Clients’ safety shares Realtor Safety Month focus
Jan Stapleton - 2023 NETAR President
Real estate can be a rewarding and enjoyable career. But it’s also a high-risk profession. Many real estate professionals find themselves in situations that put them in harm’s way. Safety is an ever-present concern when traveling alone to vacant properties with strangers, visiting unsafe neighborhoods, or showing a property during evening hours.
That’s why the National Association of Realtors® (NAR) has dedicated September as Realtors® Safety Month for the past 20 years. The goal is to raise safety awareness.
Most Realtors® don’t encounter dangerous situations while out in the field. Still, 14 percent of agents surveyed in a NAR Member Safety Report said they experienced a situation that made them fear for their personal safety or the security of their personal information
But in an industry that involves walking into sometimes vacant properties alone and working in close contact with a number of clients, many of whom are unknown to the professional, safety is an important topic. No matter how hot the market is or in what city or region a real estate professional is located, knowledge and awareness go a long way.
While agent safety is foremost in planning, client safety gets equal consideration since they also face some dangers by allowing strangers into their homes or visiting other people’s properties.
Here are some of NAR’s suggestions to share with clients as the nation continues to battle the pandemic.
“Strangers will be walking through your home during showings or open houses. Tell them to hide valuables in a safe place. For security’s sake, remember to remove keys, credit cards, jewelry, crystal, furs, and other valuables from the home or lock them away during showings. Also, remove prescription drugs. Some seemingly honest people wouldn’t mind getting their hands on a bottle of Viagra, uppers, or downers.
“Don’t leave personal information like mail or bills out in the open where anyone can see it. Be sure to lock down your computer and lock up your laptop and any other expensive, easy-to-pocket electronics, like iPods, before your showing.
“Tell your clients not to show their home by themselves. Alert them that not all agents, buyers, and sellers are who they say they are. Predators come in all shapes and sizes. We tell our children not to talk to strangers. Tell your sellers not to talk to other agents or buyers, and to refer all inquiries to you.
“Instruct your clients that they are responsible for their pets. If possible, animals should be removed during showings. Make clients aware that buyers and agents are sometimes attacked, and the owner will be held liable.
“At an open house, be alert to the pattern of visitors’ arrivals, especially near the end of showing hours. In some areas, a group of thieves will show up together near the end of the open house and, while a string of “potential buyers” distract the agent, the rest of the group walks through the house, stealing any valuables they come across.
“Finally, when you leave a client’s property, whether after an open house or a standard showing, make sure that all doors and windows are locked. Thieves commonly use open houses to scout for valuables and points of entry, then return after the agent leaves.
“Let your clients know that you will take all of the above safety precautions, but that when they return home, they should immediately verify that all doors are locked, and all valuables accounted for.”
NETAR is the voice for real estate in Northeast Tennessee. It is the largest trade association in the Northeast Tennessee, Southwest Virginia region, representing over 1,600+ members and 100+ business partners involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries. Weekly market reports and information for both consumers and members are available on the NETAR website at https://netar.us