the opportunity for danger is present. No commission is worth it.

      • Walid August 22, 2015 at 10:15 am - Reply

        Carrying a weapon is being prepared. You have no idea when you’ll need it, but when you do, you’re not wasting time wishing you had time to make a phone call to tell someone your red-alert signal.

      • John August 22, 2015 at 10:54 am - Reply

        Nonsense…have you ever been in a “fight or flight” situation? Trust me, the sight of a pistol beading down on someone who is intent on hurting you is far better than any precaution you take. You don’t think someone won’t hurt you in your office?

        I’m not saying go out and buy a firearm but I am saying “better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it”…learn about firearm safety. We all take classes to better our knowledge of real estate…no harm in learning how to protect yourself as well.

  3. Tina Bartlett Hinckley August 17, 2015 at 11:01 am - Reply

    When doing an open house, close at the hour that is advertised After hours, a person intent on harm knows that the likelihood of someone else’s coming in is diminished. Do not be lured into “showing” a remote area of the property such as the basement: Make certain that you always have access to an exit. Keep your cell phone in your pocket.

    • Dorothy August 19, 2015 at 5:31 pm - Reply

      Good advice.

  4. Nikki Belsito August 17, 2015 at 1:05 pm - Reply

    Post a note on the front door: Please ring bell for access. Be advised, out of courtesy to each set of attendees, the door will be locked between visits so the agent can concentrate on the needs of each group of perspective new homeowners. These words indicate to the visitors how I value each individual which I do, but also allows for safety in that no one else can enter while I’m occupied with others. Also, I carry my cell phone with 911 pre set so all I need to do is hit 1 number and send. When meeting folks at a house, if I’ve not met them before, I ask for their phone number, hang up after scheduling the appointment with them, then call them back to reconfirm that the appt had been scheduled. That way I know if it is a legitimate number for them, and give it along with their names to several agents/family prior to meeting them.

  5. Kay Ahrens August 17, 2015 at 2:05 pm - Reply

    At open houses I always give my self a exit, never let
    myself get boxed in a room. Always stand in door way.
    Let neighbors know I’m having the open,

    When showing always have customer meet me at the office

  6. Ryan Huggins August 17, 2015 at 4:17 pm - Reply

    I have a first degree black belt in a self defense martial art. I also carry mace, knives and a concealed handgun with extra ammo.

    Those have never been needed. I listen to my instincts and avoid questionable situations. Defensive tools like the above are great, but if you use them you’ve failed at avoiding a bad situation, if avoidance is possible, in the first place. I also typically have a second person at the open house with me and I keep anything of value on my person.

    Unless you can get the address of there property out, calling 911 is not reliable. GPS coordinates are usually of the cell phone tower handling your call.

  7. Cathy Colvin August 17, 2015 at 4:39 pm - Reply

    I carry a concealed weapon and have been trained. You MUST be trained; otherwise, the perpetrator is more likely to take your weapon and use it against you. Always be vigilant and situationally aware. If you are meeting a new client, give someone else as much info as you have and also check them out. Take photos. Also let someone else know exactly what properties you are going to see and text or call when you’re done. It only takes one instance for you to become a victim, even if you have been in the business a long time.

  8. Dorothy August 19, 2015 at 5:36 pm - Reply

    Shooting another person is not the best outcome. Do not go on questionable calls. Our business is selling real estate, not risking our lives to sell real estate. This is why a pre meeting is so important. And if you really need to meet a new person for the first time, at a property, bring along another agent, your spouse, anyone. It is a great deterrent.

  9. James Standley August 21, 2015 at 2:23 pm - Reply

    Cellphones are good as long as you hit them hard between the eyes. Average response time to 911 call is over 10 minutes! What’s going to happen will happen in the next 30 seconds! I barely escaped a life threatening situation early in my career. I have carried concealed (caliber .45) for over 22 years. I have not had occasion to touch it yet and I hope I never do but I shall remain prepared. I also don’t waste time showing to unqualified prospects. If your lender runs their credit, you’re probably safe but get trained and get a carry concealed permit and a comfortable weapon. Stay alert and aware!

  10. Jamie August 21, 2015 at 3:59 pm - Reply

    I think a lot of agents do not think it could happen to them.
    A good majority of offices in my area have changed the way they do business when it comes to safety. Most have a buddy system and no showings after dark. My state has the ability to carry a concealed weapon and a lot of agents do. We now live in a society where you need to. We have some people out there that think guns are the problem. I for one think criminals can get guns from anywhere and they do not think twice about using them on your family and friends. Personally I do not have a problem with having one on me at all times to protect the people I love.
    If more people learned about guns and had a chance to fire one, then they too would not be afraid to carry one. Crime has gone down since more law abiding citizens carry.

  11. Gary August 21, 2015 at 9:45 pm - Reply

    I carry a concealed weapon 24/7. Those saying not to are simply fools. I carry to protect myself and have done so for over 25 years. I hope to never use it but will it needed. As a Marine I have been fully trained by in weapons and hand to hand combat. I tell any agent to get properly trained and carry a weapon also big with all other security measures such meeting at office, take copies of drivers lic and their car license plates and letting office know where you are going and with whom.

  12. Julie Thompson August 21, 2015 at 9:46 pm - Reply

    I always leave the name, phone and email address of the new customer ( which I verify) I am meeting on my desk or email it . My family knows where (address) I am going. I call them at the end of the appointment or they call me 20 minutes into the appointment to make sure I am ok. I have a code word that would alert them to call the police with the address of the property where I am. This process is only if I am meeting someone I don’t know.

    Normally I have someone do Open Houses with me. The seller has sometimes stayed and walks to the porch while I show the house. I go to a neighbor who is home to let them know I am there. If I have to do them alone, I stand on the porch and tell them to look around. If it is a family I feel very comfortable to go in behind them and demonstrate the house.

    Fortunately I feel safe in the areas I sell homes in but I am aware of strangers and if I feel uncomfortable I will stay outside.

  13. Katie August 21, 2015 at 10:19 pm - Reply

    1. I use CTMecontracts and I have customers sign a Brokerage Disclosure to Seller or Buyer form on their smart phones or tablets (to capture their IP address) before I meet with them. I also try to gain as much information as I can before the first meeting (name, address, phone number, search criteria, etc).
    2. I meet in public places often times before I show them their first homes (I had an elderly couple this past week who wanted me to meet with them in their hotel room- I agreed to meet in the hotel lobby within eyesight of hotel personal). Once I feel comfortable, I will show them the property they are interested in.
    3. I always try to have somebody with me at an open house. I have had a variety of people including an attorney, a financial planner, other real estate agents, lenders, a title company representative, relatives and neighbors (as a last resort), etc.
    4. If I feel concerned about a specific appointment, I will text my location ahead of time and have a relative or another agent in my office call me five minutes after the meeting has started. That way they can check on me to see if I’m OK. If I feel unsafe, I will tell them an emergency came up that I will need to leave for immediately and I will stay on the phone until I’m safe.
    5. Safety goes beyond people… Before I leave an appointment, I have made it a habit to walk around my car to make sure that it appears to be safe (no flat tires from new construction and it allows me to look for any unexpected activity like an animal, sports equipment, or a small child being in the way if I were to back up).
    6. Lastly, I look to make sure the others are safe as well. On one occasion I had to call police because a child who was around two years old was left unattended in a condo complex. On another occasion I went to a home where animals were neglected and endangered and I called animal control.
    I hope this information helps.
    “If you want one year of prosperity, grow grain. If you want ten years of prosperity, grow trees. If you want one hundred years of prosperity, grow people.” Chinese Proverb.

  14. Paul August 22, 2015 at 12:40 am - Reply

    Get your concealed carry permit, take a training course and of course always be aware of your surroundings, take someone with you and if you are uncomfortable reschedule or don’t go.
    Never let anyone into your inner circle, keep your distance so you can react if nessessary.
    Practice with your weapon and stay proficient be confident about your self defense options.

  15. Kathy Cremer August 24, 2015 at 9:12 am - Reply

    I tell my partner that I will call as soon as I arrive, I will call. If I am concerned, I say, “My car is acting up, again.” This let’s the client know someone is coming to work on a car that shouldn’t be reliable to hijack.
    I also keep the app RealAlert ready to use, immediately, if need be.

  16. Michele Slowey August 25, 2015 at 10:08 am - Reply

    Once I picked up 2 young black sailors at the NOB Gate after dark looking to view a house. I immediately became uncomfortable after they got into my car as I was only supposed to be picking up one person. They noticed a senior officer sticker on the car front window and their demeanor changed dramatically. When I got to the house I put my bright lights on and aimed my car at the front door. I got out of the car unlocked the door and told them to go in and view the home. I never stepped through the door I remained outside in front of the bright lights. It did not take them long to come out. They new that I suspected something not right. I began to speak of my husband being the commanding office of the helicopter squadron at their base….they seemed to shrink in their seat. I took them back to the gate dropped them off and never heard from them again. The one guy called me on a homes magazine add with my picture in the ad….I think showing your picture can be very dangerous. I felt a sigh of relief and knew I had done the wrong thing in letting them get into my car in the first place… I had another call from that ad with my picture and it was very uncomfortable. I do not like my company showing my pictures in ads..if you want to show pictures show the house your selling…it could save lives and maybe get the house sold sooner with a qualified buyer.

  17. Jim Mosley August 26, 2015 at 5:07 pm - Reply

    Best advice I can give about doing open houses is to team up and always have two people at every open house. Many benefits to this strategy. First is that when multiple visitors happens, you can each give one set your attention, and second there is safety in numbers. It is also easier to put up and take down the open house signs when two people work together. It works for us and I would always encourage this strategy.

  18. Sandy Bailey-Bristol August 26, 2015 at 5:10 pm - Reply

    Granted, ALL precautions should be met; however, I will never go any where without packing. I have walked into vacant houses, told my assistant where I am, told my husband where I am and I even get on the phone while I am at the house. I tell (whoever I’m on the phone with at the time) which room I’m in, but I guarantee you, I also have my weapon pulled and ready. I’ve even had a police officer walk in with me and we both were ready to protect ourselves. The one time I left my weapon in my car to show a $300K home in a great neighborhood was a time when I truly needed it. Just like a cheap scary movie, my phone went dead and my buyer’s phone was in her car. We were just lucky that it turned out well, very lucky. Never again will I enter another house without my weapon.

  19. Suzanne Karr August 26, 2015 at 6:44 pm - Reply

    I work to meet clients for the first time at my office & get a copy of ID/drivers license if I’m showing them a home. I ask a lot of questions on phone before making an appt to meet as well.

Leave A Response