Safety is always a concern, but with some tips and advice, Realtors® can feel more confident and prepared to protect themselves and others while on the job.
Brittany Matott, a licensed broker and educator, presented safety tips in a webinar for Realtors® along with PAR President Al Perry.
“The reality of our job is we’re going, in most cases, to a different, unfamiliar place on a daily basis,” Matott said, stressing the importance of Realtor® safety and the dangers that can come with the job.
“One thing that’s always top of mind for me is situational awareness,” she stated, which was her number one tip throughout the webinar. She suggested taking a few minutes to familiarize yourself with a property before showing it to clients. This includes taking note of where the exits are located and which doors are locked. A safe practice when it comes to doors is to use only one for entrance/exit while showing the home and, if you and the client feel comfortable, locking that door behind you to prevent intruders.
Matott also recommended backing into a parking spot on the property and trying to ensure that you can’t get parked in by other cars. This helps make for a quick exit if needed. It’s also a good habit to ask your client what kind of car they drive so that you can easily identify them when they arrive. If a vehicle pulls up that doesn’t match what you expected, it’ll immediately raise red flags.
While Realtors® often think of safety issues arising with buyers, Matott stressed that many times, safety threats come from sellers, too. While on the job, she personally has had two close calls when meeting with a seller on their property. Fortunately, she was able to recognize the threats and safely make an exit in both situations.
“When that alarm bell starts going off, that’s when you make up any excuse to get out of there,” she said. Realtors® should always keep their mobile phones on them in case of emergency. They can also be helpful in faking a call or text and providing you with a quick and easy excuse to exit.
Another tip is to let clients lead you when showing a home. Don’t let buyers or sellers get behind you when walking around a property, especially on a staircase. This helps you keep eyes on them and can prevent them from taking you by surprise. It’s also good practice to always keep a safe distance between yourself and the client.
Realtors® should let others know where they are. Whether it’s their brokers, other people in their office or their significant other or a friend. Checking in with others helps ensure your safety, their safety and the safety of clients.
“A criminal has a plan,” Matott said. “If you can do one thing to interrupt that plan, that’s often all you need to do to avoid a dangerous situation.” This can include doing an introductory video call with a client to get a feel for things, reading up on the property and seller to prepare yourself, making an excuse to exit if needed and talking to your clients and fellow Realtors® about safety precautions.
“If you take nothing else from this webinar, remember that one commission, one sale, one anything is not worth your safety,” Matott told members. “If there’s any red flags at all, just make up an excuse.”
Perry added, “There’s no opportunity that’s worth that risk.”