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You may not think of real estate sales as a dangerous occupation, but the nature of the business can make it risky.
It often requires agents be alone with complete strangers in isolated locations. Historically, there have been a number of murders among real estate agents each year, but recently, statisticians have found that the homicide rate in the industry is rising sharply. If you are a real estate agent, it’s important to learn how you can avoid becoming a victim of a brutal attack.
Read on for valuable tips for real estate agents that can keep you safe and sound on the job.
Practice smart marketing. Don’t unknowingly set yourself up as a target online by displaying photos of yourself wearing expensive items, posting your home address, or sharing your home phone number. Avoid posing in front of your car or personal residence, as well.
Make sure someone always knows your location. Each time you leave for a home showing, provide a colleague, friend or spouse with the address of the property, along with the personal information of the client you’re meeting.
Preview the neighborhood before you list a property there. Check your cell phone reception and get a feel for how close the property is to the neighbors. Familiarize yourself with the location of area police and fire stations, as well. If the home is vacant, always inspect it during the daytime. Look for signs like trash in corners or food in the kitchen that may indicate an intruder or squatter. If you think a vacant listing might be occupied by someone who shouldn’t be there, get out of the property and contact the police immediately.
Create a schedule that works for you. If it makes you uneasy to meet clients or show homes after dark, make sure you clearly note your hours on your marketing materials. If you find you must work in the evening, try to avoid doing being along by bringing along a home inspector or the home owner. When showing properties after dark, turn all lights on and never draw the blinds or curtains.
Take extra precautions with open houses. During the open house, keep a close eye on those entering and leaving the premises. Hang bells on outside doors so that you can hear people as they come and go. When the event is over, don’t assume that the house is empty. Check all rooms, including the basement and garage, closets, and the backyard prior to locking the doors.
Protect your clients, too. Compile a comprehensive checklist of the things they should secure or remove during open houses and showings. Examples include jewelry, prescription drugs, financial statements, extra sets of keys, mail and other items that could compromise their security in any way or that could be easily stolen.
Avoid showing obvious signs of wealth. While you always want to put your best foot forward with your clients, you also don’t want to be attractive to criminals. Leave the expensive jewelry, Rolex watch and Gucci purse at home. Avoid bringing large amounts of cash with you to showings and open houses, as well.
Let the client take the lead. You may be inclined to guide clients through the property, but it’s safer to follow them so you always have them in your full view. Avoid entering confined areas with no escape route, such as basements, attics, walk-in closets and bathrooms, with your buyers. Instead, and invite them to explore those areas by themselves. Note the property’s exit locations in advance and always be mindful of them.
Keep vehicle safety in mind, too. Real estate agents spend a lot of time in the car, so minimize the chances of a becoming vulnerable in a breakdown situation by taking smart precautions. Always keep your cell phone charged, your gas tank at least half full, and follow the guidelines for routine maintenance. Stock your car with jumper cables, an empty gas can, and the tools you need to change a tire. Hide $20 in your glove compartment in case of an emergency.
Trust your gut. Because real estate agents are trained to be polite and helpful, you may dismiss the signs that something just isn’t right. However, many real estate agents who have been attacked noted that they ignored the client’s unusual behavior prior to the incident. If something feels out of place, don’t hesitate to stop a showing or open house and leave immediately. Your subconscious may be warning you about a potential attack, and your personal safety is always paramount.
Set yourself up for success and safety. By applying these simple safety practices, you can have the peace of mind to move forward with effectively promoting your real estate business. For more useful security precautions, Certified Title is here to help. Please reach out to our team of knowledgeable professionals.
About Certified Title Corporation: Since 1994, attorney-owned Certified Title Corporation has been furnishing residential and commercial real estate stakeholders across the nation with robust title insurance, settlement, and escrow services. Renowned for their industry-leading reliability and exemplary level of service and quality, the Maryland-based company helps clients from all walks of life achieve their asset goals. To learn more, call (888)486-5511 or visit https://www.certifiedtitlecorp.com/.