CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - With Charlotte’s housing market booming, there is naturally plenty of work for people working in real estate. But what many people might not think about – how safe is that job?
Earlier this month, a realtor in Minnesota was kidnapped and murdered. According to WBTV’s news partners there, she was lured into a home she was showing by someone who claimed they wanted to view it. Then, she was forced into a van.
Now, WBTV Security Analyst Karl De La Guerra is joining local realtor Lindsay Redfern to walk through safety tips they have learned to keep safe on the job during showings.
They say it all starts when the realtor arrives. Most realtors will not park in the driveway. That way, if things get dicey inside, they can make a quick exit, and they are not blocked in.
Redfern says once inside, she always knows where the exits are, and lets clients walk ahead of her, so she can make a quick exit, or to prevent her from getting locked inside a room.
“And then, two, always hold onto the key from the lock box,” she says. “Just in case there’s any reason we need to quickly get out of the house.”
De La Guerra says there is new technology that can help her office make sure everything is going as expected, like IP cameras.
“Whoever’s on the receiving end of it, with a cell phone, can actually hook into this and control the pan, tilt of the camera,” he says.
Walking through a home Wednesday, Redfern says she has to think about her attire – no stilettos, for her.
“That you can make a quick exit, if any situation doesn’t feel right, and you can get out of there,” she says.
On the first floor, many realtors are now placing fire extinguishers. It makes sense for them to be there, but they can also be used for self-defense.
“Not only can you use it to strike an individual if an attack occurs, but you can also activate the fire extinguisher and the contents will disable the eyes, and also block the sense of smell,” De La Guerra says.
Multi-level homes can give more to think about, with safety.
“Before you change levels with clients, make sure you’ve built that comfort level, on the immediate floor where those immediate exits are,” Redfern says. “Because once you’ve gone upstairs, it makes it a little harder to get away.”
She also has to consider tight spaces, always letting the client into rooms first.
“As you come in, you can open the door and usher in, versus walking yourself into a tight space,” she says.
De La Guerra adds, the realtor should always be the first to leave the room.
“Continuing the conversation with them and just taking a step ahead,” he says. “And continuing on with them, so it doesn’t need to seem rude to do that.”
They both say it is all about making sure the realtor, throughout the showing, has control of the situation.