After an engaging REALTOR® Safety course or Webinar, it is easy to feel empowered, informed, and fully prepared for any unsafe situation that should arise. However, as the months pass incident free, it is also easy to forget much of what you learned. Not having to use what you learned when it comes to REALTOR® Safety is a really good thing, but forgetting it isn't an option, so what should you do?
Refresh! Refresh! Refresh!
At least annually, take a self-defense or safety course, listen to a Webinar, read an article, or do whatever it takes for you to feel confident that if you find yourself in an unsafe situation, you have the tools to get out of it safely.
Below are a collection of tips to which you can refer any time you feel like you need a refresher course. We will update this collection as we continue to learn more, and we invite you to email us your best tips as well.
REALTOR® Safety Tips
- Ask new clients for a copy of their ID. If they refuse, end the meeting.
- Ask new clients to take their own vehicle to view a property. Just tell them that you need to go on to another appointment after theirs.
- If you've printed any showing instructions that contain the Lockbox code, be sure to properly dispose of them when you're done.
- Always introduce new clients to your associates sending a clear message that someone else knows who you're with.
- Set up a distress code phrase with someone you trust ahead of time, that you can use to let them know if you ever feel threatened.
- Program non-emergency law enforcement numbers into your phone and call them if something ever "just seems odd."
- Most criminals are asking themselves the question, "Can I get away with this?" Do not ever put yourself in a situation that allows a criminal the opportunity to get away with anything.
- If someone you do not know approaches you and asks to use your phone or asks you for help, you can always reply, "I don't know you, but if you want, I can call 911 for you." This tactic usually deters someone who may have been approaching you to commit a crime.
- Never linger in your vehicle whether on the phone or doing paperwork.
- Consider having your location settings on your cell phone turned on so that if you are ever missing, you can be more easily located by police.
- If you are ever attacked, fight back with the intensity you would have if that person was harming your child. Go for their eyes, throat, nails, shin, instep, climb up them, and do whatever it takes to get away.
- Criminals do not want to get caught or hurt. Many times verbal defense can ward off an attack before it happens. If you suspect someone may come toward you. Yell, scream, call for help, or even yell at the criminal and tell them to leave you alone because the police have already been called. They may not want to stick around to find out if you are telling the truth.
- If you are trained to use and carry a gun, be sure you take the time to practice regularly. Jam and unjam your gun. Practice using it in various positions and at various angles (unloaded).
Showings and Open Houses
- Have all open house visitors sign in. Ask for their full name, address, phone number, and email.
- Make sure that if you were to escape through the back door, you could escape from the back yard too. Frequently, high fences surround yards that contain swimming pools or hot tubs.
- Inform neighbors that you will be showing the house next door and ask if he or she would keep an eye and ear open for anything out of the ordinary.
- Always try to preview a property and neighborhood prior to showing a home.
- Always carry a flashlight for dark attics, basements, or staircases.
- Remind homeowners to protect themselves from crime during showings and open houses by securing or removing: jewelry and other valuables, money, credit cards, passports, social security cards, prescription drugs, extra keys, garage door openers, family photos, and items labeled with children's names.
- Never assume that everyone has left the premises at the end of an open house. Check all of the rooms and the back yard prior to locking the doors. Be prepared to defend yourself if necessary.
- When showing the house, always walk behind the prospect. Direct them; don't lead them. Say, for example, "The kitchen is on your left," and gesture for them to go ahead of you.
- Upon entering a house for the first time, check all rooms and determine several "escape" routes.
- Do your best to avoid attics, basements, and getting trapped in small rooms. Always let the client lead.
- Be careful and stay alert to your surroundings. If you sense any suspicious activity during an open house (or showing), contact your local police department.
- If you ever feel uncomfortable, simply excuse yourself to go outside and make a call.
- Always secure a property by shutting and locking all doors and windows, and putting the key back in the Lockbox before leaving.
- If unauthorized or unaccompanied (by a REALTOR®) individuals are found to be trespassing at a listing, call the police.
- Check your phone's charge and signal prior to any appointment or open house.
- Before your open house, notify someone in your office, a friend, or a relative that you will be calling in every hour on the hour. And, if you don't call, they are to call you.
- Keep personal social media accounts separate from business accounts, and make your personal account private or only accessible to friends and family.
- Never post your location or your destination on social media.
- Never post anything on social media that you wouldn't want a stranger to know.
For even more safety information, visit the National Association of REALTORS® safety page.