Safety Guidelines for Real Estate Agents
By Sadiya Anjum
Being a real estate agent finds you constantly working and interacting with strangers in isolated areas or in empty homes. In situations like this it is easy for a predator to pose as an interested party and trap the agent. The attacks on real estate agents have increased over the last few years and there is a need to take precautions for your own safety. Most offices have their own safety procedures and you should always take care to follow them.
It is easy for us to live in a bubble where you believe that nothing terrible will ever happen to you. Hopefully nothing will but if you are careless with safety measures then you are making yourself an open target. There are simple things that you can follow which can ensure safety to a large extent.
Rule number one involves identification of whom you are dealing with. Unless you know the customer well you should not meet them directly at the property. When someone first gets in touch with you, always request for them to meet you at the office. As standard procedure, you can ask them for their address and home, office and cell numbers. Call at various numbers to verify; call at the office to check on them. Ask to see their driverís license when they come to your office and make a copy of it. Note the make of the car they are driving and the license plate number.
When you do take them to see a property, make sure you let a colleague or friend know where you will be going and what time they can expect you back. It is always best to keep someone informed about your dayís plans. As for traveling to the site, always drive your own car with the customer or ask them to follow your car. When a property is first listed, get acquainted with the neighbors and ask them to keep an eye on the property especially if they see something odd. Involve your seller in the safety process too and advise him to put away his prized possessions when you are showing a home.
If you are in an isolated area, remember to always park your car in a manner which prevents anything from blocking it, even your customerís car. Let the customer lead the way in the house and keep an eye on the possible exits in every room. Have a colleague call you once during the meeting or you can call them too. Pre-decide on a code word indicating anxiety with a customer; using this code will alert your colleague to come over or send someone else down. Also remember to decide on a code word for emergency. Better still you can have a colleague go down with you to some places and you can do the same for him.
Remember to have enough fuel in a car and a charger or an extra battery for your phone at all times. There are other small safety tips you can implement such as carrying a pepper spray, storing the number 911 on your cellís speed dial list etc. None of these suggestions are too difficult to implement and they will surely not get in the way of your work. In fact it will help you sieve the not-actually-serious customers from the serious ones. Additionally do not ignore your intuitions; they can be life savers at times. Take care of your safety so you can enjoy your job and get the best out of it.
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