“Follow your intuition. Your gut never lies or logically dismisses a feeling. Whatever your intimal feeling is, is the one you should go with. Do not dismiss those feelings,” said Robert Tomlinson, vice president of business for SecuraTrac.
An agent’s safety on the job should be a number one priority. Unfortunately, dangerous situations can arise, and agents need to know how to protect themselves in these increasingly common events.
Robert Tomlinson is the vice president of business for SecuraTrac, a personal security device company. The organization specializes in creating security devices for “lone workers” like real estate agents.
Threats to agent safety are not isolated to any particular areas or income brackets. Agents representing high-end, luxury real estate are just as at risk for theft, assault and harm as agents representing lower-income housing.
Tomlinson recommends the following five best practices for agent safety on the job. Though, he would rank situational awareness as the most important factor in staying safe. As the homebuying and selling season picks up pace, remember these practices for a safe and successful home showing.
“One’s situational awareness is the key to keeping safe,” said Tomlinson. Tomlinson recommends pre-screening your clients and showings as much as possible to be prepared for whoever you encounter.
He also says to find all the exits in a home and check out the property thoroughly before anyone else arrives.
Personal security devices
“Wearing a personal, monitored panic button that does not require your phone nearby to notify authorities is the best personal defense you can have. Two-way voice or covert listen-in to a private central station operator will PSAP dispatch a Rapid SOS to the responsible agency at a moment’s notice. All agencies respond to these types of notifications with a code 3 — lights and sirens — response,” said Tomlinson.
Know your surroundings
“The area’s with the lower socio-economic conditions, more secluded areas and high-end areas are all subject to the same adverse conditions,” said Tomlinson, so it is important to research the listing’s neighborhood no matter what.
“Introduce yourself to the next closest occupied home. If it’s a gated community, introduce yourself to the security forces there and if not, then notify a neighborhood watch group of your presence,” Tomlinson recommends.
Work as a team
“Doubling the agent per showing does provide an extra set of eyes and ears,” said Tomlinson.
Tomlinson also noted that teamwork isn’t always reliable. Agents are often split up when showing the same property and can become separated. If you do chose to work in teams for additional safety, come up with a plan between you and your partner for what to do in a dangerous situation and how to get the other person’s attention.
“Real Estate agents, particularly women, during open houses have been assaulted and robbed, so being able to protect yourself is key,” said Tomlinson.
Fighting should always be a last resort in a dangerous situation. But, foundational knowledge in self-defense is a good backup when all other safety precautions have been followed.
“Self-defense requires the practicing agent to have great situational awareness,” said Tomlinson.