| July 5, 2011
The world is very unpredictable, especially when someone deals with complete strangers on a regular basis. No one can say with certainty that their day will run without a hitch. This past February, an Iowa news station reported on a realtor from Ottumwa that was assaulted and tied up in a basement by two men she had been showing a house to. She managed to escape and hide in a bedroom where she managed to send out an email to a colleague who then got in touch with the local authorities. Ottumwa Police Chief Jim Clark said, “This never happens. We’ve never had this happen in Ottumwa before.”
Because New American Funding works closely with realtors, we’d like to provide some useful information regarding realtor safety. Contigo Systems Inc., a company that specializes in developing personal safety apps for smartphones, recently published their report on Real Estate Safety. It states that 55% of realtors say they feel most unsafe when viewing vacant properties. Many real estate firms offer their agents training at least once a year, but 39% of those surveyed say they’ve never received any training whatsoever. What can realtors do when they’re thrust into a life threatening situation?
If you fall into that percentage, or if you’re just looking to refresh your memory, the following list contains a few pieces of advice you can take in order to better prepare yourself:
- Whenever possible, always try to meet a client in the office first. Ask for their ID and make a copy of it. Tell them it’s company policy. They shouldn’t have a problem with this unless they have ulterior motives.
- Remember the 3 W’s of Real Estate Safety: When, Where, and Who. Always let others know when you’ll be out of the office and at a property, where that property is located, and who you’ll be showing the property to. There are many apps available for smartphones that facilitate this process. One said app is called Moby, created by Contigo Systems Inc. It allows you to share your GPS location with specific people on your contacts list. You can even alert your contacts if you encounter any danger at the touch of a button!
- Trust your instincts. If the person seems suspicious or you feel uneasy at the property, leave immediately. It’s better to be safe than sorry.
These are just a few steps out of a dozen you can follow for a safer experience in the field. You can find a lengthier list of safety tips plus other useful resources on the National Association of Realtors website.