Safety Tips for Open Houses, Around the Office, and on the Go
Every September allows us the opportunity to focus on a subject that isn’t often talked about in the real estate industry - your safety. The National Association of REALTORS® highlights this topic once a year during REALTOR® Safety Month because your safety should be an important factor in every meeting you have and every open house showing. Below are six ways that you can practice precaution and keep yourself safe throughout each aspect of your job as a real estate agent.
Keep Communication Open
One of the most important safety precautions you can take is also one of the easiest. If you’re taking clients out in your car or showing a house, be sure to let someone else in the office know. Communicate with those around you so there is accountability amongst each of you. This can be as simple as creating events on your Google Calendar and sharing them with your colleagues. If you’re doing this, make sure you include the time, location, and attendees (and their contact information) for each event.
Take Charge of Your Schedule
When are you most comfortable meeting with clients or showing open houses? Make a schedule for yourself and stick to it. If it makes you uneasy to be out with clients after dark, make sure you’re upfront about that and list your hours clearly in your marketing materials. If you do end up working after dark, be sure to inform your associates and as NAR says, “if you must show a property after dark, turn on all lights as you go through, and don't lower any shades or draw curtains or blinds.”
Settle Open House Apprehension
As a real estate agent, you know that open houses are not something you can orchestrate lightly. The same goes for the safety of an open house. When preparing your clients for an open house, be sure to alert them of the possible dangers that might come with it. During the open house, keep a close eye on those entering and leaving the premises. When the house closes for the night, don’t assume that the house is empty. NAR recommends that you “check all of the rooms and the backyard prior to locking the doors. Be prepared to defend yourself, if necessary,” and always have a backup plan in case something goes wrong.
Practice Careful Car Precautions
Real estate agents spend a great deal of time in the car and you can minimize the chances of your car breaking down (or worse) by keeping a close eye on it. Regularly take your car in for maintenance and make sure you don’t neglect its upkeep. Your car is often an important part of the client’s experience and something that they will judge harshly if cosmetic or functional aspects are overlooked. As a general rule of thumb, you should keep your gas “at least half full” at all times, in order to be ready for anything.
Signing up for a self-defense class will help prepare you for the worst case scenario and give you a quick confidence boost. We all hope that we’ll never encounter our worst nightmare but preparing for the unknown can help you feel more at ease. If need be, purchase pepper spray and keep it on your person in case of emergencies. Being prepared doesn’t guarantee that you will encounter anything adverse, it simply guarantees that you’ll be ready for it.
Make Meetings Matter
Trust is hard to come by in the digital world because we all know how easy it is to scam and be scammed. In order to trust the word of prospective clients, Business Wire recommends asking for a form of identification to verify their identity. Also, set up your initial meeting in a public place or at the office so as to vet the client and their intentions. Once you’re sure you’re a good fit, you can move on to a private showing.
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