Self-defense for realtors is a growing concern as the number of attacks on agents has been increasing yearly. Real estate agents face dangerous situations on a routine basis. Agents are often inside vacant properties with strangers. Realtors do not have to “accept” the risks as part of the job. Realtors can learn to defend themselves with easy-to-implement practices. Self-defense for realtors doesn’t have to be complex or hard to implement. Often times the most effective self-defense for realtors is simple changes in day-to-day habits. Here’s some things to consider as you develop your own personal protection plan.
Your Public Image
- Keep Photos Professional: Remember, it’s often a visual that catches the attention of a predator. Keep photos professional and conservative.
- Use Voicemail and PO Boxes: Personal addresses and home phone numbers should not be used for business. Avoid disclosing anything that would indicate where you live.
- Google Yourself: Know what personal information is only a search engine away. Google your own name, phone numbers and email addresses.
- Social Media: Be careful about posting personal information.
- Avoid Vanity Plates: Vanity plates are easy to remember and get people looking at you and your car. Vanity plates advertise your daily habits and whereabouts to the public.
Real Estate Agent Safety Tips
- Inform: A trusted contact should always be informed of your whereabouts.
- Safety In Numbers: If possible, have someone with you when showing property. This is especially important when showing vacant property or meeting with strangers.
- Stage the Property for Your Safety: Arrive at the property early and familiarize yourself with all exits. Turn on the lights and open the blinds. Unlock all exits and keep yourself between the client and an exit. Have an exit accessible at all times. Do not feel like you have to personally show all rooms. Let the client go into a basement or other secluded area by his or herself. If you’re uncomfortable with this have an excuse beforehand. Pretend like you’re expecting an important call and you can’t get reception in the basement.
- Use Search Engines: In today’s world, simply searching on someone’s name should reveal something. Research further if you find nothing on the major search engines such as Google.
- Be Prepared to Defend Yourself: Carry pepper spray (click here to purchase) and have it in your hand. If you have made the decision to carry a weapon, be responsible and trained on how to use it.
Cell Phone Panic Button – Mobile Apps
Calling 911 each time you have an uneasy feeling about a client is not feasible and could risk a potential sale. Consider using a cell phone “panic button” app or even a real-estate agent specific service.
Mindset and situational awareness are two of the biggest assets you have when staying safe while dealing with properties and clients. Stay vigilant, never let your guard down and error on the side of caution.