Most people wouldn’t rank at the top of the list of dangerous professions as a real estate agent. However, when they meet a new client, drive clients to homes for sale, and show a vacant property, real estate agents put their security on the line every day.
What puts realtors at risk?
- Most property agents are working alone. Even if they work for a real estate agency, real estate agents are independent workers. Realtors meet customers on their own, display properties on their own and run open houses on their own. This tendency to work alone makes them a criminal target.
- Customers of Realtor are strangers. Realtors are selling homes to all kinds of people. They don’t know that much about them when a realtor meets a client. They might have a criminal background, a history of drug or alcohol use, or a condition of mental health that would endanger the realtor. Before meeting potential customers, it becomes common practice to do background checks, including requesting copies of driver’s licenses.
- You can find properties for sale anywhere. In every area a person can live, properties are put up for sale. The neighborhood may be in a wealthy suburban area or a town’s rougher area. The property could be a well-kept home that the owner still occupies or an abandoned or foreclosed property. Angry former homeowners, squatters and vagabonds, or any number of unsavory characters, may unexpectedly confront immovable agents.
- Open houses are publicly announced. In order to attract potential buyers, Realtors rely on open houses advertising on the Internet and social media sites. Plotting an attack on a realtor would be fairly simple for an assailant because they know exactly where the realtor will be in advance. Most open houses last for several hours, so a criminal has a fairly large window of opportunity to get a real estate agent by himself.
Tips for keeping yourself safe
Meet new customers in a public space. Meet new customers at the central office initially and make a copy of their driver’s license as well as another form of identification. Meeting in a public space helps the realtor verify that the customer is who they say is in a secure public space before chauffeuring customers around and showing properties alone.
Modestly dress up. Do not wear high-end jewelry or carry flashy or wealth-suggesting accessories. Would-be criminals are attracted to individuals they are able to isolate so they will be considered an ideal target as a realtor that looks like they have money.
Avoid driving with new customers alone. Ask new customers to drive their car to the property you’re planning to show them. You can tell them that you must return immediately after the show or that you will have another appointment immediately afterwards. You’re not alone with people you don’t know in the car this way.
Make sure that someone always knows where you are. Before showing a property, inform your associates and a family member of the property’s address, who you are showing it to, how long you expect to be gone, and when you leave you will notify them. This way other people can check on you if in a while they haven’t heard of you and alert authorities going to your last known location.
When it’s dark out, try to avoid showing properties. If after dark you have to show the home, make sure you’ve got a good flashlight and always carry it. Brighten the light around the outer perimeter and inside the rooms before entering the property. Use the flashlight to light the way to your car ahead of you when you leave.
Never turn your back on a client when displaying property while representing top real estate companies in Miami. Let them go in front of you as you give directions. Keeping the customer always in sight gives them fewer opportunities to blind you in an attack.
Buddy up. Bring another agent with you wherever possible to show property or host an open house. Since criminals prefer to isolate their victims, there is safety in numbers.
Adjust the details that something is wrong. Pay attention to clues that a client may not be who they say they are or may be harmful to you. If you pay close attention, you can go with your instinct and look for a way out right away.
Using technology. There is technology available that can track the location of top rated real estate agents, sound an alarm, send your contact list a distress signal, and more.