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Safety Tips for Professionals - Real Estate Commission

Some real estate professionals are required to meet new clients in unoccupied homes for sale as a routine part of their jobs. The key to maintaining personal safety while working alone is to have more than one method of self-defense at your disposal. The following list is a sample of what other agents have found to be successful deterrents to crime. Please take a moment to read it, and to assess your own level of safety while meeting with unfamiliar people in the course of performing your duties.

When you advertise:

  • Always use your office address and telephone number or your cell phone number for contact information.
  • If you are hosting an open house, include a disclosure to potential attendees that their identification will be checked and recorded upon arrival. If you or the seller is equipped with a video surveillance device, make sure the public knows it will be in use.

Before you show a property:

  • If possible, arrange to meet new clients at your main office first. Get a copy of their driver's licenses and introduce them to someone on staff so that there is at least one other person that can identify them.
  • Arrange to either bring someone with you to showings, or make sure your emergency contacts know where you are at all times. Ask them to call or text you while you are with a new client so that it is apparent that someone else knows where you are.
  • Set up a special code word or phrase to use with your coworkers if you need to make an emergency call for help.
  • If you use SentriLock or another lockbox system, be sure to update the location the box is being used. Lockbox services cannot collect entry data if the box is still assigned to a previous address.
  • Download and utilize one of the various smartphone apps that are designed to automatically deliver GPS information on your exact location and other identifying details to your emergency contacts or to emergency responders.
  • Check your phone's signal strength at the address you plan to show. Carry an extra battery with you.

When you arrive at a property:

  • Park in an area where your car cannot be blocked in by another vehicle. Always drive separately from your clients.
  • If the property is a foreclosed or vacant home, inspect the structure for any signs of prior entry. If you see open windows or doors, do not enter the home. Instead, call the police.
  • Be sure that all of the seller's valuables and prescription drugs are out of sight. Lock your own valuables in your car or other safe place.
  • When a new client drives to meet you at the property, take a picture of his or her license plate.
  • When showing the property, avoid entering rooms before your client enters them. Explain the features of the property while remaining in open doorways, if possible.