A Real Estate Agent’s Personal Safety Guidelines

This safety checklist, though written with real estate agents in mind, is applicable to anyone working from home or in an office alone. Get the Do’s and Don’ts for keeping yourself safe here.

A major concern for realtors is personal safety. Many times the realtor is working alone in showing a property, having an open house, or manning the model house in a new subdivision. Some personal safety issues should include:

On the first meeting of a client, always meet a new client at your office, never at a property. Get as much personal information as possible. A copy of the driver’s license is a good start not only for safety, but also for the client database.

During this first meeting, if you have any suspicions or uneasiness about a client, do not go to the showing alone, no matter what time of day. Ask another person to accompany you. If you are at an open house and you feel that you are in danger, leave the home and seek assistance.

Always drive your own car to the property as this might be the only means of escape. Keep your car locked while driving to the property and after you park it. On the way make notes on the type of car, color, and license plate number and call the office with this information. Once at the property do not park your vehicle where it can be blocked.

Always follow the prospect through the home and never let them get behind you. Your attention should be focused on the client, not on the house.

Here is a checklist to follow for safety:

  1. When a person comes through the office to view your model homes have them complete a guest register that includes making a copy of their driver’s license. Get this information back to the office by fax or e-mail and let the office know it is coming.

  2. Keep the keys to your vehicle and your cell phone with you at all times. Keep your handbag locked in the trunk of your vehicle rather than in your desk.

  3. When closing the model homes for the night never assume that the home is vacant. Be familiar enough with each home to know the exits. Check the interior of the house prior to locking the doors, working from the top floor to the bottom, back of the house to the front, locking the doors behind you. Be aware of your surroundings. Be prepared to protect yourself.

  4. Enroll in a self defense education course to assist you in protecting yourself until someone can respond to your call for help. Never assume that you can talk your way out of a situation. Look for and take the first opportunity to escape.

The DO list:

  1. Take the safest and best-lighted route–day or night–while driving to appointments.

  2. Always inform your office of where you will be, who you will be with and when you will next be in touch. Make sure the person you are meeting knows that you’ve given your office this information.

  3. Be aware of the neighborhood in which you are showing a listing. If the neighborhood poses any possible threat to your personal safety, take another person with you.

  4. Allow the client to proceed ahead of you while showing the property. Make sure you have previewed the property and know all of the accessible exits. Leave the doors unlocked for easy exit and leave one door open at all times, if possible. Carry your cell phone with you.

  5. Establish a method of being able to relate an emergency situation to the office or a contact person.

  6. Have a secret phrase to notify the office you are in trouble such as “Pick up dog food” when you don’t have a dog.

The DON’T list:

  1. Hold an open house alone, if at all possible. Working with a partner allows you the luxury of having someone available to call or go for assistance if needed, and someone to help monitor how many people are in the house. If you must do an open house alone, stay near the door and let the prospect look through the house alone. Keep all valuables–jewelry, money, guns, etc.– locked away.

  2. Host an open house at a property you have not already previewed. Know the location of all of the exits and how to contact the closest neighbors. Make sure that if you use the backyard as an escape route that there is an exit out of it. Make sure all of the exit doors are unlocked during the open house.

  3. Wear expensive jewelry and, if at all possible, keep your handbag locked in the trunk of your vehicle while you are hosting an open house. Have your car keys readily available by keeping them either in a pocket or clipped to a belt.

  4. Assume everyone has left the premises at the end of an open house. Check all of the rooms and the backyard prior to locking all of the doors. Be prepared to defend yourself, if necessary.

  5. Show a property alone at night, especially if it is vacant.

What the office can do to protect its agents:

  1. Each office should keep a file on each agent’s vehicle — make, year, model, color and license plate number.

  2. Each agent should leave a daily schedule of outside appointments with their office showing client names and times.

  3. Always meet your client, prospect or buyer at your office and have them complete an information form, taking a photo of their driver’s license. The information form should contain vehicle information, also.

  4. Have each agent carry a log to write down prospective client‘s name, driver’s license and vehicle information.

  5. At open houses, a guest registry should be kept for all persons viewing the house. This registry should include vehicle information.

  6. Never have an agent show a property as the result of only a telephone call. Always meet them at the office and have them complete an information form.

  7. Do not list your home address or telephone number on your business cards.

Many of these points may already in practice for the profession. Look to these procedures as also a safety concern. These safety tips should become second nature with little thought to be truly effective.

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