September is National REALTOR Safety Month
Imagine the excitement and anticipation of getting a new client. You decide to meet at the perfect home. You get out of the car, lead the new client inside and before you can ask their opinion of it, you are brutally attacked.
Unfortunately, many agents have experienced attacks such as this; some have lost their lives to criminals posing as potential clients. Moreover, far too many attacks go unspoken and unpunished.
The practice of real estate is unique because it is one of few businesses where unknown strangers are met at vacant properties. Earlier this year, a Minneapolis agent was lured to her death as the perpetrators used a home for sale as bait.
National REALTOR® Safety Month is designated by the National Association of REALTORS, (NAR), as a time to focus on safety strategies and tactics. The NAR safety recommendations through the years have been adopted by brokerages around the country and the results are evident according to a recent NAR survey in which they found the following:
- 23% of REALTORS experienced a situation that made them fear for their personal safety or their personal information
- 31% felt unsafe during an open house
- 38% have participated in a self-defense class
- 46% of men and 50% of women carry a self-defense weapon or tool
Resources for Real Estate Professionals
-REALTOR safety videos, webinars, presentations and tips can be accessed on the NAR website at https://www.nar.realtor/safety for agents and brokerages to build plans for protection.
-The California Association of REALTORS, (CAR) also offers webinars, tips, and safety alerts of suspicious people who prey upon agents in the state. As with many state and local associations around the country, they also offer guidance and encouragement for safety protocols so business can be conducted safely. https://www.car.org/aboutus/mediacenter/news/realtorsafety.
-Southern California’s Citrus Valley Association of REALTORS® produces a REALTOR Safety Day that adds COVID-19 and cyber security to personal protection presentations. Their event addresses association Core Standards requirements, and is in support of the Los Angeles organization, Peace Over Violence.
-Each year, additional resources are created to remind eager agents of potential vulnerability if safety precautions are not taken. Some of the important tips from NAR include:
- Meet prospects and clients whom you’ve never met in the office rather than at properties, outdoors or at a home
- Require all first-time clients to provide a driver’s license, state ID or other official photo ID. The office can make and retain a copy for security purposes
- Everyone in a brokerage should be educated on a single distress code to be used by agents calling in if they feel threatened
- Develop a buddy system so agents are not alone on client calls
Homesnap, the mobile search solution offered by the Broker Public Portal as a member benefit to more than a million real estate agents has a safe showing feature. Learn more here – https://www.homesnap.com/pro/safety
Other safety-oriented tech companies include Forewarn, a subscription service which instantly provides due-diligence information on prospective clients, and Real Safe Agent, a crime prevention suite with tools that help agents avoid isolated situations with potential predators.
More than a million people practice real estate in the U.S. because they enjoy the gratification of helping clients to realize their version of the American dream. It is important to keep that process from becoming a potential nightmare for them or their clients. September is the month for recognition of REALTOR safety, but the practice of safety must be a priority, all year.