As a real estate agent you get to see the world. You get to interact with tons of interesting people and go to exciting places. Unfortunately, that also means that your safety can sometimes be compromised. In recent years, the number of agents who have fallen victim to violence during a showing is growing, but being proactive could keep you out of harm’s way.
Your safety as a real estate agent should be your number one priority. Here are some tips on staying safe while on the job.
Carry a cell phone.
In this day and age, it’s unheard of for anyone to not have a cell phone. But, just in case you’re one of those people who has yet to get one, think of it as a safety precaution. Oh, and make sure you program 911 to be dialed from a single button. And if you have one, be certain it is always on you, especially during meetings when you are alone.
Carry mace or pepper spray.
In the event that you do get into a bind, mace or pepper spray can do the trick to fend off attackers. Be sure to invest in the kind that sprays forward only, so you don’t risk spraying yourself by accident.
Ask for ID.
Don’t be ashamed to ask your clients for identification when you meet up with them. It can also be helpful to make a copy of the ID to keep on file for your own records. This holds your client accountable; when you can identify them, they are less likely to try anything suspicious. Leigh Brown, who hosted a webinar with Secrets of Top Selling Agents, sponsored by Homes.com, is the broker in her office, and she requires all agents to make copies of their clients’ IDs prior to a showing. When the agent explains this a safety precaution required by the broker, the clients usually understand. If they don’t, Leigh thinks it’s not worth your time or safety risk.
Know how to contact your clients.
Before you even meet with a client or prospect, be sure to acquire a working phone number (both home and cell if possible) and a valid address.
Meet on your turf.
Rather than meeting an unknown client or prospect at a property, require them to meet you at your office first so that your colleagues can see them. Have someone take note of his or her license plate number and the car he or she is driving. This is the perfect reason for them to come to the property to get a copy of their ID.
Don’t get in their car!
Drive yourself to the property and request that they follow you. If you feel comfortable driving clients, as many agents do, that will be at your discretion.
It’s always a good idea to let someone else know you’re showing a property to a new client by yourself. Tell a co-worker or family member where you’ll be or leave a note regarding the property’s location and other details including the client’s name. You could even promote the property online and say, “Interested in this property (include link on your social channels)? I am booked for today’s showings, but contact me and I’m happy to arrange another time to fit your schedule.” This can hit two birds with one stone, promote your property, and be proactive about your safety.
Use common sense.
As a real estate agent, you’re smart and can think on your feet. Never assume that you’re safe and use your best judgment to keep yourself out of danger.
Take these tips into consideration the next time you want to be proactive during a new meeting with a client or meeting with current clients outside of your office, alone.