Real estate offices are bustling, busy places where a friendly buzz of chatter can be overheard. The hottest new listings, tips on smooth transactions and of course the popular question,“where did you get those shoes?” are all important topics you’ll glean when you work among exciting, helpful real estate pros. But underneath it all, a much more serious conversation about safety constantly exists.
In the wake of the tragic loss of one of our own from Arkansas, we are reminded of how frequently this industry leaves us exposed. We trust that weekends spent with buyers will turn into sales. We believe that cooperating brokers will fairly present our clients’ side of the story. But our nearly naked exposure is most extreme when putting our faith in strangers.
Believe me, I know how it feels to open a door for a stranger. Before the opportunity to lead Windermere Stellar surfaced, I was also in your shoes, pounding the pavement as a real estate broker. Here are some snippets of the safety conversations I’ve had during my 26 years in the industry:
- Park on the street when showing a house so that you are not blocked into the driveway in case you need to make a quick getaway. This goes for open houses too.
- Keep your cell phone on and in your pocket at all times.
- Keep your car keys with you. Don’t lay them on the table as you walk in the door. You may be able to hit the red panic button on your key fob if you feel like you want to set off your car alarm.
- Always let someone know where you are and include the address.
- Try not to show a house alone to a stranger. Take a buddy! A new real estate broker would love to see you in action. Many of your Principal Brokers have offered to accompany you.
- If you must show a house to a stranger, make it a rule to have them meet you at your office first and then caravan to the listing. Many of the dangerous people will disappear after this request because it means that others in the office will have set eyes on this stranger. The rules also show that you are aware and to be taken seriously.
- In Arkansas the realtors are going to get a photo of potential clients’ driver’s licenses before going out with them. Think about it. Car dealerships make you show your DL before letting you test drive a car.
- Make sure to drive your own car when showing a house to a stranger.
- Some brokers elect to remove their headshots from property marketing. They claim it allows more pictures of the listing to be incorporated, however some safety factors might also be relevant.
- Most importantly, trust your gut. If you are with clients and you feel uncomfortable, just leave the home. Go outside and get in your car. It is not your job to protect someone’s home at your own peril. I was once showing a home and a pit bull followed me into every room. The owner was there and told me that her pit bull was acting strange lately so she didn’t let her five-year-old grandson play with him anymore. I was so scared I left the house with my buyer in the house and waited for him in the car. When he came out, I told him that if he wanted to buy that house he had to get another realtor because I was never going back in there again. He was fine with what I did and he didn’t buy the house.
Since these tips are from wise industry professionals (maybe one of them is from you!), please chime in and share your tips with us in the comments section or on our private Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/windermeregroup/
Look for upcoming classes on safety coming to your office or an office near you.