Today we continue our monthly personal safety column penned by Michael Mercer of Michael Mercer Consulting. This retired police officer is now a crime prevention consultant with 30 years of experience preventing crimes against people, businesses, and properties. His offering includes prevention consulting, instructional classes, and educational programs. Mercer is a certified SABRE Personal Safety Academy Instructor.
September is REALTOR® Safety Month.
About Michael Mercer Consulting, L.L.C.
Our mission at Michael Mercer Consulting is to keep real estate professionals safe. As a retired police officer, I realized that the only way to prevent becoming a victim is to not give the “bad guy” the opportunity to do us harm. It was difficult to always be reactive to crime that already occurred. I know that a more proactive approach is necessary if we are to prevent becoming victims. So, I implemented a very simple philosophy: Crime Prevention through Education and Awareness (CPTEA).
How can you stay safe if you don't know what you are doing may pose safety risks? How can you avoid situations that are dangerous if you are not able to identify the danger? I am focused on teaching every single one of you that most crimes are crimes of opportunity. The predators do not want to work that hard. They want easy targets. They want a person that is unaware.
You do not have to be a victim. You can do your job and your passion without fear. I will teach you, I will work with you, I will make you fearless.
The Need for Safety Precautions as a REALTOR®
Recently a male suspect was arrested on the mid-coast of Maine who was trying to lure female REALTORS® to properties that were on islands off the coast of Maine. His M.O. was to find female real estate agents online, request they take him out to show him properties on an island, and said that he was a cash buyer. Many agents went along with him, only to get to the point of getting on the boat. When they refused to get on the boat alone with him, he became very angry and was verbally abusive.
So, we launched an investigation – and the suspect has been arrested and is currently in jail, thanks to the combined efforts of Michael Mercer Consulting, the local police, and the Maine Association of REALTORS®.
The real-estate profession is considered to be high risk. My course “Safety Awareness for the Real Estate Licensee” was created to prevent professionals from becoming victims. To educate and teach common sense practices that will reduce your risk. Below are some life-saving advice for every person involved in the real estate.
REMEMBER TO ALWAYS BE AWARE AND ALWAYS KEEP YOUR SABRE® PEPPER SPRAY AVAILABLE FOR IMMEDIATE SELF DEFENSE.
Safety Risk Warning Signs in New Clients
Look out for these tell-tale signs that your “client” may not have a sale in mind.
- Refusing to meet at the office first
Always meet a new client at your office, never at a property. Make a copy of his/her driver’s license and have them fill out an information sheet.
- Suspicious behavior (trust your gut!)
If you have any suspicions or uneasiness about a client, do not go to the showing alone, no matter what time of day. Ask another person to accompany you. If you are at an open house and you feel that you are in danger, leave the home and seek assistance.
- Wanting you to ride with them to the property
Always drive your own car to the property. Keep your car locked while driving to the property and after you park it. If your client will not ride with you, make sure that the completed information form contains the client’s vehicle description and license plate number. Once at the property, do not park your vehicle where it can be blocked.
- Wanting you to lead the way through the home
Safety Tips for Real Estate Agents
- Each office should keep a file on each agent’s vehicle — make, year, model, color and license plate number.
- Each agent should leave a daily schedule of outside appointments with their office showing client names and times.
- Always meet your client, prospect or buyer at your office and have them complete an information form, taking a photo of their driver’s license. The information form should contain vehicle information, also.
- Have each agent carry a log to write down prospective client’s name, driver’s license and vehicle information.
- At open houses, a guest registry should be kept for all persons viewing the house. This registry should include vehicle information.
- Never show a property as the result of only a telephone call. Always meet them at the office and have them complete an information form.
- Do not list your home address or telephone number on your business cards.
- All agents in your office should use only their first initial and last name on their “For Sale” signs to conceal gender and prevent anyone other than a personal acquaintance asking for you by name.
Stay safe by downloading my mobile app!
More Real Estate Agent Safety Tips