Unfortunately, we’re all aware of the tragic death of Realtor Beverly Carter, who was murdered while showing a property this past fall. There are inherent risks involved in real estate as you are often times alone when conducting business. Please read the following safety tips, in honor of Beverly Carter, to help keep yourself safe, while looking out for each other, and help keep crime away from our community.
Since you spend the majority of time in your car, be sure it is in good working order. Consider stocking your car with emergency items (tools, flares, first aid kit, food, and blankets). When out in the field, be sure to always park in well-lit areas. Upon parking, survey your surroundings to ensure you don’t find yourself in a dead-end or blocked in–it is always good practice to park in the street. Also, whenever away from your home/office, make sure your cell phone is fully charged.
Cell Phone Help
Ensure that emergency contacts are programmed in your phone. “Favorite” these contacts for quick access, including 911, emergency road service, your office, friends, and family members. If you do end up in an emergency situation and call 911, be sure to stay on the line with them until you are safe.
Trust your gut and intuition in uncomfortable circumstances. If you feel uneasy or sense any unusual behavior (unexplained hesitation, apprehension, illogical behavior) remove yourself from the situation; your life is much more important than a home sale.
Realtor Joan Malone was attacked in March of 1997, and explains this sense in Realty Times, stating: “The nature of our business puts us in a very vulnerable situation…the one thing I could say to people is if you have a bad feeling, don’t second guess what it’s telling you. Listen to your gut feeling and protect yourself.”
Dress For Safety
While out on business, don’t wear expensive clothing or jewelry. Of course dressing professionally is key but there’s a difference between dressing nicely and targeting yourself for attempted robbery. Also, only carry the cash or credit cards you need to remove any further targeting.
Have A Distress Code
Consider creating a distress code or phrase that can alert a friend, family member, or colleague if you are in an uncomfortable situation. If you’re in the presence of someone you have an uneasy feeling about, use this “code” to alert them about meeting you in a public place. An example may be, “I’m at the Jones house and I need the red file right away” where “red file” may signal your contact that something is wrong.
Your marketing material should be polished and professional but limit the amount of personal information you share. Always use business numbers and addresses when sharing contact information. We all want to relate to our clients but there is a fine line between a professional and personal relationship.
Create a Buddy System
Consider striking a deal with a colleague to accompany them (when free) during Open Houses or any situation where you may be alone and uncomfortable with other people. Or at the very least, alert them of the situation so they can be a go-to contact in case an emergency does arise.
*This article was adapted from a StagedHomes.com Realtor and Stager Safety list.