REALTOR SAFETY MONTH
September is National REALTOR® Safety Month, and the folks at SABRE (y’know, the pepper spray people) have some helpful tips to keep you protected on the job. Their press release notes, “from driving in cars with strangers to waiting alone at open houses, realtors deal with a unique set of personal safety problems while on the job
“We’ve given their [real estate agents’] situation a lot of thought,” notes SABRE CEO David Nance. “In addition to having the right tools, we also try to give our clients the right knowledge to stay safe.” Brush up on SABRE’S suggestions to stay safe not just this month, but year round as well.
SET UP A CHECK-IN TIME
Let someone know where you’re going whenever you head to an open house or are meeting a client. Set up a check-in time with your coworkers, friends, or family so they know when to expect you back, or how long they should wait to hear from you again.
For example, when I have a friend going on a date with someone they’ve never met, we establish a check-in time. If my friend isn’t back home or I don’t hear from them during the discussed timeframe, I call or text to see if everything is okay.
ESTABLISH AN EXIT PLAN
When I call, if something is wrong or my friend just wants to leave, I pull from my list of excuses to get them out of the situation. When it comes to your safety, making excuses is okay. Even if there aren’t any red flags with a client, always plan for a way out ahead of time. If something doesn’t feel quite right, you’ll be prepared to leave instead of fumbling for a plan.
Brainstorm a list of possible, believable reasons to leave a situation ahead of time with your friends or coworkers.
My personal favorite: pretending to get locked out of the house or office. SABRE suggests getting even more spy-oriented and setting up a code word you can use in case you have to make the “save me” call in front of your problem client.
Other reasonable excuses: picking up a child from school or practice, urgent call from a coworker or family member, or some sort of office disaster. Get creative, and remember that you don’t necessarily have to provide details. Just be confident about your fake reason.
On airplanes, my dad taught me to count how many rows of seats to the exits. That way I can find my way in the dark and not panic in case of an emergency. Likewise, you should practice routes you’ll be driving with clients so you can be confident about directions, and can’t be taken advantage of by getting misrouted to an unsafe location.
Never let the client be the driver when carpooling to a location. Also make sure you have cell coverage during your trial drives. Walk around the house you’ll be showing and ensure you’ve got some bars in every part of the property.
SABRE also recommends utilizing their line of safety products, which range from keychain-sized pepper spray to personal alarms with motion detectors. Fun fact: pepper spray is legal in all 50 states.
MAINTAIN YOUR PRIVACY
Don’t mix personal and private. Only use your office address and work number on your business cards and paperwork. Don’t provide your personal home or cell phone number to clients, and if you use social media, create a separate business account.
SABRE stresses “the smartest thing to do is take your personal safety into your own hands.” Don’t get caught off guard. Regularly review how you’re maintaining your personal safety, and make plans with your coworkers to plan together. Check out their full line of tips and products at SABRE’S site and stay safe.