BY NURUL ASMUI MD AZMI
Most real estate agents like to work with people that they had already know and trust. However, there are times when agents have to be in contact with strangers to generate new businesses. Meeting strangers in isolated locations, at odd hours can be the perfect setting for an attack.
Working in real estate industry is not known to be dangerous, but with various news on agents being raped, robbed and murdered around the globe, safety procedures should be implemented by all real estate firms to help keep their agents safe.
There are also several things that you can do to help minimise your risks of an attack. The following tips will enhance the safety of real estate agents as well as the confidence you have as a sales professional.
1. Be mindful of personal information
Whatever you do to market your real estate service, do not advertise your home address and other personal info. If possible, purchase a separate phone to keep your personal and work calls separately.
Real estate agents can be an easy target as they can be contacted to meet in person by just anyone at any time. Don’t give the chance for criminals to profile you by sharing your personal life on social media. Whatever you share on social media stays on social media, and criminals might be able to search for you as they already know your name and how you look.
Always be extra careful when posting your info and whereabouts online.
2. Stranger danger
When you are contacted by a customer, make sure you ask for work, home, cell phone numbers, and also a physical address. Try to verify that information by calling the customer at all numbers given, or enter the number on Google to see if you get a match before meeting up.
One thing for sure, never meet any unknown customers at a property. Instead, request them to come to your office and maybe make a copy of the customer’s driver’s license. If they really have to meet outside, inform your colleague about your appointment, and ask someone at the office to call you occasionally.
Unless you actually know the person you are meeting, always do a property private show with a colleague. Keep your phone handy with an emergency contact and local police on speed dial.
3. Client in sight
During a property visit, always walk behind your customer at a safe distance to avoid being attacked from behind. You should also insist that your customer walks in first so try to arrive early to unlock the door before your customer arrived. If you walk in front of someone, it is easier for you to become a victim as the door can be shut and locked by the person before proceeding with the attack.
Don’t leave a client in your blind spot. Make sure that you see the client at all times.
4. Get familiarised
Inspect and become familiar with a neighbourhood before you show a property to your customer. Prior to a private showing or open house, drive through the neighbourhood, and be on the lookout for safety concerns. Find out where are the exits to the neighbourhood as well as to the property you are showing.
Keep all doors unlocked during property visit, and always be aware of your surroundings
Last but not least, do not ignore your instincts. If you ever feel uncomfortable meeting up or working with certain customers, ask someone else to accompany you when you’re out to show a property. Both women and men are capable of committing crimes so never underestimate a customer, and never assume that women are safer customers.
Always trust your gut! If your instinct is telling you that something is about to go wrong, listen to it. It is always better to be safe than sorry.
Although a real estate agent's career is almost always considered to be safe, all agents should still plan for their own safety to avoid from the unthinkable to occur. Crime can happen to anyone, anywhere so bear in mind that there are times where agents can be potentially more vulnerable and could be a victim of criminally-minded people.