While the majority of Realtors® (72%) said they had not experienced a situation that made them fear for their safety or their personal information, being prepared for those instances is vital.
The 2020 Realtors® and Member Safety Report found that the times in which Realtors® felt the most at-risk were during open houses, showings, when meeting new clients in less populated areas and after receiving a threatening email, text, phone call or voicemail. Women in suburban or urban areas were the most likely to feel their safety was in jeopardy.
While only 4% of Realtors® reported they had been the victim of a crime while working, those who had said it was after receiving a threatening call, email, text or voicemail or during an open house. Nearly 40% of Realtors® reported they had met a new client at a secluded property and/or location and 51% said they had hosted an open house alone.
“Realtors® were more likely to say they had not experienced a situation that made them fear for their personal safety or the safety of their personal information. Also this year, we continue to see that female members reported fearing for their personal safety or the safety of their personal information at a larger scale than men,” said Director of Member and Consumer Survey Research at NAR Brandi Snowden. “New in this year’s survey, we asked about the situation in which the Realtor® feared for their personal safety and they reported feeling fear most often during open houses, during showings, while meeting new clients for the first time at secluded locations or properties and after receiving a threatening or inappropriate email, text message, phone call or voicemail. It was also interesting to see that compared to last year’s results, more members reported having personal safety protocols in place that they follow with every client.”
What can Realtors® do to protect themselves? Thirty-eight percent reported in the survey that they had taken a self-defense class. Nearly half of Realtors® said they carry a self-defense weapon, with pepper spray being the most popular, followed by a firearm and a pocket knife. More than half of Realtors® (58%) said they use a smart phone app to share their location and/or alert others in the event of a situation, apps like Find My iPhone, SentriKey Real Estate App and GPS Phone Track for Android were the most popular.
Protecting clients is also important. Four percent of Realtors® said there was a theft of prescription drugs from a clients’ home, either during an open house or a showing. Opioid theft was much more common, with 48% of clients reporting a theft, most commonly during an open house or showing. More than one-third of agents encouraged clients to keep medication locked in a safe or with them.
NAR offers the Realtor® Safety Center as a resource for agents. “NAR’s Realtor® Safety Program has also shown to be helpful to members, with 79% of members feeling more prepared for unknown situations after taking a Realtor® safety course, and 85% of members saying that the safety tips and information available in the Realtor® safety program were very or somewhat helpful,” said Snowden.