The phone call comes in from a prospective buyer who would like to see a house for sale on the market. Usually they are happy to set up a time and date to see the home, but in a hot market, sometimes those times and dates are for RIGHT NOW! How do you handle this situation? Do you insist on setting up a time/date to view, or do you jump to attention and rush out to meet them? Do you even bother to collect valuable data on this person, such as their name, phone number, and other information? Do you tell your fellow brokers or office staff where you are going and with whom?
Most brokers do not follow these safety procedures, and some do. Sometimes, but not all the time, these tactical decisions can mean the difference between life or death.
In 2014, the real estate industry lost one of their own when Beverly Carter, a real estate broker from Arkansas, was attacked and killed by a man, someone who she thought was a potential buyer client. Last week in Indiana, another real estate broker was attacked and raped in a home she was getting photos for. That attacker is still on the loose.
How can we, as brokers, be safer in our every day activities? How can we watch out for each other, whether we work in the same office or not? Here are 5 tips that I will be implementing in my own business practices.
First line of defense would be to meet the potential buyer or seller at your office and take down their personal information, such as name, phone number, auto description, and the address(es) you will be seeing that day before you go view any homes. This is for their safety as much as it is for you!
Second, if you have buyer clients, make sure of their interest and intent by having them be pre-approved BEFORE you go view homes. No need to waste your time, the seller’s time and the buyer’s time if they don’t have two pennies to rub together.
Third, TELL someone (ideally more than one person) where you’ll be going (see, that form comes in handy) and what time you are expected back. Also, set up an emergency text code (some parents do this for their children, and I think it would work great here) to text to co-workers or family in case of an emergency.
Fourth, stay aware of your surroundings when you are out showing homes and properties. Don’t back yourself into a corner with no way out, stay close to doorways for a quick escape route, and leave the front door open slightly to get out quick. Park on the street so you’re not blocked in.
And Fifth and final in this list is to keep your cell phone on you at all times, charged as much as you can, and leave your purse/wallet in your vehicle. The less you have on you that is valuable, the better.
There are many more tactics that you can employ to stay safe, but I felt these were the Top 5 to be aware of. NAR has a great webinar that I just took where Paula Monthofer went over these key concepts and strategies. If it comes available again, I highly suggest you take it.
Stay safe, sell strong my friends.