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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.
• Don’t ignore danger signals
• Unexplained fear
• 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.
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.
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
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
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.
As a broker for the company, there are certain security measures
that should be in place to assist your agents in safety
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
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?
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
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.
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.
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
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
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”.
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.