We recently attended a Prescott Area Association of Realtors membership brunch where the topic was Realtor safety. While this blog article is not about home inspections, or home maintenance tips, it is an important topic for all agents. Too many times an agent is vulnerable to crimes just by virtue of the job. So we want to share some of the tips we learned, and remind everyone in this industry to stay safe out there.
- Have a ‘second meeting only’ policy. Meet clients in the office or another public location before agreeing to a private showing. This gives you (and other colleagues) the opportunity to vet them. You should also ask for a form of identification so you can confirm that they are who they claim to be.
- Make sure someone always knows your location. Before leaving for a showing, provide a colleague, friend or spouse with the address of the property where you’re going, along with the name and personal information of the client you’re meeting. Utilize location finding devices such as “Find my iPhone” so someone can easily track the location of your phone if necessary.
- Be mindful of what you wear. While you always want to put your best foot forward with a client, you also don’t want to appear attractive to criminals by wearing expensive jewelry or watches. It’s best to leave the Rolex at home. Keep this in mind when taking photos for marketing materials, as well.
- Program emergency numbers as ‘favorites.’ While you might have familiar numbers memorized, such as those to your office, emergency contact or colleague, program them into your phones as a “favorite” so they can be easily accessed in an emergency situation.
- Let the client take the lead. You may be inclined to lead clients through the property, but it’s safer to follow them so you always have them in your full view. Avoid going into the basement of a property and always be mindful of exit locations.
- Keep control of keys to the property at all times. Be sure to know exactly where property keys are located all times. Leaving keys outside of the home in locations such as under the doormat, above the door or behind a bush can expose you to the possibility of someone copying the key without your knowledge. Use a secure, electronic lockbox system so you can better control keys and access to a property.
- Follow your instinct. Most agents who have been victims of crime said they felt something was off but didn’t do anything. If something feels out of place, don’t hesitate to stop a showing or open house and leave immediately.