As September is Realtor Safety Month, we wanted to provide these safety tips on behalf of everyone here at Stearns Home Loans. We care about your well-being and would like to help you minimize risks when you’re not in your office. While we all follow everyday safety rules, we may not be “on the lookout” 100% of the time.
Here are some things to keep in mind when you’re at the office, during open houses, and when meeting potential homebuyers.
Visit the property before visitors arrive
so that you can be familiar with the home’s layout. Before clients arrive, remove from sight any personal items the seller hasn’t already locked away. If you’re showing a vacant home, you’ll want to walk the entire home, plus the garage and back yard, with an associate before you lock up and depart.
Work with an associate.
If you’re sharing a listing with another real estate agent, or if your office is employing a trainee, ask them to attend the Open House to keep you company. If my schedule permits, I would be happy to co-host your Open House events and discuss home financing with potential buyers.
Always tell your office where you’re going and when you’ll return.
Some real estate offices ask staff to sign out when leaving for a home showing or install a bulletin board that enables staff to leave details of their destinations for others to see easily. Always let someone know where you’re going and when your appointment is due to conclude, and when to expect you back in the office or to call to confirm the appointment is over.
When possible, take a colleague.
Although your fellow real estate agents may be busy, an administrative or support staff member may be available to go with you. Summer interns are another option, as it provides them with safety training, and the opportunity to see and hear how a professional real estate agent conducts a home tour.
Identify legitimate buyers before meeting them.
If you receive a call from a potential buyer who refuses to answer basic questions or identify themselves, insist they come to your office when others are present. For additional protection, you may be able to carry out a background check online* or subscribe to an online service that provides unlimited monthly searches your colleagues can perform background checks. Don’t hesitate to reject any potential client if your intuition tells you to do so.
* Available information may vary by state.
Keep your cell phone with you.
Make sure yours is fully charged and keep it with you 100% of the time. You may want to consider installing a personal safety app, such as Katana Safety for Realtors or Safe Showings
. If you’re showing a rural property and not 100% sure your cell phone will work reliably, take a colleague with you.
Implement a secret “distress call” protocol.
Discuss and decide upon an office distress code with your colleagues, so everyone will be able to alert others if an uncomfortable situation arises. The code should be able to to be worked into regular conversation so it does not tip off anyone that might be listening to your call. Here’s an example: It can be as simple as, “I’m with Mr. Smith at the Easy Street listing. Could someone send me the RED FOLDER?”
Sep 03, 2019