Hopefully an unsafe situation has never presented itself and never will – but in the off chance that it does, here are some tips to help keep you safe.
By: Sabrina Lapointe
Picture a totally empty house, sometimes in a desolate area, no witnesses, sometimes no one within earshot, and you’re just one lone wolf Realtor® awaiting strangers to enter your open house. You’ve all been here before. Hopefully an unsafe situation has never presented itself and never will – but in the off chance that it does, here are some tips to help keep you safe. Because September is Realtor ® safety month, we wanted to get you up-to-date with the latest trends in safety.
Thankfully, technology has allowed for the creation of safety apps to protect Realtors® from potential threats. For example, KATANA Safety ™ is a personal security system that attaches to your smartphone. According to the NAR safety resources page, “the layered system bypasses a locked screen by triggering a loud audible alarm or pushing a discreet silent panic button. A 24/7 Response Center is alerted and contacts the appropriate emergency services with your GPS location. They may also activate your Circle of Seven, a network of your colleagues in your KATANA Safety app.”
Another safety app to consider is FOREWARN. FOREWARN allows agents to work safer and smarter by instantly verifying a prospect’s identity and potential risks prior to a face-to-face engagement. The way it works is “with information such as a phone number or name, agents can verify a prospect’s identity, criminal records, bankruptcies, liens, judgements, address history, and property records all in one place.”
These creative solutions go beyond smartphone apps. Prop Lock is used to mitigate the risk posed by closed doors. Working in real estate, you pass through doors in countless homes every single day. Prop Lock is a safety lock that keeps doors propped open and prevents someone from maliciously creating a confined space.
There are many options out there for a self-defense method. Being aware of your surroundings and taking precautions to be in control is good first step. NAR’s article “Defensive Behavior: Safety Tips Just for You” explores some important lessons on safety listed below.
Be in the driver’s seat. Always use your own car when showing a property so you stay in control. If a client insists on driving, let him take his own car and follow behind you. Also, remember to lock the doors whenever entering or leaving your vehicle to prevent criminals from attacking after you’re in the car, or waiting for you in the car while you’re running errands.
Don’t get stranded. Always keep your car’s gas tank filled above a quarter-tank. Also, keep the following safety tools in the car: A charged cell phone, a battery jumper, a spare tire, and a roadside emergency kit that includes a flashlight and flares.
Check in often. Let your office and family know when, where, and with whom your appointments will be and when you expect to return. Make it your policy to check in every hour when you’re with clients. If you don’t call to check in, the office should call you right away.
If you choose to carry a weapon with you for self-defense, ensure that you have received the proper training and licensing required of that specific weapon.
When the average person thinks about real estate as a career, they probably don’t think of it as a dangerous occupation. But you can probably all think of a time or place where you felt unsafe or vulnerable. Many Realtors® have been fortunate enough to say they have never been in an unsafe situation on the job. However, it is important to be cognizant and to have a safety protocol in place. Unlike many typical office jobs, you spend most of your work day meeting with new clients, showing properties, constantly being on the road to new locations. Luckily, there are a number of trending apps and gadgets out there to help keep you safe. Take advantage of these apps, gadgets and maybe even take a self-defense course. If nothing else, it might provide you with some peace of mind.