February 19th, 2016
We’re updating and republishing our popular series on Real Estate Agent Safety. Because real estate agents take on quite a bit of risk meeting new people in empty houses, it’s important to prepare and plan to protect yourself. While new clients are a great thing, trust your instincts and stay on the safe side when meeting someone for the first time. Real estate agents have been tricked and hurt because they walked into dangerous situations, thinking it was a simple showing of a property to a new client.
Meeting with people you don’t know can put your safety at risk. You don’t know if this person could potentially be a criminal, stalker, thief, or worse. They’re probably just a normal person wanting to buy or sell a house, but here’s some tips to help you prepare.
Don’t Give Out Too Much of Your Personal Information. You want to be sure that they only have your business phone number and ensure that they don’t find out your personal information such as your home number or address. Don’t use your full name or middle initial in your marketing material.
Meet at your office first. This is also a great way for them to see that you are a professional.
Have all clients fill out a new customer form. You can find an example of this at REALTOR.org. Click on “Prospect Identification Form” under the Office Safety Forms heading. The form asks for car make and license number, contact information, and employer information, and also requests a photocopy of the driver’s license. This is also a great way to get their best contact number and email address so you can build up your relationship with them.
Introduce them to a coworker. When you meet them at the office, introduce them to at least one other person in your office. Criminals won’t like that others have seen them for identification purposes, according to tip sheets provided by the Washington Real Estate Safety Council.
You Be The Driver. Take your clients from listing to listing or have them meet you there until you get to know them better. Keep your car locked while driving to the property and after you park it. Keep your keys on you in a safe place. On the way make notes on the client’s type of car, color, and license plate number and call or text the office with this information. Once at the property do not park your vehicle where it can be blocked.
Showing Them A Listing. Always follow the prospect through the home and never let them get behind you. Don’t get trapped in a room. Your attention should be focused on the client, not on the house. Show them the house during daylight. Also, have a cell phone service provider that works in most places.