By Liz Dominguez
There should never be a shortage of safety precautions, especially in the real estate industry. September is REALTOR® Safety Month—here are some tips to keep both you and your clients safe.
Protect yourself. It's important to remember that while clients must be treated as such, they are also essentially strangers the first time you meet them. Keep these tips in mind while you're out showing properties or hosting open houses.
- Before you take a client anywhere, make sure you take down their information and make a copy of their driver's license. Should anything happen, you want to be able to identify who you were out with.
- When showing properties, always bring up the rear. You want to be aware of your surroundings at all times. This is also a great way to give your buyers some freedom to walk around the home at their leisure.
- Make sure all lights are on while you are showing a property. Keeping rooms lit is an easy way to maintain visibility in a dangerous situation.
- If your open house is coming to an end, don't assume that everyone is out of the house. Check rooms, bathrooms, closets, and the attic and basement before you lock up.
- Be proactive with your colleagues. Always let someone know where you will be throughout your showings should any trouble arise.
- While it's important to brand yourself, be careful not to divulge personal information in your ads or marketing content. Always use your office address instead of your home address.
Protect your clients. Sellers can be so motivated to get potential buyers through their doors that they may not consider their safety throughout the selling process. Make your clients aware of the possible dangers that come with putting a home on the market. Have your sellers follow these steps to ensure everyone's safety.
- Do not let anyone in unless they have a confirmed appointment. You may have passersby that saw your for sale sign and want to take a look. Do not let them inside your home; instead, direct them to your listing agent to schedule a showing.
- If you have a lockbox or combo on your door, agents accompanying potential buyers must use these in order to gain access to the property. Do not let anyone in, even if they say they are with a real estate company.
- Keep your valuable possessions in a secure location while your home is on the market. While potential buyers should always be supervised during showings and open houses, you want to be on the safe side and keep things like expensive jewelry and electronics locked away.
- Don't leave identifying information out. Keep mail, bills, and bank and credit card statements out of sight.
These steps will help keep you and your clients out of harm's way and onto a successful and positive real estate transaction. It also doesn't hurt to know some basic self-defense skills. If you or a client is in a dangerous situation, the first course of action should always be to get away as quickly as possible. If that is not an option, it's important to know how to protect yourself.
For more information, please visit www.nar.realtor/topics/realtor-safety.