Real estate professionals often work alone and frequently deal with unfamiliar places and people. Use these tips to stay safe on the job.

We often hear about the hot real estate market and the agents who make big sales, but there’s a lot of work realtors put in behind the scenes. This includes taking many on-job risks to help clients and make sure their best interests are represented. If you’re a realtor and have found yourself in an uncomfortable situation, check out these additional precautions you can take to keep yourself safe.

The Importance of Realtor Safety

The risks real estate agents take are often overlooked. There’s a lot more to the job than negotiations and paperwork. The day-to-day includes driving all over town in heavy traffic, visiting remote areas with no cell phone coverage and meeting with complete strangers in unfamiliar locations. 

These are all reasons the job requires more caution than most might think. In fact, the majority of crimes committed against real estate professionals are premeditated as opposed to random. While this might make the job sound scarier than expected, with some extra situational awareness and simple precautions, there are many easy ways to stay safe.

Realtor Safety Statistics

Each year the National Association of Realtors produces a Member Safety Report to gauge how real estate professionals are feeling about their safety in the field. Here are some of the key findings from the most recent report:

  • 28% of realtors have experienced a situation that made them fear for their personal safety but thankfully only 4% have been victims of crime.
  • The situations in which realtors felt most concerned about their personal safety include:
    • Open houses (31%)
    • Showings (31%)
    • Meeting a new client for the first time at a secluded location (27%)
    • Receiving a threatening or inappropriate communication (27%)
  • 51% of realtors have hosted an open house alone. Among that group, 23% have felt unsafe.
  • 38% of realtors have participated in a self-defense class.
  • 58% of realtors use a realtor safety app to track their location and alert colleagues in case of an emergency.
  • 72% of realtors report having personal safety protocols they follow.

10 Tips for Realtor Safety

Clearly, safety is something at top of mind for many real estate professionals. Awareness is a great first step toward staying safe on the job. Whether you’re already in the industry or simply have a loved one who works as an agent, these simple tips will help enhance safety.

1. Collect Client Information

Before you ever meet with a client, collect some basic information about them. This can be done using a prospect identification form that includes details like name, address, phone number, employer information, license plate number, etc. If possible, also obtain a copy of their driver’s license to confirm their identity details. Establishing this paper trail will discourage potential criminals and provide helpful details for the authorities should anything happen.

2. Establish an Itinerary

In addition to prospect information paperwork, always maintain and share an itinerary that details where you’re going, who you’ll be with and how long you expect to be there. If you have location sharing available on your phone or smart watch, keep that active during working hours as well. In the unlikely event you don’t return when expected, your steps can easily be retraced.

3. Schedule a Safe Meeting

When meeting a client for the first time, the best practice is to meet them at your office where other agents are present. If you don’t work in an office, always meet at a public location like a coffee shop or restaurant. This allows you to assess the situation for yourself and safely decide if the client is someone you want to work with. Never take a first meeting at a client’s home or your own home. 

4. Protect Your Information

While many of these tips relate to physical safety, identity-related crimes are increasingly common. Always be mindful of the personal details you’re sharing with your clients. In most cases you get to work with great people, but you never know what someone could be collecting for potential identity theft.

5. Stay Subtle

As a realtor you want to make a strong first impression and project success. However, expensive jewelry, watches and other accessories can make you a target. There’s nothing wrong with dressing well, just leave anything that might attract unwanted attention at home.

6. Work During Daylight

One of the perks of being a real estate professional is a flexible schedule. Sometimes working long hours to get the job done is necessary, but it’s best to keep client meetings and showings during daylight hours. If a nighttime showing is required, make sure you’re familiar with the location and keep it well lit.

7. Limit Unnecessary Risk

Many realtors will go above and beyond for their client. In some cases, the risk just isn’t worth it. This includes situations like climbing ladders into the attic or crawling into the crawl space. As you tour a home, try to let the client lead the way. This keeps a potential criminal from taking advantage while your back is turned.

8. Driving and Parking Awareness

Being a real estate professional tends to require a lot of time behind the wheel. While you probably already know to follow basic auto safety like buckling your seatbelt, you should also have heightened awareness when it comes to driving and parking. Unless you know and trust the client, drive your own car to secondary locations. Additionally, aim to park on the street instead of driveways whenever possible. This keeps you from getting parked in and allows you to leave quickly if you feel uncomfortable.

9. Open House Support

An open house is a great tool to generate interest and connect with new clients. At the same time, it attracts a high volume of strangers. Whenever possible, work with a trusted partner and don’t host these events alone. With a simple support network, you can easily increase you and your colleagues’ safety in a situation where 31% of real estate agents report feeling uncomfortable.

10. Trust Your Instincts

When closing the sale is your livelihood, it’s tempting to talk yourself into something you’re not totally comfortable with. If a situation doesn’t feel right, trust your instincts and walk away. In the long run, living by the “better safe than sorry” motto can keep you from getting mixed up in potentially dangerous scenarios.

Connect With AmeriSpec

Having a trusted partner that can serve as an extension of your team goes a long way in staying safe on the job. At AmeriSpec, we have a well-established history of supporting real estate professionals in everything from standard home buyer inspections to pre-listing inspections. If you’d like to learn more about how our trained and certified team can help make your job as a realtor easier, connect with us today!