Labor Day, a new school year, the start of football season, and the first day of Fall (9/22) are all notable dates in September. Something you likely do not know is that September is REALTOR® safety month. The REALTOR® profession probably doesn’t strike you as what would be considered a ‘dangerous’ job. We don’t work miles underground. We don’t operate heavy machinery. With the exception of driving to selected properties, we regularly don’t brave the elements of working in inclement weather. One of the main dangers we are subject to is the vulnerability we have to mankind. Our job responsibilities are essentially everything your mother warned you about. We talk to strangers. We actually actively seek strangers with whom to talk. We share our personal contact information in all forms of mediums, vehicles, social media, billboards, etc. We WANT you to know how to reach us. We may literally pick up complete strangers and invite them to ride in our vehicles for a private tour of … vacant houses. In winter months with shorter daylight hours, these tours of vacant houses may occur after dark. If the house is a foreclosure or distressed property, there may be no power at the house. As I write this, I realize I’m framing up the basis of a great thriller book/movie. I like to think that the general public doesn’t perceive this scenario as an invitation for an altercation or danger. Unfortunately in today’s age, we cannot afford to be that naive. In Texas , a REALTOR®’s body was found in a model home by a couple coming to view it. She’d been beaten, stabbed, bitten, and robbed of her jewelry. In Illinois, another REALTOR® at some point during a showing with a prospective buyer who became enraged at discussion regarding his financial situation. The buyer strangled the REALTOR® with a scarf before bludgeoning her with a fireplace poker. Another REALTOR® was found stabbed in a bedroom of a two-story British Columbia home. She’d been attacked approximately 40 times, and none of her belongings were stolen. The narrative for almost every one of these disasters is ‘I didn’t think that could happen here’ and/ or ‘I didn’t think it could happen to me’. Awareness and recognition that it could happen here and it could happen to me is half the battle. Ultimately it is imperative to ask what safeguards do we have in place as real estate professionals? What are we doing consistently to ensure we are not the victim of these tragedies? One of the most important habits we can practice is the habit of self awareness. Something as simple as being aware of your surroundings can be the foundation for staying safe. Have you ever noticed when in public settings the number of people who are so focused on their phone, tablet, wireless device that they have no idea what is going on around them? What an easy target they must be for someone planning to inflict harm. Nor would they be aware of any harm inflicted to a passerby. The REALTOR® safety segment will be a multiple article series as it will encompass several different aspects of safety.
Until next week, love where you live. And if you don’t …contact your local REALTOR®.
Brian Haufe, 2022 MBOR President