September is Real Estate Agent Safety Month
As with any occupation, there are occasional hazards. For real estate professionals, some of the safety concerns are unique to our industry.
Recently, the importance of safety hit home for one Keller Williams associate who received a threatening phone call. The caller threatened the agent with violence at an open house. The agent and her team took the call seriously and cancelled all area open houses for the day. The police were immediately notified and thankfully no one was harmed. This incident is one of several that have rattled an entire industry.
You are the key to your own safety. Fortunately, now there are more safety training and resources available than ever.
In response to recent increased safety concerns, National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) has taken several initiatives to promote safety education.
On September 9, 2015 NAR offered four webinars presented by several safety experts with plans to announce new safety initiatives. Topics ranged from safety tips for rural land professionals to technology safety and everything in between. For more information on the panels and speakers, visit NAR.
NAR also plans to release The Little Red Book: Rules to Live by for REALTORS® will expand on ways agents can update their own safety protocols.
Expansion of safety initiatives expands beyond NAR. Local associations across the country are implementing new safety protocols. Check with your local association for updates on safety initiatives and training. For example, The Georgia Real Estate Commission created a free agent safety manual.
Keeping Your Team Safe
Safety should be a focus all year long, not just in September. Consider sharing a safety tip at each monthly team meeting to remind everyone that safety comes first. You can also schedule periodic safety meetings using webinars and training tools from NAR.
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- Be aware of surroundings. Proactively learn as much as possible on the people and possible animals associated with each property showing. Continually conduct risk assessments.
- Put phone down when driving. Agents spend a lot of time communicating. However, talking and texting on the phone while driving is dangerous.
- Have a buddy. When you host open houses or meet clients for showings, have an assistant or another person with you, if possible.
- Always let someone know where you are. For showings, tell someone the client's name and contact information, showing address and estimated time on site. Have a response plan that escalates in force should you not return within a given amount of time.
- Have clients fill out information forms. NAR has free downloadable resources, including a prospect information form, which you can customize and use. The form collects important identifying information that should be kept on file at your office.