REALTOR® Safety Tips You Should Know

REALTOR® Safety Tips You Should Know

Since September is REALTOR® Safety Month, by now you should have reviewed your own safety plan and given thought to any new safety practices, programs, or devices you should employ. As a profession real estate is safe but REALTORS® have exposure to risky situations and locations. Think through a few scenarios you have or might face while showing or previewing a property and ask yourself if you are adequately prepared to prevent an attack or defend yourself.

Safety tips, safety programs, and devices are aimed at keeping you safe so that you can enjoy your work and safely return home to your family. Here are a few to consider incorporating into your safety plan.  


Before You Leave the Office

  • Develop a danger code for your REALTORS®.  Pick a word or sentence that will alert someone you call or someone who calls to check on you that you’re in danger. Perhaps you would say, “Hi, I’m with a client but I need information on the RED house.  It’s on my desk. Could you email it to me?”
  • Have a ready-made excuse for having to leave a meeting early – a family emergency or illness.
  • Ask new clients to come by your office first and fill out a new-client information form.  Make a copy of their driver license and leave them with someone covering the office.
  • Insist on separate vehicles.  Don’t get into a vehicle – yours or theirs – with a stranger.
  • Make sure your cell phone is fully charged.
  • Take your safety equipment.

At a Showing

  • Arrive early, if possible, to make sure your cell phone signal is good, open the house and unlock all exit doors.  If you need to escape, make it as easy as possible.
  • Park so that no other vehicle can block you.  
  • Avoid showing homes near or after dark.  If you must, turn on all inside and outside lights.
  • Always direct clients to enter the property and individual rooms ahead of you. Always be closest to the exit so that you can get out quickly.
  • Plan a home or office check in. Let your client know that you need to make a quick phone check in and whether you reach someone or not, leave a message as to where you are and who you are with. Example: “I’m with the Smiths at the Drexel Drive listing right now.  I will call back when we’re finished.”

Meeting with Sellers

  • If you’re meeting strangers, try to meet at their office or yours during business hours.  If after hours, meet in a public place like a coffee shop or restaurant.
  • Consider researching new clients on the internet and especially on social media.
  • Be careful about sharing too much personal information. It’s fine to be friendly, but clients do not need to know where you live, family details, or your relationship status.

Open Houses and Model Homes

  • Open houses present unique safety concerns because the number of people moving through a property in a short time can be distracting.  If possible, enlist a colleague or family member to be present so that they can be your eyes while you’re focused on visitors. 
  • Always ask visitors to register and get as much information as you can. If you’re showing a model home alone, take a photo of the visitor’s driver license as a safety precaution.
  • Make sure you are aware of all exit routes and make sure they are unlocked. This includes outside gates.  If you’re trying to escape, time is critical.
  • If a property is occupied during an open house, advise the owners to remove any valuables – jewelry, cash, guns, and controlled substances.

Safety Technology

  • The National Association of REALTORS® compiled a list of safety devices and apps. Take a look and see if there is a product that’s right for you.
  • Smart phones and smart watches have panic button features that will call those you designate or 911 if you signal there is an emergency.  Find your device’s safety features and know how to use them discreetly and rapidly.