“A personal safety plan is not only to protect yourself but your clients as well.”
Vital Personal Safety Tips for Real Estate Agents
The nature of showing homes to strangers, open houses and vacant properties all expose you and your clients to conditions that are statistically higher for crime. Having a well thought out personal safety plan in place is not only for your safety.
You have a professional responsibility to do everything within your power to protect your client’s safety as well. We recommend implementing the following processes into your real estate practice to ensure you and your client’s safety:
✔️Communicate Your Schedule
Of course, you probably have your property showing schedule on your electronic calendar, but that’s not enough. Always let your family or a trusted friend know where you are showing houses, the names of the people you are showing properties and your expected return time.
If something happens to delay your return home, family will be able to contact police much faster and provide valuable information to assist in helping you.
✔️Have a Code Phrase
✔️Carry a Non-Lethal Self-Defense Weapon
✔️Download a Free Safety App
Add a personal safety app to your cell phone today. There are many available and most are free if you don’t mind some advertisements. We’ve done an article reviewing our Top Three Personal Safety Apps which you can read for more information on the differences between them.
“Commercial properties pose additional safety threats and require some additional precautions.”
✔️Commercial Properties Require Extra Precaution
Always ask the listing agent to be present when you are showing a potential buyer a commercial property. The listing agent will be familiar with the floor plan, the location and vacancy dangers that may exist.
✔️Maintain Your Exit Path at All Times
While showing any property to a potential buyer, always allow them to enter through doorways first. Always stay between the buyers and doorways so no one can potentially block your exit. If you happen to have a shady buyer with ill intentions you do not want to be cornered in a room with no escape. Be aware as you move through the house where your exit path is, as it may change depending on where you are located inside the property.
✔️Have Your Excuse Ready
You should have a few emergency excuses to leave ready to serve up if something feels off or threatening to you. Commit these to memory so that you recall them when you are under stress.
Keep it vague and simple. For example, “OMG! There’s an emergency at home. I have to go now!”
✔️Carry a GPS Locator Fob
Adding an extra layer of security to your plan, a GPS Locator will track your location at all times with no monthly fees. The Care Go will send out an SOS signal with a person’s location to multiple emergency contacts.
Care Go is a silent alarm, so it sends out the call for help discretely with just a simple pull and will not alert an active shooter or kidnapper that you have just called for HELP! The GPS Tracker will monitor your every move if your location changes during the emergency situation.
✔️Use Caution Working in Your Car
You wait at a location for your buyers to arrive. You wait outside the closing agent’s office for the loan closing. You check emails and make follow-up phone calls after the showing from the driveway. You are a potential target in all of these situations.
Be sure that you lock your doors every single time you get in the car. Take care of those little tasks with the engine running so that you can drive away if someone approaches your window. Be aware of your surroundings and leave your radio turned off while you attend to emails and texts so that you can hear someone approaching your car.
Ideally leave and handle these “to do’s” when you get back to the office.
✔️Familiarize Yourself With The Floor Plan
As you are preparing to show a home or commercial property to a potential buyer, be sure that you familiarize yourself with the floor plan.
Not only will this benefit your showing but it also provides you with a “lay of the land” beforehand. If an attack occurs, you will know ahead of time where the closest exit is located.
✔️Tag Team When Possible
If you are showing property to a new buyer or at a location that you feel may be a safety concern, take another agent with you or ask the listing agent to be present at the showing. If a rapist is posing as a potential buyer, they will not be expecting two agents present for the house showing.
Listing agents are familiar with the seller and the property. Having them present adds an extra layer of safety to your showing or open house.
✔️Maintain Your Professional/Private Boundaries
It’s easy to feel like potential buyers are friends when you spend a great deal of time with them. Over months of riding around together in the car, personal boundaries can get blurred. For your security and your family’s security, only interact with your business clients through your business social media accounts.
✔️Trust Your Intuition
God gave you a gut instinct for a reason. Don’t let your practical brain override your intuition. If something feels wrong, threatening or just “off”- leave immediately. You might feel foolish for a second, but it could save your life
✔️Take Action. Take Responsibility.
As a real estate professional, safeguarding yourself and your clients is an important part of the job. The risk of criminal activity while showing homes or hosting open houses cannot be ignored. Real estate agents must have adequate personal safety plans in place to ensure their own protection, as well as that of their clients. Taking the proactive steps discussed in this article is essential for protecting all parties involved in a real estate transaction.
If you are attacked, be prepared to defend yourself with more than just your words. Carrying a stun gun or pepper spray will allow you to defend yourself in a non-life-threatening manner and give you an opportunity to escape to safety.
Defense Divas® wants you to be equipped to defend yourself not only with a self-defense weapon, but also with the practical knowledge of safety awareness and prevention.
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