jeffmay | 28 January, 2015 21:15
If you work in real estate, you undoubtedly do the following tasks all of the time, but did you know that you could be putting yourself in danger? Here's how you can stay on guard and protect yourself.
As a real estate professional, you put yourself at risk every day — you just might not realize it.
Meeting new clients, showing properties, holding open houses, letting strangers get into your car, and even your marketing may be jeopardizing your personal safety.
Everyday tasks seem harmless, but as some real estate professionals have learned the hard way, these situations can expose you to danger.
Real estate agents are considered by security experts as a high-risk profession, says Jeff L. May President of ApexSCF in Reno Nevada.
“The root of the issue is that you have real estate agents with no formal personal protection training who are then meeting with complete strangers at odd times of the day and in vacant homes,” May affirms. “Real estate professionals put themselves at risk at so many points. The industry opens itself up to predators.”
Below are tasks common to practically every real estate professional. Learn the risks associated with each and what precautions you can take to stay safe.
Meeting with a new client for the first time:
The Risk: Meeting with people you don't know can put your safety at risk. You don’t know whether this person could potentially be a criminal, stalker, thief, or worse.
5 Safety Tips:
1. Meet at the office first. Get them on your territory before you visit any property with them so you can learn more about them and collect personal information about them for your files.
2. Ask for identification. The public is used to having their identification checked, so don’t be reluctant to ask because you’re scared you’ll offend someone. Tell clients it’s company policy that driver’s licenses will be photocopied. “This will significantly reduce your risk because the bad guys don’t want to give you their I.D. or get their picture taken,” May affirms.
3. Have all clients fill out a customer identification form. You can find an example of this at REALTOR.org. Click on “Prospect Identification Form” under the Office Safety Forms heading. The form asks for car make and license number, contact information, and employer information, and also requests a photocopy of the driver’s license.
4. Introduce them to a coworker. When you meet them at the office, introduce them to at least one other person in your office. Criminals won’t like that others have seen them for identification purposes.
5. Always have a coworker go with you. Let the client know you will be having a coworker or a friend go with you when showing a property. This too is one more level of protection for you.