By Carl Carter, Jr.
As a real estate professional, you're likely working alone and entering empty homes with people you may have never met before on a regular basis. In such a role, safety should be a top priority.
Here are four safety tips every real estate professional should consider employing:
Carry an alarm with you.
An alarm is important to have at your fingertips anytime you're alone or feel unsafe. Sounding an alarm is an effective way to let someone know you may need help, as well as deter a potential offender–but what if you're in a situation with a potential client who you don't want to offend over a false alarm? In this case, a silent alarm can go a long way for your peace of mind.
The solution? The KATANA Safety Arc attaches to your smartphone so you have it with you all the time. It's armed with a silent panic button and audible siren duo, which gives you the option to be discreet when you need to be or escalate an emergency when necessary. The audible alarm is activated by simply pulling the red tab with your finger, or by wearing a hidden wristband attached to the Arc that can be triggered if pulled, you drop your phone or someone grabs it.
You also have a more discreet option of pushing the silent alarm button to activate the KATANA Safety 24/7 Response Center. Once either alarm is sounded, the Response Center will call you to evaluate the situation. If necessary, they'll contact emergency services and your Circle of Seven—your trusted friends, family or co-workers who have agreed to respond if you need them.
Protect your personal information.
As a real estate professional, advertising yourself and the homes you're selling comes with the job. Be cautious and thoughtful on the amount of personal information you choose to share. Oversharing personal information, such as your full name, address, personal phone number or social channels, can make you an easy target. Technology has also increased the amount of consumer data collected, resulting in a high rate of identity theft crime.
The solution? Consider not including your middle name on any signage, make sure all your photos are professional, and only include your office number/address in any advertising efforts.
Mitigate the risk of closed doors.
When showing a home, being confined in a enclosed space with a stranger is a potential threat.
The solution? To avoid the risk of being involuntarily detained, devices such as the Prop Lock can help solve that problem. The small device is quick and easy to use–just attach to any standard door to lock it in the fully open position to avoid closure. This device helps you in avoiding uncomfortable dynamics or any concerns about being in a closed room with strangers.
Let others know your whereabouts.
Meeting someone to show a property? Sharing your location with friends, family or colleagues is important to ensure your safety. Also, let them know who you're meeting, how long you should be there and the reason you're going.
The solution? If you find yourself in an uncomfortable situation, plan ahead and have a safety plan in place. Agree on an arranged phone call from a colleague, friend or family member asking for your help, so you have an excuse to remove yourself from an uncomfortable situation. Both iOS and Android have "Share My Location" features which will keep your family and friends in the know about your whereabouts.
Carl Carter, Jr., is a REALTOR® and founder of the Beverly Carter Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit dedicated to improving agent safety. His mom, REALTOR® Beverly Carter, lost her life at the hands of two clients in 2014. Since his mother's passing, Carter has dedicated as much time as possible to spreading the message of safety. He has a Master and Bachelor of Business Administration degrees from the University of Arkansas.