Are you running out the door to meet strangers or are you stopping first to think?
Please watch this award-winning video regarding safety from the National Association of REALTORS®: NAR REALTOR® Safety
Don't think "it can't happen to you." Read the story about an Arkansas REALTOR® and her very sad fate.
Many agents around the country incorporate CITO (Come Into The Office!) as a best practice. Ask for the buyer’s mortgage pre-approval letter when they arrive. If they don't have one or you can't reach the lender to confirm it, inform them the only path is to postpone any showings until they have it. Assure them that time will be better spent knowing the maximum sales price they can afford to purchase. Remember, you are in charge. Not them! Also during this appointment, you can discuss your buyer service presentation, explain the buyer agency agreement and review a sample sales contract to prepare them for later.
If they balk at coming to your office, explain your office safety policy that prohibits you from meeting buyers for the first time outside the office. Practicing safety doesn’t mean you’ll lose a showing to a good buyer! Good buyers will understand your concerns and policies and they’ll follow your procedures.
The number one safety tip that can save your life and keep you from being victimized is to simply trust your instinct. Our bodies have a built-in survival mechanism that is hardly ever wrong. When you have that gut feeling that something is wrong, listen to it, act on it and respect it.
Here are some important safety practices:
1. Download the Lifeline Response phone app designed for your safety. The cost is covered for you by KCRAR. This app will notify law enforcement if you are in peril.
- Screen new clients properly by meeting them in the office before showing them properties. This increases witness potential since criminals know they can be identified and do not want that. Have them fill out a client information form. Leave it where it can be found in case you are missing.
2. Make sure someone knows where you are always. This assures that someone knows if you are missing and can provide law enforcement officials with information to retrace your steps and locate you. Fill out an agent itinerary form and leave it in a place where someone knows where to find it.
3. When showing properties, never let your escape route get blocked. Always let your clients lead the way.
4. Keep your clients with you and in sight. That prevents them from stealing prescription medications from the medicine cabinet and any other valuables, such as checkbooks, bank statements, jewelry, etc. This also keeps them from leaving windows and doors unlocked for later re-entry.
5. Get valuables out of sight. That means yours and your client's. Advise your clients to put away personal photos and store any items that are valuable and possibly dangerous (including weapons and guns). Leave your purses, laptops, PDAs in the car or at the office. Do not wear your expensive jewelry while showing or hold open houses. They make you a target.
6. Pictures can be dangerous. Save your glamour-shot and casual photos for personal use. Do not include your children and family in your promotional photos. Do not use property photos that show your seller's valuables. That makes it easy for criminals to case the houses online.
7. Do not mix your personal social media accounts such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn with your business accounts. Set up separate accounts and keep business information purely business. Beware of posting your location on any of these accounts. There are websites where anyone can find your home address. Criminals can use that information and your postings of your location to know the best time to burglarize you or to stalk you. Don't make it easy. Remember, there is no such thing as privacy online.
If you're looking for pepper spray, the KCRAR store carries pepper spray canisters and other safety items.