Under normal circumstances, you wouldn’t let just anyone come into your house and look around. However, when you are showing a house for sale, that is basically part of the home selling process. As a real estate agent working with new or potential clients, what do you really know about them? The great majority of people looking at homes are honest people but there are still certain precautions agents must keep in mind to stay safe.
Better Safe, Than Sorry
At Tru Realty, we make real estate agent safety a priority. We routinely discuss and practice security procedures in our office. A few important safety tips include:
1. Enact the C.I.T.O. principle (Come Into The Office)
New prospects should be screened in the brokerage office or some other public place like a coffee shop. The COVID-19 pandemic has added some challenges to this principle, but the sentiment remains, don’t agree to a private showing unless you’ve already met them in a public place first. Have the potential new client complete an information form (name, copy of driver’s license, vehicle information) before you proceed.
2. Set up a buddy system
Have an associate in the office that you can share your showing schedules with and text a copy of the client’s information before attending a showing. It’s also a good idea to set up code words for certain emergencies so you can discreetly alert your buddy when you’re in danger and can’t call 911 yourself.
3. Let the client take the lead when touring properties
It’s safer to follow the client during the showing and keep them in full view. If you can, avoid going into the basement or totally enclosed spaces. Always be mindful of exits.
4. Program emergency numbers into your phone
Most smartphones have this feature so take the time to review how it works (without calling, of course). This way you’re prepared when a situation arises and you’re not scrambling to call for help. That said, always keep your phone in your hand, carry pepper spray, and consider bringing a coworker along whenever possible.
5. Be vigilant about safety when hosting an open house
Check out the neighborhood and be aware of your surroundings upon arriving. It’s best to leave your bag, purse, or laptops in the trunk of your car. It’s also wise to leave expensive jewelry and watches at home. You can still dress to impress without them! If the open house is still occupied at the time of the showing, always ask the seller to put away any valuable items before you arrive. Also important, keep records of all open house guests. You should be doing this anyway for marketing purposes but it doubles as a best practice for safety.
6. Use safety precautions on social media
Be mindful of your profile picture. This should be a no-brainer because you want to always be presenting yourself in a professional manner. Use a professional headshot, no selfies, or suggestive photos. Be mindful of what you wear. Don’t overshare personal information such as your home address and keep in mind when and how you’re showing your location via social media apps.
Real Estate Agent Safety is Our Priority
Trust your instincts. If something doesn’t seem right, politely cancel the showing and immediately leave. Tru Realty takes the safety of our agents and staff very seriously. If you’re interested in learning more about our safety measures or joining the Tru Realty team, contact me at Barry@TruRealty.com.
About the Author
Barry Nicholas is the Designated Broker at Tru Realty. He currently has active broker’s licenses in Arizona, Kansas, Missouri, and Oklahoma and is a graduate of the Realtor Institute. He also holds the Certified Residential Specialist Designation. Barry provides his clients with the expertise and acumen that addresses the ever-changing trends in home sales, property marketing, and real estate technology. As your Broker, he views customer service as his utmost priority.