There are many industries that have some risk factors for those that work within them. For the most part, these are minimal and with the implementation of safety rules, these risks are greatly reduced. The real estate industry normally follows some safety tips to help keep them safe in their workforce.
Real Estate agents are comprised of both genders and while there are some safety concerns for both women tend to be more risk.
- Potential Risks
- Personal harm
- Loss of life
- Theft of personal items
While in Canada these risks can be considered rare they can happen and realtors must implement some safety guidelines to protect themselves as nothing should ever be taken for granted.
Real Estate agents find themselves in a variety of different situations when performing their tasks such as:
- Showing a home that is still occupied
- Showing an empty home
- Conducting open houses
- Going to a client’s home to complete a closing
- Meeting clients at the office on weekends
- Showing raw property
Any of these circumstances can create some safety risks.
Keep Personal Information Private
All agents rely on a cell phone. This should be kept for business purposes and should be the only number that is given out to clients. When providing an address it should be the office address that is used. The personal phone number and address should never be given out.
Get To Know The Clients
Time is of the essence for most real estate agents. They are often on the go attending many different showings and doing other work tasks throughout the day. They may be tempted to meet a new client at a location rather than first meeting them at the office. They should make it a rule to always meet a new client in their office setting first. This gives them a chance to size up the client. At the same time, they should ask for photo identification. A photocopy should be made of this and a new client file started for the client where this can be kept.
When an agent is going to meet a client at a location it is imperative that they let someone in the office know the details. They should tell a co-worker the address where they are going, the specific time of the meeting, and the full name of the client who they are going to meet. If it’s not possible to tell someone in the office perhaps because it’s the weekend, then they should advise a family member of this.
Carrying A Cell Phone
Some agents may be in the habit of leaving their cell phones in their vehicles when showing a house. This is so they won’t be disturbed during the house showing. This is a mistake as the phone can be their lifeline. They should carry it with them the entire time they are with the clients. The emergency number “911” should be set on speed dial. So all it takes is a push of a button if there is an emergency.
A Distress Signal
Sometimes a realtor begins to feel uneasy after they have been with a client for a short period of time. They should use a distress code that they can use to convey this to someone. For example, calling someone and telling them you need information from the “yellow file”. This is the distress code that you may be in trouble. This should be given to a contact person at the office, family members, and co-workers. Those who receive this distress code should then proceed to the location so they can access the situation.
Use Separate Vehicles
There may be times where it is suggested that everyone travel to a location in the real estate agent’s vehicle. This should be avoided. The realtor should always use their own vehicle and let the clients use theirs.
Open House Safety
Open houses can create a higher safety risk. This is because the house is normally empty and the agent is at the premises for several hours. There are some additional safety precautions that can be taken.
Do An Inspection
The first thing the agent should do is, to become familiar with the home. They should check each of the rooms and mentally observe an escape route should it become necessary.
Check the Exterior
Also, the outside area should be checked like the backyard. To make sure the realtor knows where the exit from the yard is.
Leave A Trail
It is common for agents to leave their business cards at the location. An increased safety factor is to take one of the cards and write the date and time of arrival on the back of the card. It can also be noted if there were clients waiting when the realtor arrived. This card should then be placed in a cupboard that is most likely to be used.
Keeping A Distance
When walking clients through an open house let the client take the lead. The realtor should not walk ahead of them. It is easy to verbally advise the client which way to go.
Agents should make it a rule that they will be checking in every hour. This should be pre-arranged. Either the agent will be calling into the office to a designated person or leaving a message of the time of the call in on an answering machine. Or the alternative is to make these calls to a family member. If the call is not made then the Police should be notified right away.
Letting The Neighbors Know
It is also a good idea to let the neighbours on both sides of the house being shown that you are there to have an open house and that you will let them know when you are leaving.
A Second Person
The ideal safety protocol for open houses is to have a second person attend with the agent. This doesn’t have to be another agent but could be a family member or friend.
These safety tips may sound extreme and as stated Canadian realtors only face safety risks on rare occasions, but one incident is too many, and it’s better to be safe than sorry.