Agent Funiversity

Realtor Safety Checklist

Creating safety habits is crucial in the line of Real Estate. After all, you meet strangers every day and then you show them houses… alone. Your job can be dangerous, so recognize your risks and take extra precaution to reduce your chances of becoming a victim. Be alert, aware, and always prepared. It is better to be prepared for the worst-case scenario than to get into a scary situation and have no idea how to handle it.

Realtor Safety Checklist

When meeting new clients:

  • Screen new clients over the phone first. Before agreeing to meet a client for the first time, find out as much as you can about where they work, where they live, etc. Ask for valid contact information, and then verify the information if you can.
  • Get them in touch with a lender and have the lender pre-qualify them. This will save you a lot of time and will also give you the opportunity to feel secure in knowing who the person is.
  • Always have your first meeting with a new potential client in your office or in a public place. If they refuse to meet you anywhere other than a property for your first meeting, always think of safety first and follow your gut. Keep trying to get that meeting somewhere safe and public. Try to convince them to meet you at a coffee shop nearby the listing so that you can go over the Buyer Broker Agreement prior to going to the house. Also have them complete an information sheet or better yet, invite them to your Nestiny experience to capture more information upfront about their home wishlist.
  • Never meet a new client for the first time at a property, especially if it is vacant. And have an excuse prepared in case you feel unsafe and need to leave.

Real Estate Agent Safety Checklist

When showing houses:

Before you meet a client at a property, let someone you trust know where you will be, who you are going with and when you expect to be finished. If possible, leave a showing itinerary at your office for your broker. Text your loved one or friend when you arrive and when you leave. Here are some tips for different scenarios when showing houses to a client:

  • Planned check-in: If you feel uneasy at all upon meeting a new client, make it clear to your potential client that you're expected to communicate with your friend or loved one by a certain time or that they are meeting you there at a preset time.
  • Car Info: Make sure your office knows your vehicle type and color, license plate number, etc. in case they don’t hear from you and need to file a report.
  • Drive by: If you have time, drive by the property early to get a feel for the area.
  • Separate cars: Try to drive separate, but if it makes sense to ride together, always take your own car.
  • Driver's license: If you are driving, require them to leave their driver’s license at the office until you return. If you are going from the office to the first showing, make notes on the type of vehicle, color and license plate number, and call your office with this information.
  • Property prep: If you are driving separately and meeting them at the property, arrive early and turn on lights, open windows, unlock doors, get the key out of the lock box and wait in your car until they arrive with your doors locked. Let someone know you are there and who you are meeting and keep watch for their arrival.
  • Car surroundings: Park in a well-lit, visible location and don’t block your car in case you need a quick exit.
  • Quick scan: Once they arrive, look for anything suspicious prior to exiting your vehicle. Can he/she conceal a weapon in his/her clothes? Be cautious and have your phone. You can even tell them: “My office is strict on safety. I’m going to send them a photo of your license plate before heading in."
  • Photo ID: Ask for a photo ID to make sure they are who they say they are. Feel free to take a photo of it and send it in as well.
  • Home tour: Allow them to walk in the house first and stay closer to the door than them whenever possible. When going through the home, let the buyer go into rooms first as you follow. Don’t get into a situation where your exit is blocked.
  • Basements: Avoid following them into the basement. They can explore that area on their own.
  • Client Awareness: Always know where the client is and what they are doing.
  • Exit strategy: Have an exit strategy in mind before you get to a property.
  • Elevators: If showing condos and you are alone in an elevator, stand nearest the buttons so you can hit the alarm easily if needed, and press all the floor buttons so the door continuously opens.
  • After dark: Don’t show a home in the dark by yourself. And if you have to show a home after dark, make sure the property has power. Bring a light source with you, just in case. The more light the better, especially when walking around outside.

Realtor Safety at House Showing

When holding Open Houses:

  • Try not to be in the house alone if you can help it. Bring your spouse, a friend, or even another Agent.
  • Introduce yourself to the neighbors and let them know you are holding an Open House. This will give you an extra set of eyes.
  • When you first arrive, look around for the exit doors and escape routes. Open a few windows if you can so if you do need to call for help, someone might hear you. Make sure deadbolt locks are unlocked for a faster escape if necessary. Walk around the outside of the property so you know if you end up needing to escape out the back door, you will be able to easily exit through the fence or landscaping.
  • Check the whole house over. Put away sharp knives and anything that could be used as a weapon. Put away any valuables. Make sure the homeowner didn’t leave anything valuable out in the open. If you see anything out, call the Listing Agent to let them know you will be putting it somewhere out of sight until the open house is over. If you are the Listing Agent, let the homeowner know. But prior to the scheduled Open House, remind the sellers that strangers will be walking through their home (this goes for showings, too), so ask them to lock up their valuables.
  • As buyers start entering the home, make sure they sign in or use Nestiny's Open House Kiosk. Once they start viewing the home, jot down a description of their vehicle if you saw it. You can never be too safe.
  • Be mindful of what the potential buyers are doing at all times while going through the home.
  • Be alert to visitors coming and going, especially towards the end of the scheduled showtime. Look for groups who may distract the Agent while robbing the owner. It happens!
  • Don’t assume that everyone has left the property when your Open House is over. Recheck the home and property before locking the doors and heading out.

Realtor Safety at Open House

General tips:

  • If you are alone and working in your office, play some music and turn on as many lights as you can. That way, if anyone is thinking about breaking in, they know someone is there. Keep doors and windows secure. If your office has a security system, make sure your space is organized so that the camera can view everything. Also, don’t play music too loud so the security camera can pick up sound.
  • Always keep your personal information private. Don’t respond to emails asking for personal information, and don’t talk to your clients about information such as where you live, upcoming vacation plans, etc. Always be cautious and guard your private information.
  • Make sure someone always knows where you are.
  • Anytime you leave your car, lock it.
  • Always have your cell phone handy and make sure it is charged.
  • Dress for safety. Don’t wear clothes that are constricting so you can move freely and run if necessary. Don’t wear revealing clothes. Don’t wear expensive jewelry that may trigger a robbery. Consider your appearance when presenting yourself on social media and on marketing as well.
  • Don’t wear your purse when out with clients. Keep it out of sight and locked in the trunk of your car.
  • Know when to call the police. If you feel scared or suspicious, use your cell phone and call for help. Better to be safe than sorry!
  • Have a safety phrase set up and make sure your safety contact knows the phrase. For instance: “Can you stop and get baby food on the way home?” This only works if you don’t have a baby so they know you don’t really want them to go get baby food. It’s a harmless phrase that alerts someone that you are actually in harm’s way.
  • Always be aware of your surroundings. Look for abnormal behavior, inconsistent answers, people you don’t know, etc.
  • Always be prepared to protect yourself. Have pepper spray, stun guns or other weapons handy at all times.
  • Take a self-defense class. Just in case.
  • Utilize technology to help stay safe. For instance, there are safety apps and devices that could save your life such as emergency all or panic buttons, and other wearable tech safety devices. You can also do an Internet search prior to meeting someone to make sure they are safe.

No home sale is worth your life. Recognize risks and trust your instincts. Be alert at all times. Be aware, be proactive and prepared. This will increase your chances of staying safe. After all, you are ultimately in charge of your own safety.

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