We’ve all heard the horror stories of real estate agents being assaulted or worse during a showing or open house. Real estate is different in the sense that you’re inviting people you don’t know into homes that aren’t your own. Strange – to say the least!
Have you ever felt uncomfortable when dealing with a potential or current client? If so, you definitely aren’t alone. I have had some experiences of my own. There were times I waited outside when showing a new buyer a home because I didn’t know them and didn’t want to put myself into a situation that I couldn’t get out of. I’ve also spoken to fellow agents who keep a knife or taser handy when showing a house solo.
While the industry does have its inherent risks, don’t let this keep you from your dreams and aspirations of being a real estate agent! The good news is that there are many ways for agents, especially women in real estate, to protect themselves.
Here are some of the best tips and tricks I’ve come across for house showings and open house safety.
As a real estate agent, you know that time is of the essence. But for your safety, it’s best to avoid rushing into meeting with a client. Instead, take a few days getting to know them. Have plenty of phone conversations. Video calls are even better!
By spending time talking and learning about a client, there’s a greater chance of uncovering something that may be cause for concern. The more you know about a client, the more secure you can feel.
We’ve all had an experience that made us feel uneasy and uncomfortable from the get go. Your gut feeling is almost always right, no matter the situation. If a particular situation or client doesn’t feel right, odds are that it isn’t.
Us women have a way of knowing things, especially when we sense fear or danger. If you feel anything other than comfortable, trust your gut and remove yourself from the situation immediately.
Real estate agents should look professional and well-kept, but showing a home to a new client may not be the best scenario to wear your most expensive jewelry or to carry a designer handbag.
If possible, keep your valuables at home. This way you aren’t a prime target for a thief who is looking to cash in from stealing your high-dollar items.
When meeting a client in their home, it's best to bring someone with you. While we all strive to be independent women, sometimes it's best to have back up.
If anything feels suspicious or off, don't hesitate to bring a fellow agent with you, or even a male that you trust. There is safety in numbers.
The more people that know where you’re headed, the better. Tell your spouse, partner, or real estate agency where you are at all times. If you have a smartphone or some other connected device, you can easily share your location. This way if anything goes wrong, it’s easy to pinpoint exactly where you are.
A phone is a real estate agent’s lifeline. From answering calls to emails to video chatting with clients, we’re always on our phones, whether it’s for business or personal reasons.
In turn, we’ve all dealt with the dreaded low or dead battery alert. It always seems to happen at the worst times, doesn’t it?! Before meeting with a client for a showing or hosting an open house, make sure that your phone is fully charged. Consider investing in a car charger as well as a mobile charger. Not having a phone during a dangerous situation is a recipe for disaster.
When showing a home or hosting an open house, try to be mindful and remain vigilant. Pay attention to those around you. Make a mental note of anyone who may be following you. Always have your client walk in front of you so that they always remain visible.
In the event that something goes wrong, you need to know how to defend yourself. Self defense classes are available online, at martial-arts studios, and even at certain community colleges.
These courses teach various skills, including:
• How to position yourself if attacked
• Different types of strikes
• How and where to strike
• How to break free from certain grips and holds
There are even advanced courses that teach you how to defend yourself against someone who is armed or from multiple attackers. Many women are amazed at how strong and bad@ss they are after taking a few of these courses!
It's always recommended that agents arrive at the location before their client. Give yourself time to get an idea of the neighborhood as well as the layout of the home. You can also come up with a quick safety plan in the event that you need to get out of the house.
At minimum, showing up early gives you time to make the home more showable. Two birds, one stone!
The world can be a dangerous place, especially for women. Don’t let fear keep you from thriving in your career. With these tips and tricks, you can protect yourself and minimize the risk of putting yourself in a bad situation.
Are there any other tactics you use to stay safe during showings or open houses? Share your thoughts, tips and experiences in the comments!