October 15th, 2014
For the third installment of the real estate agent safety series, today’s focus is on showing properties alone. This is standard practice for Realtors, but things can go very, very wrong. It is important to remember that safety precautions could one day save your life.
THE RISK: You’re touring vacant properties with strangers.
• Use the buddy system.
There’s always strength in numbers. Whether you bring a coworker, spouse, or even your German shepherd, avoid going alone.
• Don’t go into confined places.
Avoid basements and attics — it’s too easy to become trapped. Instead, know the selling points of these rooms and remain in the foyer on the first floor with the front door open as the buyer tours these areas, an agent suggests. If you must join them in each room, always stay by the door, leaving doors open so you can flee more easily if necessary, the Washington Real Estate Safety Council suggests.
• Walk behind.
Let potential buyers take the lead when exploring a home, with you always following behind.
• Let others know where you are.
Tell them where you are going, when you will be back, and who you’re with. Better yet: Share this information while the client is with you so they know someone else knows where you are.
• Have an excuse.
If you feel uncomfortable, tell the person your “cell phone or beeper went off and I have to call the office” or “another agent with buyers is on his way,” suggests the Washington Real Estate Safety Council in their tip sheets. Read agents’ personal stories of getting out of a situation like this.