According to a survey by the National Association of Realtors — or NAR — almost 50 percent of female real estate agents have had an experience in the past 12 months that made them fear for their personal information — or for their personal safety. For males, that number was 25 percent. Fortunately, there are some practical real estate agent safety tips that, when consistently applied, can help you stay safe.
For more real estate agent tools and resources, reach out to Escrow Hub LA. With the Peak Corporate Network at our fingertips, we can make sure realtors have what they need to make the sale and make the sale safely.
Real Estate Agent Safety
1. Establish a second meeting only policy
Business Wire advises never taking a client to view a home during a first meeting. Instead, require all new clients to come to your office so you and your associates can assess his or her trustworthiness.
2. Use Prospect Identification Forms
These forms ask the client to fill out personal details such as name, address and phone number. Make a copy of the client’s driver’s license and store it with the Prospect ID. When you no longer need this information, be sure to destroy it properly.
3. Avoid showing homes after dark
As much as possible, only show homes during daylight hours. If you have to show a property after dark, turn on all of the lights as you walk through the home and leave shades, drapes, and blinds open.
4. Tell your associates where you’re going and with whom
Include the exact times, address of the home and the personal information of the client. If you’re an independent real estate agent without any colleagues, inform someone you trust.
5. Establish a safety code to alert your colleagues if something’s wrong
Choose a word or phrase you don’t often use but that could come up naturally in conversation, such as “my original research.” In other words, if you call your associate and say, “Please send me my original research,” he or she will know to alert the authorities. Hopefully, you never have to use it, but this is a great thing to keep in your back pocket for real estate agent safety
6. Always let the client lead the way through the property
Thieves and other criminals will try to take advantage of you in an unguarded moment, so never turn your back on a client if you don’t know him or her well.
7. Don’t wear expensive jewelry or watches
Crime is often prompted by opportunity. If a criminal doesn’t see you wearing any expensive accessories, he or she is less likely to consider you an attractive target.
8. Avoid putting your photo, personal phone number, and home address on any advertisements
Although many people believe it boosts your authenticity, it can also lead to the kind of attention you don’t want.
9. Don’t share any personal information
A lot of homebuyers share information about themselves when they’re looking for a new home, so it’s only logical to want to open up, as well. However, you might unwittingly share details that can be used to steal your identity or otherwise do you harm. If you must share some details, spend some time thinking about the things you can say without putting yourself in harm’s way.
10. Keep your computer system well protected
The NAR recommends installing a good anti-virus on your computer, as well as using reliable malware. In addition, practice good cyber hygiene to avoid falling prey to cyberattacks —so never use the same password for more than one account, keep your passwords secure and avoid clicking on links or downloading attachments unless you’re sure you can trust the source.
Keeping yourself, your possessions and your business safe involve being vigilant at all times — but especially when you’re alone. For more practical real estate agent safety tips, visit https://www.nar.realtor/safety.