There are more and more safety protocols in the real estate world every year. It seems like more often than ever there are Realtors and other real estate professionals finding themselves in compromising and dangerous situations when they're in the field. Many of you have probably heard stories of Realtors being assaulted both physically and sexually, violently attacked and even murdered by unstable individuals. Because of these reason, there are more and more precautions being taken by Realtors every year. These precautions are not just to protect the Realtor, but also to protect their clients. These safety precautions may seen unnecessary. However, they're quite the opposite. They are very important. They could mean the difference between a great showing and great bodily harm. And if anything terrible were to happen, these precautions are what could be your rescue or bring the perpetrator to justice.
I recently read a short article and watched a short video from the National Association of Realtors that they published on their blog. The piece is titled, "Video Explains to Consumers Why You're Taking Safety Precautions," and it was written by Graham Wood. The short video is very pleasant and it explains some of the precautionary actions used by us Realtors to avoid dangerous situations. Most Realtors are self-employed and self-promoters, which means that they use their likeliness to market themselves. If you look at any Realtor's website or marketing materials, you are likely to see a photo of them. Furthermore, most Realtors know that we MUST be accessible and provide multiple forms of communication to the public. Most of the crimes committed against real estate professionals are due to the fact that it is easy for a criminal to find a Realtor as an easy target and lure them to a vacant property. It is our job after all to visit unfamiliar properties on a daily basis.
One of the main precautions is to meet new clients at their office where they're in a public and familiar space. Many Realtors will go ahead and collect some personal information from you at that to keep as record that they did meet with you that day and will document that. Once a Realtor feels comfortable assisting you, they will begin showing you properties. In the old days, most clients would ride with their Realtors in one vehicle. This is becoming rare. Being in two different vehicles is much safer for both parties and it give the buyers or sellers an opportunity to speak candidly, as well.
Many Realtors will also avoid showing properties at night. The will especially avoid doing so with vacant properties like foreclosures. Many foreclosures or other REOs will often not have power, which means there is 0 lighting aside from phones and flashlights. It is unwise to view these properties with strangers- especially when it's pitch black. If there happen to be any unsafe conditions inside the property, both the Realtor and the clients are likely not going to notice and could be harmed. You may notice that your agent stays behind you when you walk through a property. This is to allow you to view the home at your own pace and not give off any signals that could influence your decision. Another precaution is that your Realtor will often not go in any attics, closets, garages, basements, etc. If you would like to view those areas, you are more than welcome, but you may notice that your Realtor will stay just outside of those areas.
There are more and more real estate professionals choosing to carry pepper spray or firearms as a line of defense in the field. Of course, anyone carrying a firearm needs to take the necessary steps to be allowed to do so. Carrying a firearm means not just safety for the Realtor, it also means safety for you. Many of us take responsibility over our clients and want to provide safety to you. In order to achieve your concealed weapons permit, you must express knowledge in the firearms, using the weapon and firearm safety. Many of the homes that we visit are either abandoned or they are vacant. It is hard to tell who or what might be takin refuge in any property that isn't occupied.
I personally carry a firearm with me on a daily basis. As a Realtor, I find it to be very important not only to protect myself, but to protect my clients. As a real estate investor, I visit vacant properties all the time. The number one type of properties that many investors frequent are distressed properties that can often be in troubled neighborhoods. Because I have access to these properties through my own devices, I almost always visit properties alone. I have seen all manner of sketchy in vacant properties. I've found makeshift beds, hot plates, piles of clothing, empty bottles and even used needles. It was visiting one of these properties when I decided that it was time to purchase a firearm and get my CWP. Since then, I make sure I am protected when I go to unfamiliar properties or meet with strangers. I often meet with folks I have never met at properties to discuss the property and to begin working with one another. Unfortunately, the way that internet marketing works, it often pushes us towards meeting for the first time at the subject property. It's not meant to be an offense to these individuals, but I make sure that my firearm is in my vehicle when I got to meet them. I have never needed my firearm and I never hope that I will! The next time that you're working with a Realtor, just know that both your safety and theirs is a top priority. None of us are being excessive for no reason. It is always to ensure that everyone stays safe!
If you are in need or a Realtor, feel free to reach out to me! I am always happy to help!
Troy Franklin Gandee