It’s a disturbing reality that real estate agents are sometimes targets of attackers. Here are some steps you can take to deter criminals and protect yourself.
Consider Your Safety Now
It may not seem urgent to plan for your safety when no threat is present, but there’s no better time to figure out how to respond to various scenarios. Spend the time now to come up with your personal safety plan and strategies for situations that may arise. Find safety resources from NAR, Texas REALTORS®, your local association of REALTORS®, or your brokerage.
Trust Your Gut
You take pride in your professionalism. However, if you feel you are in danger, you may have to override your tendency to act politely. Trust your instincts: Get away as quickly as possible from a person who makes you feel uneasy. No sale is as important as your safety.
Let Them Know You’re Not Alone
You know there’s safety in numbers. If you can’t avoid being alone with a customer, it’s wise to tell a colleague or a family member where you are, who you’re with, and when to expect you back. Go one step further and make sure the customer hears you make that call. Another option: Let customers know you’re expecting a colleague to meet you soon. Even if not true, planting that seed may act as a deterrent.
Capture and Share a Picture
When first meeting—ideally someplace with others around—tell a customer that your brokerage requires you to send a photo of a valid ID to the brokerage. Or explain that the brokerage safety policy requires to to send a photo of that person standing next to the license plat on his car. If the person balks, that’s your cue to leave.
Practice Your Plan
It’s great to have strategies in mind for threatening situations, but you want your responses to come to you automatically. Go through each scenario you might face and act out your response until it’s second nature. Can you quickly make an emergency call on your phone? Do you know how to use the safety app you installed? Can you get in your car quickly and drive away? Your life may depend on it.