Another Realtor was attacked, this time blocks from my home in Laguna Niguel
in a lovely neighborhood.
Buddy up with a Partner who is licensed or a lender who will become your trusted partner Open houses, meeting clients at empty houses and driving in someone’s car or even taking strangers in your car is never to be done alone. Leaving an itinerary does not keep you safe.
Do not meet a stranger at any property. Instead, ask to meet at your office or in a public place so others can see the potential buyer too.
Take your own car. NEVER ride in a stranger’s car.
Dress for safety. Dress professionally and avoid wearing expensive, flashy jewelry. Do not carry large amounts of money with you. I know many won’t agree with this but: Carry a taser or stun gun and practice with it on the 1st and 15th of every month. Practice juggling your lockbox code while remaining aware with stun gun. If ordinances allow get a gun permit. Practice weekly with the gun and wear it under suit jacket. Get a permit to carry concealed only after you are an expert with the gun.
Designate a safety contact who is responsible to check your incoming contact information and give you a call 20 minutes into an appointment. Prior to showing a property, have a printed form that asks for a prospect’s information: name, address, auto make and model, auto tag, driver’s license, local address, and two references. Make a copy of driver’s license. Leave the copy with office. Many Realtors' and lenders work out of your home. I myself as a mortgage lender make appointments in people's homes, but never with a stranger. You may not have the proper equipment to copy the license and email it. Get a scanner, have an urgent fax or text you send. Learn to take excellent photographs of driver’s license and license plate and forward to the contact safety person. Tell the buyer this is standard procedure and required by your broker.
Use an agent ID form. Make sure your office knows your car's make and model and license tag, plus any other important contact information.
Set a coded distress signal. Be able to call the office or home with a message that appears harmless to a prospect but would serve as an alert to others that you’re in harm's way. Long ago I taught my children to use the word gorilla as a code emergency word. Set one with family and office safety contact
Stop working immediately if you pick up on something suspicious If it feels bad, run. No amount of commission is worth your life. If you notice inconsistent answers, lies, weird stories, unfamiliar with location they claim to be from in a client, or any abnormal behavior, or anything that signals that something is off, stop working and trust your gut instincts. Go to a public place.
Notify police when you feel that instinct. Smart phones are useful in locating you and in Orange County California our local Sheriff is happy to come out and assist even when you suspect foul play.
Don’t go into a vacant house alone. If the door or window pried open- call police. Even in affluent neighborhoods we are seeing squatters who can be violent breaking into vacant homes and setting up camp. Anyone who calls to meet you may not necessarily be a buyer or seller of real estate, don’t assume they are all honest kind people.
When danger occurs you have seconds to decide how to handle it. You may be the greatest negotiator but running yelling fire might be your best defense. Practice self defense strategies.
If you insist on doing an open house alone: set a table and chairs out in the front yard. Greet the neighbors, tell them you are next door from x time until x time and don’t follow anyone upstairs or into the back.
|long dark entry where you can't see around the corner says caution|