Following the tragic 2014 murder of real estate professional Beverly Carter, it became apparent that additional safety support and resources were needed industry-wide. Beverly Carter was a real estate broker who was kidnapped and murdered after being perceived to be a wealthy broker who worked alone.
According to the National Association of Realtors, 41% of Realtors reported feeling unsafe or fearful during a showing in 2021. While you may not consider a professional career in real estate to be a dangerous occupation, it can quickly become one if safety is not prioritized.
Here are top tips for real estate agents in honor of National Realtor Safety Month.
Take a self-defense class: What should you do if you find yourself in an escalated, unsafe situation? Find a self-defense class near you. Jenn Cassetta is a self-defense instructor who teaches the basics of self-defense with a handful of actionable tactics you can use if a situation arises.
Consultation meetings: Research new customers on social media and schedule a consultation meeting in a public location. Make a copy of their driver’s license and take down information about the person before showing a property. This will allow you to familiarize yourself with them and check their legitimacy.
Don’t lead, follow: When showing your client a new property, always allow your client to walk in front of you and use gestures to guide them.
Equip yourself with safety tools: Tactical accessories, such as pepper spray and safety phone apps allow you to discreetly notify your family and emergency dispatchers to send help.
Delay social media posting: Social media has become an excellent tool for agents to build their book of business. Be conscious of the personal information you share and delay posting until after you have left the location.
Daily itinerary: Keep a shared calendar with a trusted family member or friend, listing the address, estimated duration, and client for each meeting. Not only will this be an excellent resource for your records, but it will also provide your loved ones with the information to help in a dangerous situation.
Arrive early: Arrive at your scheduled showing before your customer to get acquainted with the property layout, turn on lights, and open the blinds. In a matter of minutes, you can optimize the environment for your safety.
Parking: Never park in the driveway or in a spot that would allow another car to block you in.
Trust your instincts: Most importantly, always trust your instincts. If something doesn’t feel right to you, there is a reason. Discretely notify the authorities and/or your family before withdrawing from the situation.
Safety will always be an important priority in an industry built upon showing properties, working with numerous clients, traveling across town, and more. Preparation and awareness are key to a safe career in real estate.
Rajia Abdelaziz is the CEO of invisaWear, a company that offers a line of safety accessories for real estate agents.