In 2019, 33% of REALTORS ran into situations that made them fear for their personal safety or the security of their personal information. (NAR, 2019 Member Safety Report) Unfortunately, working with people can certainly lead to sketchy situations. Vendor and REALTOR safety is a big deal, which is why we are passing along the same tips we give to our agents and vendors in the field.
Sound familiar? In Scouting for Boys, the term was coined by Robert Baden-Powell and defined as always being “in a state of readiness in mind and body to do your duty.” That duty includes protecting yourself, your colleagues, and your clients and their assets. There’s a reason that only these two words are inscribed on the organization’s highest honor: the Eagle Scout medal.
This state of readiness can eliminate many unsafe situations. Polaris strives to be proactive whenever possible, so we compiled a list so that our staff is always prepared for the unexpected.
Communication is one of the easiest precautions you can take. It is crucial when coordinating with prospective clients, tenants, and colleagues, so that everyone is on the same page. Setting expectations is how you build trust. It also ensure all parties are aware of the date/time/location of your visit. Without situational awareness, people become uncomfortable and their actions become less predictable.
If you are scheduling appointments with an online calendar, such as Google Calendar, simply take the extra step of sharing the information with someone else in your office. Provide the location, time, and attendees of your meeting so your colleagues know when to expect your return. Or how to proceed if they do not hear back from you. You might also consider selecting a unique “distress code.” We do this in our office. If any of us receive this code in a text, email, etc., we know that person is in danger. And, since we know the location/time of their appointment, we know exactly where to send help.
KNOW YOUR EXITS
Knowing your exits is another simple, yet critical, safety tip. When you arrive at a property to conduct a showing or complete a service work order, take a lap around the property. Make mental notes on the layout and location of each exit. Chances are, you won’t have the composure to safely get to an exit if s%#t hits the fan.
Also, like a great defender going up against Michael Jordan in the playoffs, you should never let the client (MJ) get between you and the exit (basketball hoop). If MJ gets between you and the basket, he can dunk it, hit an open jump shot, he is in control. If you stay between the client and the exit door, you remain in control of the situation.
Assuming your vehicle is serviced regularly, gas tank at least half full, and that you have all the items on our “Be Prepared list, you’re already off to a great start. So, how else can you protect your self and the valuables in your car?
- Parking in well-lit areas.
- Parking on the curb, not in the driveway. This way, no one can box you in with nowhere to go.
- Leaving bags in the trunk. Travel and work bags are obvious clues that something valuable is in your car.
- Avoiding keeping documents with personal information in your car. (medical records, kids’ school/class schedule, home address, etc.)
- Always driving yourself to and from appointments.
We make our living by meeting with people every day. We take on the responsibility of protecting clients’ homes during property showings or inspections, as well as, completing repairs. However, there’s no paycheck large enough, no wallet fat enough, that ensures we will return home safely at the end of the day. We must be prepared.
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