When one thinks of becoming a police officer, all the dangers of having such a job can easily come to mind. When one thinks of getting a license in Real Estate, most think of only buying and selling houses. There is more to consider in real estate than marketing or showing a property. Realizing and being prepared for the potential dangers to us as REALTORS® is just as crucial as the job itself. We are after all marketing to strangers through our yard signs, the mail, print ads, and reaching the most people through our internet marketing. We really have no idea of the character or backgrounds of those individuals contacting us as a result of seeing one of our advertisements. Before you go to meet a potential seller or buyer in a home for sale, or even, worse; meeting an unknown person in a vacant home for sale consider the following safety tips:
- If it isn’t possible geographically to meet the person for the 1st time in your office prior to touring homes, ask the home buyer to fax a copy of their license to you in advance as a safety measure.
- For women, have a male call the prospect back to confirm your appointment place and time. Have the male family member or colleague say something to allude that you will be meeting the individual together. For example, “Hi Mr. Smith, this is George Jones, and I’m confirming that Ariana Loucas and I will be meeting you at 6pm at 123 Main St.” This will hopefully deter anyone meaning harm to you by expecting you to arrive alone.
- Ask the buyer to speak with your lender before meeting. Not only does this help you know if the person is qualified to buy the home, but another colleague has the individual’s personal data.
- Once you arrive to the home, always allow the home looker to go in first. Never allow anyone to walk behind you, especially on staircases.
- Use neighbors as a resource. Let them know you will be showing the home and to please listen for anything out of the ordinary and to call the police if they do hear something suspicious.
- Give your spouse, friend or family member the showing details to include person’s name, email address, phone numbers called from and to, and all addresses you are scheduled to tour.
- Speak to someone on your mobile in front of the client and make sure the client hears you tell the person on the phone that you’ve just arrived to 123 Main St and will call them back in 20 minutes.
- Purchase mace, or some agents have been known to buy stun guns.
- Never leave your cell phone in the car. Always have it with you while touring a home or during a listing presentation. Try to use a Bluetooth headset too. Often I will have someone on the phone with me as I first approach an unknown prospect at a home and since I have the call on my Bluetooth headset, and my hair covers my ear, the home looker doesn’t realize I have “big brother” on the phone observing our home tour.
- Never wait alone in a vacant house, especially during open houses.
Don’t be a victim: A REALTOR Safety Program is a video produced by NAR with great tips as well!
The above tips are just a few ideas. The main point is that REALTORS® can be put in ominous situations. We have all heard the news of an agent being shot or raped in a home during what would seem like an everyday client appointment. Not everyone is a threat to our safety but realizing the possibility exists, and taking these necessary precautions, you could one day save your life, perhaps without ever knowing you did so.
Ariana Loucas has been in the real estate and mortgage fields for 5 years after taking the real estate course credits as part of her studies at UMUC. Ariana had the privilege of becoming a Regional Director with the Broker Division for REALTOR.com, the official site of the NAR. Today, Ariana works full time as a REALTOR with Keller Williams Realty Centre. To learn more about Ariana Loucas and the classes she teaches topics visit www.findhousesinmd.com