As I illustrated last week, the REALTOR® profession can be a pretty dangerous career path. The adage ‘an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure’ holds true in the REALTOR® safety spectrum as well. It is important to be aware of your surroundings and be cognizant of potential hazards. I’ll list some safety tips for my fellow REALTORS®, and I’ll try to keep them ‘generic’ enough so that it may include the general public as well. Try to schedule showings during daylight hours. As the winter season approaches and days get shorter, you may need to show properties in the dark. Be sure to use a flashlight (aside from your phone) and turn on the lights as you go through each room. Use a ‘buddy system’. Let others know where you will be and approximately how long you expect to be gone. Take it a step further and have your ‘buddy’ check in with you by phone/text. Identify an office distress code. Preferably one that would not alarm an intruder if he/she overheard you. Choose flight over fight. While many REALTORS® have either completed a basic self defense course or train regularly with self defense mechanics, always make sure you identify multiple ways out of a house/building. It is important to be able to identify and periodically ask yourself, “if I need to quickly leave this room/house, where is that exit”? Be consciously aware of your surroundings. Ask yourself, is there questionable activity in the area? Are you parked in a high lit, visible location? Can you be blocked in the driveway by another vehicle? That brings up another safety best practice. Always park in front of the property instead of in the driveway. It is too easy to be blocked in if you’re parked in the driveway. Don’t make the vacant house be the location of your first meeting. Schedule a buyer/seller consultation. Meet with your client in your office or in a public place for the first time. Avoid getting lost. If you are in an unfamiliar area, make mental notes of landmarks, points of interest and intersections. And always know the exact address of where you are going. If you must use a GPS, then pull over and stop in a safe place first. It’s not about you… it’s about your client. Stop sharing personal information about yourself… where you live, where your kids go to school, what activities/sports your kids participate in, when/where you’re going on vacation, etc… Buyers, your first item of business after celebrating the closing of your new home should be changing the locks. At closing, you will receive a ‘janitor’s keyring’ with several keys from the seller. Once you use the key to open the door, throw them away and replace all locks. You have no idea who has copies of those keys. Even new construction may use contractor keys. One key may open every unit in the development.
Until next week, love where you live. And if you don’t… contact your local REALTOR®.
Brian Haufe, 2022 MBOR President