With spring soon upon us, the busiest season for purchasing a home is fast approaching. I'd like to address some concerns and ways to enhance the home buying experience through safety and security, not only for the real estate agent but also for the buyer.
If someone were to ask you for a list of dangerous professions, I'm sure that real estate agent would not be a top pick. But something I never realized until researching this story was that it's been known within the real estate industry for many years, that being a real estate agent can be a dangerous job.
In a business known for beautiful homes and attractive properties, well-dressed professionals driving nice cars and photo advertising that often inspires a second look, potential danger surely wouldn't seem to be lurking around corners...unless you are a real estate agent.
An article in Realtor Magazine, the official publication of the National Association of Realtors, quotes industry security professional Robert Siciliano, CEO of Boston-based RealtySecurity.com and author of The Safety Minute: Living on High Alert, "The root of the issue is that you have real estate agents with no formal security training who are then meeting with complete strangers at odd times of the day and in vacant homes." With that combination and a variety of other factors to consider, it is understandable why there are safety and security concerns among professional real estate agents.
When a potential home buyer engages with a real estate agent, there must exist a symbiotic relationship of mutual safety and security since both individuals are entering into unknown territory.
Here are some safety tips for the potential home buyer viewing a vacant home:
- Do not place the agent in an uncomfortable position in a room with you between the door and the agent. Allow the agent to guide you through the home, not the other way around.
- Do not take it upon yourself to close doors behind you. If the agent wants a door closed, they will do it themselves.
- Always make available, upon request of the agent, your valid photo ID (i.e. drivers license) and your vehicle license plate number. This information will often go on temporary file at the real estate office as a safety precaution.
- Do not engage in a phone conversation with an agent where you are mandating that they meet you either during hours of darkness or outside of the initially arranged time/place. Allow the agent to lead this part of the sales presentation.
Safety tips for the real estate agent:
- Always expect the unexpected and maintain your situational awareness.
- Always notify someone you trust of the location and time frame you are showing a home.
- Always keeps doors open (carry a couple of small doors stops with you) and never position yourself in a compromising location without access to a door.
- Utilize one of the free locator/safety apps on your cell phone. Multiple features are available such as receiving a fake call, GPS locator, audible emergency alarm and emergency notification to another person.
- Always carry pepper spray (where legal by state law) and a small personal alarm with audible and visual alarm signals.
- Always follow your gut instincts. A sale is not worth your life.
If anyone is questioning the reasoning behind such precautions, go onto any social media search engine and type in "realtor dangers."
The list of slain real estate agents in the United States is startling. No one wants to be the one to lose a co-worker, friend or family member who is just trying to make a living pursuing a profession they enjoy.
Having a mutual understanding of safety and security on both sides of the sale can go a long way in keeping our community safe.