As a real estate agent, you deal with a unique set of personal safety problems: You’re frequently alone—in cars and houses—with people you’ve never met before. Here's how you can not only protect yourself, but also reduce your risk of getting into an unsafe situation in the first place.
Prepare for showings.
Keep personal information private.
Always list your business address and telephone number on your cards, website and advertisements.
Know your way.
Practice driving to the property before you’re in the car with a client. This way, they can’t direct you to an unsafe location if they realize you’re lost.
Check in with colleagues.
Exchange your showing schedule with colleagues on a weekly or daily basis, so that they’ll know where you are and when. Decide upon a name or word you and your coworkers wouldn’t normally use. If you feel uneasy, you can call a colleague and slip that word into “casual” conversation. For instance, you could pick a name that nobody at your office has. Example: “Can you ask Bruce if he’s gotten that file together yet?”
Make sure you have cell coverage.
The code word plan is moot if you don’t have cell phone coverage at the home. When you practice driving out to the property, roam around and make sure you have cell phone coverage in all parts of the house.
Be the driver.
Avoid being a passenger in an unknown client’s car. You want to make sure you have control of where the car is going!
Don’t bring your valuables.
Leave valuables like purses, laptops and expensive jewelry at your home, office or locked in the trunk.
Create an exit excuse.
Go in prepared with an excuse to use if you need to get out in a hurry. The last thing you want is to have to brainstorm in a pinch. Maybe you forgot to pick your kid up from school or are getting an urgent call from your parents.
It’s absolutely crucial to have a personal safety tool on hand when one-on-one with someone who might be dangerous.
Top 5 reasons to carry pepper spray.
Protection at a safe distance - why go hands on?
Very practical - protection against multiple threats
You can also take additional safety measures throughout your appointment.
Realtor 10 seconds
When arriving, remember 10 seconds to safety.
WHAT TO DO
Destination is in eyesight
Scan the area
Is everything as expected?
Exiting car with elevated eye level
Are people around? How are they acting?
Gut check (always trust your instincts!)
Am I uneasy? Is there somebody currently on the property? Should there be?
At the doorway/entrance
Scan the inside
Is anyone or anything out of place? ex. Something is probably off if the door is unlocked but nobody's supposed to be inside
Entering the venue
Final gut check
Any noises? Anything out of place? Are there any signs of violence or carelessness?
Have your customer lead the way.
When you put your back to your client, you’re more vulnerable to attack. Instead, guide your client, saying things like “to the left here...” or “right down the stairs…,” and follow them from behind.
Avoid going into rooms without escape routes, such as attics or basements.
Allow your client to enter these rooms, but don’t go in yourself. Instead, talk about the room’s features from the doorway.
Run, hide, fight.
If someone does try to attack you, the best option is to run. If that fails, hide and call the police. If the attacker does find you, you’ll have to fight for your life using your pepper spray or other personal safety tool.
Safety tips for open houses.
Don't be alone.
Have someone with you at the showing at all times. If you need other professionals to come and give you a quote for work on the property, schedule their appointments during the open house. If not, have colleagues or friends come in shifts. Remember that there’s safety in numbers!
Maximize visibility from the street.
Opening curtains doesn’t just help you let in some natural light, it also increases the chances a witness would see if something bad happened.
Thank you for taking the initiative to stay safe on and off the job. Your loved ones will thank you, too!