I read a statistic recently that shook me: Research last year from the National Association of REALTORS® found that four in 10 real estate professionals say they’ve experienced a situation that made them fear for their personal safety.
- What is it about the real estate profession that triggers this much anxiety? Police and security experts offer these answers:
- The profession often puts agents or brokers face-to-face and one-on-one with strangers.
- Meetings can often occur in homes away from the general public.
- The profession has many females.
- Agents and brokers sometimes work alone, and during evenings and weekends, outside of the typical 9-to-5 time frame.
- Agents often work for commissions and some are tempted to put safety aside in favor of making a sale.
It’s tough to argue with these. So what’s a Realtor to do? With September being “National Realtor Safety Month,” I offer these items for your perusal – and I hope adoption:
- Get educated. Sadly Realtor safety has become an issue for an important reason: Many have lost their lives while working — murdered on the job. They “lucky ones” were only attacked. The silver lining is that the industry has responded with plenty of practical information to make life on the job safer. My first suggestion is to visit www.realtor.org/field-guides/field-guide-to-realtor-safety — a page filled with articles, videos and other hands-on resources.
- Take the class. One of the items on that web page is information on a three-hour safety course for Realtor associations. It’s a primer that covers safety systems and tools, protocols for showing properties and listing appointments, responses to threats or attacks, conceal and carry considerations along with a host of other vital materials. Call your local or state Realtor association for more information.
- Expand safety to include your clients. As you know well, when clients put their homes on the market, their risks rise. Why not add safety to your listing presentations and set yourself apart by sharing ways your clients can protect themselves and their homes. Give them tips on how to burglar-proof their home, keep their valuables safe and how to handle unexpected visitors.
- Make safety a priority at your brokerage. Brokers, I’m asking you point blank to give agent safety the position it deserves. NAR’s 2015 safety survey found that only 46 percent of real estate brokerages have agent safety procedures in place. At the same time, 64 percent have procedures for safeguarding and properly disposing of sensitive client data. You and I both know that’s just not right.
- Take the pledge. To keep safety top-of-mind in the Realtor community, two brokers in Central Iowa, Dylan de Bruin and Joe Schafbuch, created the real estate safety pledge. They only ask that you follow common-sense steps in your daily life. If you don’t do it for yourself, do it for Ashley and Beverly, two agents who lost their lives while working as Realtors. Ashley was just 27-years-old when she was shot and killed while hosting an open house in West Des Moines, Iowa. And Beverly, an Arkansas agent, was found in a shallow grave after showing a house. When her alleged murderer was asked why he chose her, he said, “Because she was just a woman who worked alone – a rich broker.” Visit www.realtorsafetypledge.com.
Let me hear from you. Let’s keep this important conversation alive. Please send any comments, questions or anecdotes about safety to [email protected] or https://www.facebook.com/CorcoranCoaching and I’ll share them on social media and at www.CorcoranCoaching.com
Bubba Mills is the CEO of Corcoran Consulting and Coaching Inc. (www.corcorancoaching.com/programs, 800-957-8353), an international Real Estate, Mortgage and Small Business coaching company committed to helping clients balance success in business, while building value in life. Bubba Mills is a nationally recognized inspirational and education speaker, coach and mentor to the top real estate agents and mortgage companies. To find out more about Corcoran Consulting & Coaching, call 1-800-957-8353 or visit us at www.CorcoranCoaching.com