Common Sense SafetyOct 10, 2014
I asked my students, “She went out to show a vacant house to an unknown person at dusk – What was she thinking?”
The answer I received was, “She was thinking what we have been trained to think – When the phone rings with an inquiry, get in the car and go. I need to make a living. I want to feed my family and fund my retirement and put my kids through school.”
And she did a lot of the right things. She told her husband where she was going. She kept her phone on.
And last week we all learned again – heartbreakingly – tragically – that’s not enough - that isn’t the world we can live in anymore. It’s time to rethink safety and common sense, and take advanced precautions.
These recommendations may not prevent bad people from doing what bad people are going to do, but they will help keep you safer. They come from my favorite people in the world – the smartest and most caring real estate people I know – our students in Floyd’s R Squared Coaching program. With special thanks to Bob Persecepe, Felice Fergel, Maria Cowart and Laura Baliestiero.
1. Do NOT schedule showing appointments where you meet prospects for the first time at the house. ALWAYS have the prospect meet you at the office for the initial contact.
2. Use smartphone security apps. Bsafe. Agentarmor. Reactmobile. Lifeline. Fakecall. Glympse. Watchoverme. Circleof6. Load your emergency contacts into the apps. Or have someone track you with the GPS function.
3. When you bring first time prospects into the office, introduce them to the broker-in-charge, the staff and the other agents in the office.
4. Photocopy your prospect’s picture ID at the first meeting. If they will not provide it, even when you explain the safety reason behind your request, do not work with them.
5. Whenever you are out of the office on a showing, an open house, a listing appointment, a walk-through, or an offer presentation, etc. – let someone know where you are going and how long you plan to be out.
6. Whenever possible, have buyer prospects follow you in their car.
7. If you can, take a photo of their license plate, and text it to your broker, spouse or office staff. And if you can, touch their car so that you leave your fingerprints.
8. Get buyers signed to an exclusive agency agreement before you show houses. It signals that you are creating a safety trail.
9. Use the buddy/partner system, whenever possible. Have your lender join you at an Open House. Take a new agent with you on listing appointments to show them the ropes.
10. The most problematic appointment is one female agent with one male prospect. Know where the exits are, especially the back door. Keep furniture between you and the prospect. Stay out of the basement.
11. Always Google prospective Sellers you haven’t met, regardless of how they found you or you found them.
12. Check out smart jewelry like cuff.
13. Finally, trust your instinct. If something doesn’t feel right, don’t go. If you don’t feel safe, get out.
As my friend Laura Baliestiero said, “We are trained to run when someone calls.” These precautions may seem like they go against the grain, or like you’re being overly paranoid. We all would much rather have you lose one potential sale than something far more precious and irreplaceable.
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