10 Real Estate Agent Safety Tips
- Learn basic self defense
- Show Real Estate Only During Day Light
- Partner Up
- Request Proof Of ID (No Exceptions)
- Arm Yourself
- Be Strategic Inside
- Drive Your Own Car
- Park For Quick Escape
- Be Vigilant
- Always Rely On Your Hunch
Selling real estate is a fun and exciting career. However, it can be extremely dangerous if we are not prepared or naive. New agents are always quick to jump in, not think too much about going and meeting someone to show real estate.
I get it, they are overwhelmed with excitement to close their first deal. But are real estate agents taking any consideration of their safety? This is the main reason for writing this article on Real Estate Agent Safety Tips.
Below are REAL stories from our Florida offices that involved me, my sister and my agents. So please utilize our experiences and tactics below in order to protect yourself.
Real Estate Agent Safety Tip #1 – Learn Basic Self Defense.
There are many courses, camps and training’s that you can attend to give you a basic understanding on how to protect yourself as a real estate agent. If you cannot find anything, go to your local police department to see if they have anything to offer (many times free) or maybe they can lead you in the right direction.
Check with your local board of REALTORS and find out if they offer any self defense courses. We had one recently at our Naples, Florida Board and it was actually hosted by the local sheriff’s department.
Also, a good thing to keep fresh on is to watch YouTube videos. Just type “Simple Self Defense Techniques” and you will find well over a million videos. Self defense will prepare real estate agents to be more safe and confident.
Real Estate Agent Safety Tip #2 – Show Real Estate Only During Daylight
This may sound like common sense, however, with certain time changes in certain states, it can get dark fast! I know in Florida it can get dark at 6pm in certain months. So if you are showing real estate during that time of the year and you begin showing real estate at 5pm, then you will likely end your day in the dark.
This is not to say only bad things happen at night. But statistically, more crimes will take place when it is dark out. Real estate agents are safer showing real estate in the day. Bottom line.
However, If you have to show late in the day, consider bringing another real estate associate or even a family member. Which leads to the next tip.
Real Estate Agent Safety Tip #3 – Partner Up
You can read in my article, How To Build A Real Estate Team in Your First 12 Months, on how to build a team. There are so many advantages to building a team, so check it out.
Now, if there was a creep out there that had intentions on doing something bad, do you think they would act if there were two of you? Your odds have decreased tremendously. So think about even a buddy system.
Even if you don’t have a partner, then ask another associate to go on the appointments with you. If it leads to a sale, then give a small percentage of the gross commission. This working relationship could lead to the start of building your team.
Real Estate Agent Safety Tip #4 – Proof of ID
“Thank you for meeting with me and I am excited to show you this home! Before we go inside, we have a company policy to send proof of ID to our Broker. May I see your driver’s license?”
Real estate agents will be safer when in control. Now, you will want to try and do this before you even meet with them. Tell them to take a photo of it and text to you. If you haven’t gotten it, then when you arrive in the parking lot / driveway (NOT INSIDE) you get their license, snap a pic and send to your partner or Broker.
Also, when you first begin communication with them get their full name and have them spell it. If the license comes back different names / pictures then you may have a problem.
If they refuse, you do not show them the property. If they do not have ID or claim they do not have ID, you do not show them property. That is a flag as everyone has or should have ID especially if they drove there. “Oh geez, I forgot my wallet at home.” “Well I am sorry. Our company has strict rules on this and unfortunately I cannot get you into this home without it.”
When you blame the office, it takes the responsibility off of you. If they press you, then likely something else is going on. Now once you have the picture on your phone, text it right away with the address that you are at to your Broker or partner. If you have multiple properties to go to, then text them at each address you will be going to.
If someone gave you a copy of their ID and they had foul intentions, then they maybe less likely to do anything to you but there is still always a chance. Bringing us to Tip #5.
Real Estate Agent Safety Tip #5 – Carry A Weapon
Check with your local and state on carry laws. As a real estate agent not interested in a gun to protect yourself, then consider an alternative.
A simple Pepper Spray & Stun Gun Self Defense Kit like this one are ideal. A nice little powerful combo kit. Small enough to keep on you at all times with easy access to get to it. They are inexpensive and powerful. Consider buying a couple of them. Why?
Practice. Let’s say you buy this today and never use it and something comes up when you have to use it, what will you do? How will you do it? Will it be in your hand, on your hip, in your purse? Best bet is to have it very handy at all times and practice once a week. Spray the pepper spray to figure accuracy and distance.
Real Estate Agent Safety Tip #6 – Strategically Show Real Estate
What does this mean for real estate agent safety. Well a lot! Get to the property earlier if you can and open it up and get a feel for the floor plan. Good real estate agents will actually preview all the homes the day or two before the actually showings to get a good idea of features, neighborhood and directions.
Open the front door and let the prospect in first. Always follow! This will eliminate anyone from pushing you inside right away. Keep the front door open at all times.
Stand near the front door in the immediate area. Always walk behind them and lead from behind. When they walk into the bedrooms, bathrooms and other small rooms, you stand outside the door. Always know your closest exit.
If you feel your safety is in jeopardy, leave.
Real Estate Agent Safety Tip #7 – Drive Your Car
I highly suggest you avoid driving together. Unless you know them. Maybe, just maybe if you meet them at your office, took the appropriate licenses and there were other associates there.
However, having your own car showing property will help in keeping you safe as a Realtor.
Real Estate Agent Safety Tip #8 – Park Right
Park on the street. Just in case you need to get a fast getaway, park on the street. If you are there early or they are following you and you park in the driveway, odds are they will park behind you and block you in.
So park street side for easy escape.
Real Estate Agent Safety Tip #9 – Be Vigilant
If you were talking to your children right now about “Stranger Danger” what advice would you give?
You likely would say, do not talk to strangers, run from them if they approach you and keep aware of your surroundings all the time. The same goes for real estate agent’s safety. You have to have your eyes wide open and observe.
Stay off texting, social media and anything else that will distract you from observing your surroundings.
What are the prospects asking? Are they asking the normal questions a buyer would ask? How are they acting? Are they nervous? Are the inappropriate? What are they wearing? Do you see any bulge on their front or back along the waste line, in their pockets or on their ankle? Could it be a weapon? Are they responding with decent responses? Are they acting strange? Are they looking out the windows in a suspicious manner?
Real Estate Agent Safety Tip #10 – Go with your Hunch!
The final tip to keeping real estate agents safe, is going with your gut feeling. No amount of money is worth jeopardizing your safety. If something feels off it likely is.
Text someone and tell them to call you right away. Excuse yourself and take the call. Keep them on the phone, showing the prospect they are still on the phone. Explain you have a major emergency and need to go right away! Leave lights on and doors unlocked if the prospect isn’t quick to leave. Just GO!
Call someone to go back with you to secure the property
Our Personal Real Estate Agent Safety Experience
I have been a real estate agent since 2003 and a Broker since 2006. We have grown our real estate firm from 2 agents (my sister Jennifer and I) to over 65 agents.
We preach a lot to our agents about their safety with Articles, Weekly Round-table Sessions, Weapon Suggestions and even hosted self defense courses at a local MMA gym.
I think most of our agents are in tune with the threats that are out there. But we are always putting the bug in their ears. Our goal is to make sure you are in tune as well. Below are some REAL conversations and situations that took place.
Frantic Call – Crazy Prospective Tenant
(My Sister) – “Steve! I am in the parking lot at Palm Beach Landings. The guy I am supposed to show the condo to has been very strange on the phone. I now see him in the parking lot and he is acting very frantic! He doesn’t see me but he keeps calling my phone relentlessly! And I am 10 minutes early.”
(Me) – “Ok. Lock your doors and leave. Give me his number and I will call him real quick.”
So, I call this guy…
(Me) “Hey my name is Steve and I am reaching out on the behalf of my partner, Jennifer. She has an appointment to meet with you but might not be able to make it.”
(Him) “F*** her! I need to rent a place now!! You better tell her to come here now, open this door. (Yelling)
(Me) “Sir. My agent will not be meeting with you. Please leave the property.”
(Him) “F*** You! I am going to report you to your local real estate board.”
Then he hung up on me. It didn’t stop there. He called me at least 6-8 more times over the next few days. I then blocked his number and never heard from him again.
Jen did exactly what she should have done. Gone on her hunch. Even if your hunch is wrong, I would rather have a bad review online, complain to FREC or local board, then one of our real estate agents getting hurt or killed.
She also scoped out the area when pulling into the parking lot far enough out of him to check out the scene. Smart thinking. Then she called me. This was OK. But if it escalated quickly, she should have called 911.
Real Estate Safety Needs To Be Priority #1
Real estate is a fantastic industry and I hope I didn’t scare you too much. However, my goal is to make you understand that we live in a world that things can change in an instant.
Be safe out there. To your real estate success!!