Real estate agents have moments of real vulnerability in their everyday lives. Open houses and showings place realtors in proximity to strangers; it can be just the agent and the other individual alone in a house with no one else around. A number of attacks upon agents in these settings have been reported in California and elsewhere in recent months. Below are three tips on how professionals like yourself can stay safe in these situations.
3 Safety Tips for Real Estate Agents
Do Not Do It Alone
If possible, do not do open houses alone. Situations like that mean that you can be alone in an empty house for hours at a time. There might be multiple individuals looking at the home at a given moment; at other times, there might be no one else at all. For showings, you might be by yourself, so text somebody before showing the house to ask him or her to check on you at a specific time.
Watch your surroundings. If you must go into a house for a showing, be conscious of your surroundings when you enter the home. Additionally, when you are approached by the individuals who come to see the property, trust your gut regarding their demeanor. If you feel unsafe, carry the conversation outside. Do not let yourself be directed toward bedrooms, closets, or basements.
Do Not Be a Victim
Attacks on real estate agents are infrequent, but they do occur occasionally. If you find yourself being attacked by someone to whom you are showing a home, do not be passive in your response. Consider carrying a self-defense weapon such as pepper spray, and be familiar with how to use it. Be prepared to fight back or quickly run away, depending on the situation. Always have your phone charged, and be ready to dial 911 (even in moments of panic).
Hopefully, you will never be in a dangerous situation during an open house showing. Digital platforms like Propy can minimize the time that you spend interacting with strangers in vulnerable settings, all the while adding considerable security to your communications. For the times that you do need to venture out into empty homes with unfamiliar people, follow some precautions, and you should stay relatively safe.