Safety and Success

Safety and Success

One is no more important than the other!

By: Marcus Wally

When training new hires, I am reminded of all the pieces that help us become successful REALTORS®. With the hiring of a recruit recently, I conducted training and again was reminded of the critical importance of REALTOR® safety.

Working with strangers puts us in harm’s way each time we show a property. Meeting an unknown person at a property is like playing Russian Roulette. Here are my tips for a safe sale, both for sales and rentals.

1. Require prospects to show identification.

At my office, we request that prospects initially visit our office in person. During the visit, we make a copy of the prospect’s driver’s license. Part of my office policy is to gather basic documentation on everyone who wants to see a property. Convenience can be a factor oftentimes, and if prospects are unable to visit the office first, meet at another public place, such as a coffee shop. There, take a photo of the license with your phone and e-mail it to your office. People expect an application process; if they object, that’s a red flag.

2. Be aware and cautious when showing a listing.

Never turn your back on a client. Before I lean over to open the lock box, I ask prospects to walk around the property to view the landscaping. This keeps prospects away from the agent at a time of vulnerability. Once inside, allow them to walk into each room while you stay by the door. I hang out in the hallway or in the open living area. When showing the house, always walk behind the prospects. Direct; don’t lead. For example, say, “the kitchen is on your left,” and gesture for them to go ahead of you.

Another super idea is to silence your phone and have an imaginary conversation to give the impression that someone knows where you are and what you’re doing.

My staff knows a code that signals an emergency. When an agent calls our office and says “cancel all my appointments with Mr. Snow,” our secretary automatically knows to phone the police. Make sure your office has a similar emergency code.

3. Trust your instincts.

Mother always told us to follow our instincts and listen to our gut. The top crime against women in real estate is assault. After the fact, most victims state that they did not feel right about a person or a situation but plugged ahead as they needed the sale or rental. We just can’t ignore that inner voice. For safety, you may feel comfortable carrying mace or pepper spray. I recommend talking on your cell phone as a bigger deterrent: if someone hiding in a property hears you talking on your phone, they are likely to remain hidden rather than attack.

Hosting an open house?

While an open house is a great sales tool, it also exposes you to unfamiliar people. Stay safe by practicing these tips:

  • Call the local police and ask for a squad car to drive by during your open house hours.
  • Check your phone charge and signal prior to the open house. Have emergency numbers programmed on speed dial.
  • Determine escape routes. Make sure all deadbolts are unlocked to facilitate a fast escape. Identify escape routes that lead directly out of the property as well as outdoor escapes, such as fence gates or garage doors.
  • Turn on lights and open curtains for both safety and marketing purposes.
  • When prospects arrive, jot down car descriptions and license plates as well as physical descriptions.
  • Notify a friend or relative that you will call every hour on the hour. And if you don’t call, they are to notify the police immediately.
  • Inform a neighbor that you will be showing the house and ask if he or she can be observant for the unusual. This safety tip is my favorite as it provides the opportunity to meet someone new.

While making it to the closing table is our ultimate goal, never let it be overshadowed by risking your safety. Stay safe!

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