This morning at our Pinnacle Peak REALTOR® Marketing Session (RMS) meeting, Officer Glenn from the City of Scottsdale Police Department shared some tips for staying safe. Whether you’re meeting a client, showing homes, or sitting at an open house, REALTORS® should always be aware of their surroundings and never put themselves at risk to be a victim of theft, or worse.
Talking about REALTOR® Safety can be scary – but it’s necessary. Here are a few tips from Officer Glenn on staying safe in different situations as a REALTOR®.
WHEN YOU FIRST MEET WITH A NEW CLIENT:
1) Meet in a public place – Never, ever meet a client for the first time at the property. Meet in a public place – such as your office, Starbuck’s, or even the Association headquarters. A new website – meetmeherefirst.com – can help you find locations that have signed up as “Open Door Partners” for REALTORS®.
2) Introduce them to people – Introducing someone to your office manager, broker or colleague is a deterrent for someone who has ill intentions.
3) Ask for multiple phone numbers – Get a work, cell and home phone number, if possible. Throughout your time working with the person, periodically call the different numbers. If one or two of the numbers they gave are “out of service” when you try calling, that’s a bad sign.
It’s important to keep all of this information about your client in one location, preferably that someone else would have access to in the event of an emergency. If something happens or your loved ones aren’t able to get in touch with you, this information would be extremely valuable for the police to help track down you and the client you were supposed to be with at the time you went missing.
Officer Glenn also mentioned some “red flags” to be aware of, such as if your client is asking many personal questions about you. If a client asks you things like “what do you do on the weekends” or “where do you go to happy hour” – that could be a sign that their intentions are less than pure.
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WHEN YOU’RE SHOWING PROPERTY:
1) Make sure someone knows your itinerary – Set times with your spouse or colleague to check in during showings. Make sure someone knows your route, and what client you are with. Have a set plan for what to do if you don’t check in at the assigned time, or don’t return from your appointments when expected.
2) Have your client walk in front of you – Staying behind the person or even letting them walk through a room while you wait in the hallway can ward off potential attacks.
3) Be aware at vacant homes – If a door or window of a vacant property is ajar, DO NOT go inside. Instead, call the non-emergency police line and wait outside or in your car with the doors locked.
AT OPEN HOUSES:
1) Course plan – Walk through the home and know where the exterior doors are. Have a few ideas in mind in case you get into a situation you need to escape. Keep your keys on you so you can get to your car and flee if necessary. It’s better to have a plan and never need it, than to need a plan and not have one!
2) Make friends with the neighbors – In addition to being a good way to make new contacts, you’ll have extra sets of eyes watching out for your safety.
3) Have someone with you – Always try to do an open house with a partner. Recruit a fellow REALTORS®, a new agent in your office, or an affiliate partner such as a lender.
Office Glenn also suggested other tips, such as keeping your purse in the trunk of your car and always making sure your cell phone is fully charged. Also, have your keys out and ready whenever you walk to your car from a home or business. In addition, Officer Glenn reinforced to always be aware of your surroundings and follow your intuition.
Learn more about REALTOR® Safety and achieve your REALTOR® SAFE certification this September at SAAR! Save the date for “REALTOR® Safety Day”, September 22nd, 2015.
Below are some additional resources to help keep you safe.
Scottsdale PD Non-Emergency Line: 480-312-5000
Website for police reports: raidsonline.com