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Real Estate Agent Safety Tips

(Bookmark this page to your computer/phone for future use).


Know Who You Are Dealing With

When you have new clients or customers...


Meet in the office

Ask the prospect to stop by the office and complete the Client Identification

Form before going to the property. This should be openly

obtained consistently throughout the organization and preferably

in the presence of another associate in your office. Allowing another

person to meet the prospect in the office can be a deterrent

because would-be assailants do not like to be noticed or receive

exposure knowing a person could pick them out in a police line-up.

Always ask questions to pre-qualify the client.

When listing a property, take measures to identify the person you

are meeting to be sure he or she is the property owner.

When showing a listing identify who you are working with.


Verify his or her identity

Identify the person you are working with. Call and verify references,

or place of employment and verify his or her current address. Information

should be retained at your office. Requiring this information

might detain or discourage an assailant.


Get the car make and license number

Believe it or not, the client may be driving a stolen car. If the car is

stolen, your prospect will be reluctant to give you this information.

Requiring this information will assist law enforcement in catching the

criminal or locating you if you are abducted.


Photocopy the driver’s license

Legitimate clients do not mind your photocopying their driver’s license.

If showing our license is required to rent a movie, we can

expect identification from our clients before showing a home worth

thousands of dollars.


Company use of the Client I.D. Form (example provided)

You can never be too safe in collecting enough information about

the people who are prospective customers. Create a company

policy that includes an identification process regarding the identity

of clients and customers.

Danger Is Not Always Easy To Identify

• Don’t ignore danger signals

• Intuition

• Unexplained fear

• Apprehension

• These are signals that something isn’t right

Safety experts agree that it is best to assume that your instincts

are right and to take the necessary precautions. Do not be so

anxious for a sale that you ignore your own intuition in the heat

of the moment. A few things to assist you in situations are:


Know the property

Have knowledge of the property including location of all the

exit doors, garage doors and basement exits. Always have a

game plan in place to know what to do.


Plan your escape route

Before you show the property, plan an escape route.


Position yourself in an escape mode

When you show a house or other property by yourself, pay close

attention to your instincts. Do not lead the way; it is too easy to

be cornered or trapped in a room, basement or attic. You can

comment on each room from the safety of the door, from where

you can flee more easily if you get a bad feeling about the situation.


Car Safety

Always have your keys with you

Park in a well-lit area

Don’t allow yourself to get blocked in a driveway; if necessary

park on the road

Ask yourself, in an emergency am I going to be able to

run to my car and drive away?

Beware of dead end streets

Keep your car in good running condition

Consider using separate cars

Never allow the client to drive you to the location.


You spend a lot of time in your car. This, in itself, exposes you to

a likelihood of running out of gas, mechanical failure, or an accident.

Make sure you have a fully charged cell phone, tools,

blanket, flares, first aid kit, and warm clothes in your car.

Commercial/Industrial Sales & Property Management

Property management could possibly be one of the most

dangerous real estate careers. You are typically showing a

vacant property to a prospective customer. Be aware of

several things:


Communication plays a vital role in showing vacant property.

Know who you are dealing with. Insist that you have

information recorded both at the office and with you about

the client.


Be sure your cell phone is serviceable in the area in which

you are showing the property.


When the property is vacant be aware of the time of day you

are showing the property.

Showing a property at dusk, with no electricity on in the space

you are showing, is setting yourself up for trouble.


Screen all prospective clients before showing the property.

Use your intuition. When uneasy, have someone tag along or

do not show the property.


Have policies in place regarding rental collection and disposition

of a property.

All of the real estate safety practices are applicable in commercial

sales and property management, and are even more

relevant since you are usually dealing with vacant locations.

Be sure you review all the safety awareness procedures and

implement the best measures to provide protection from assailants.

Office Safety

As a broker for the company, there are certain security measures

that should be in place to assist your agents in safety

awareness.


Frequently remind your agents of the various methods of communication

that can assist them in their day-to-day business.


Have forms in place, and use them for every client. Be sure that

clients are not stereotyped and this step is not overlooked.


Listed below are forms we have made available for you to

implement in your office:


Personal Identification Form

Know who you are doing business with! Offices across the nation

are now asking for photo identification and information from

clients BEFORE going to view a property. The form is quick and

easy to fill out and asks for name, address, employer, and automobile

information. We ask to prequalify them for the loan;

we must prequalify them to show property. Not only does this

procedure identify the person you are working with, it helps to

qualify a prospect and aids police if something does happen

to you. This is a simple form and it may be the best preventive

safety measure you and your office can take. Legitimate customers

are very understanding of why you need this information.

There will be little to no resistance to providing identification

if they are truly interested in buying or selling a house. If a

customer does object, that in itself should raise a red flag.


Agent Identification Form

If there were an accident or an agent did not check in when

he or she was scheduled, you or the police would need this

information quickly. We recommend placing the Agent Identification

Form collectively in a separate folder that anyone can

access. This needs to be updated at least once a year. You

may want to schedule an annual review of the information

along with the time of year that goals and business planning

are reviewed. It may seem a trivial thing, but this form can be a

valuable tool to all parties involved when something tragic

occurs.


Agent Itinerary Form

This simple form helps you find an agent when there is a problem

at home and gives you a place to look when an agent is

missing. Many agents print out an additional “show list” and

attach the form to it. Your office will appreciate having this

information if they need to contact you.

This is just a short list of forms that can be used to provide a safer

environment for your agents. Other things to consider are tracking

of clients who attend open houses, or on site tours.


Implement Procedures for your agents regarding:

• The Buddy System

• Distress Codes

• Office Check in Policies

• Entering and Exiting the building when dropping off contracts

after office hours

• Billboard Advertising—Are you assisting assailants in providing

the name of the top producer in your organization?

Personal Marketing

Your marketing materials should be polished and professional

without compromising safety.


Limit the amount of personal information you provide

Do not give your personal home address on your business cards.

Always provide a cell phone or business phone number, not a

home number.


Giving too much of the wrong information can make you a target

Concentrate on your professional proficiency rather than personal

information in newspapers, resumes and business cards

and web sites.


Be careful of the personal information you share verbally as well

“Getting to know your client” does not need to include personal

information about your children or where you live. Be guarded

with your personal information.


Avoid glamour shots

Criminals actually circle photographs of their would-be victims

in newspaper advertisements. The victim was targeted because

of his or her appearance in the photograph.


Dress for safety

Look professional, but wear clothes that are comfortable and

shoes that you can run in. Don’t wear expensive jewelry, as expensive

jewelry can make you a target. Save flashy jewelry for

formal occasions. Criminals scout real estate representatives

and homes for jewelry, prescription drugs and items that are easy

to sell. Don’t flash cash or wear diamonds when you are in the

office or on the road.


Dress for the weather

If your car breaks down or you need to escape dangerous situations

on foot, you could find yourself exposed to the weather

for an extended period of time. In the winter bring a coat and

always keep a blanket in the trunk of your car.


Internet/Website Advertising

This is a perfect way for someone to learn all about you and your

business. Use precautions on what information you provide on

your web site. There are also securities when selecting your

Internet provider and web site host that can allow your personal

information to be protected from the web browsers. If you are not familiar with all the Internet issues, take a class or seek the

advice of those who are the Internet experts. There are numerous

free or low cost programs that you can run on your systems

to see who is tracking your web site.


Advertising

When placing ads to sell a property, the words in the advertisement

can be your worse enemy. Scripting there will be an open

vacant house, or just the fact that with good intentions you describe

a property to sell quickly because it is vacant is an immediate

attraction to those who are looking for an easy prey.

Be aware of how much you self-promote to the public. Your

listing presentation should include accolades regarding designations

and further professional education you have pursued.

Use caution when promoting personal facts about yourself and

your family.

Open House/On-Site Safety

Arrive early to an open house

Familiarize yourself with the property. Survey the exits and establish

escape routes from each level. Make sure all the

deadbolts are unlocked to facilitate a faster escape. Double

check the backyard to make sure you can get past the fence

if necessary. Meet the neighbors in the adjacent houses and

inform them you will be at the open house next door. They

can be your best ally. They will be more alert to unusual sounds

and you will have someone to run to if you need assistance.


Avoid attics, basements, and getting trapped in small rooms.

Let prospects lead the way in to all rooms.


Remind sellers to put their valuables and prescription drugs in

safe secure places. Do not leave your briefcase, purse or

laptop sitting on the counter.


Be aware of suspicious behavior and your surroundings.


Always carry your cell phone and keys on you. This can be

your best defense.


Place one of your business cards, with the date and time on

the back in a cabinet or on the counter. When prospects begin

arriving at the house, jot down their car description, license

plate number if possible, and a physical description of each

person. This will assist you in remembering names as well.


You should have an office policy regarding sign in sheets for

all prospects. 


Communication

Know in advance whom you are going to call when:

· Your instincts tell you to get help

· You are just a little bit nervous

· You need help at an open house


Communicate frequently with the office, or family. Notify someone

when you are at the property or when you are leaving the

property. Be sure your client hears you tell someone that you

are leaving the property and will be home in ten minutes.


Keep your cell phone on you and charged at all times.


Make sure you tell someone where you are going, with whom

you are going, and when you will be back. Whenever possible,

make sure the client knows you have shared this information

with someone. You are less likely to be attacked if the

criminal knows you will be missed and he or she can be identified.


If your client is with you as you leave the office, make a show of sharing this information with someone. Victims of crimes can be missing for days before co-workers begin to worry, unless

you communicate when to expect you back.


If you work alone, consider telling your buddy or family member

or your answering service when to expect you back. Even

leave a note on your desk that could help authorities in locating

you in an emergency situation.


Use today’s technology to your advantage. Cell phones come

with cameras. Take a snap shot of your client, knowing you

want to be able to remember them personally. This can also

be used to identify the criminal. This one step alone can be the

greatest tool for the authorities.


Authorities agree that most rapists and thieves are looking for

easy targets. Be assertive and leave dangerous situations early.

Do not be afraid to stop at a gas station if you feel you are in

danger with the clients in your car. Leave the situation. A car

can be replaced, a life cannot.


Know your company procedures for distress codes. Alert your

office, colleagues, family and friends of the “distress code”.

Fight or Flight?

When faced with danger, trust yourself to stay as calm as

possible. Think rationally and evaluate your options. There

is no right or wrong way to respond to confrontation, because

each is different. The response depends on the circumstances,

location of the attack, your personal recourses,

the characteristics of the assailant, and the presence of

weapons. There are many strategies that are effective, but

you must rely on your own judgment to choose the best one:


• No Resistance

• Stalling for Time

• Distraction and then Flight

• Verbal Assertiveness

• Physical Resistance


Make a conscience effort to get an accurate description of

your attacker(s). Even the smallest details may give authorities

a clue in finding the suspect.

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