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Real Estate Agents Personal Safety: Navigating the Risks
When you think of dangerous professions, the typical may come to mind: fire fighter, electric line worker, lumberjacks…but what about real estate professionals? Believe it or not, the safety risks associated with this profession have grown over the last decade. Every time a real estate professional meets with a new client, drives them to a new location, or shows them a property, they are facing potential risk. Most of the time everything turns out ok, but there are a rising number of cases where things don’t go as planned.
Violence Against Real Estate Agents and Personal Safety
You may have heard the tragic story of a murder of a young real estate sales professional that took place in Jessup, MD, on December 5, 2018. A 31-year-old man was working alone at a model home and was targeted, robbed and murdered. This tragedy brought to light a lot of fears and concerns over the safety of those in this profession. According to the National Association of REALTORS® 2018 Member Safety Report, 33 percent of its members said they feared for their personal safety or the safety of their personal data at some point in the year. The number rose to 41 percent for women in the survey. So why are real estate professionals targeted? According to usacarry.com, here are some reasons:
- Visiting a property in a dangerous area
- Sponsoring Open House and Model Home events
- Visiting isolated locations
- Being alone without a colleague or real estate partner
- Being involved with foreclosures
- Showing properties in distressed or abandoned rough neighborhoods
- Indirectly communicating the perception that you are overly accommodating and overly friendly to help sales
- Thanks to the Internet and social media, criminals can oftentimes track where and when a real estate professional will be at a specific location
The President of the National Association of Realtors, John Smaby, recently discussed the safety of the professionals in this industry and said, “We many times meet people in places that could put ourselves in peril.” He says it’s a priority for the organization, and they have stepped up training and safety education.
Real Estate Agents Personal Safety: How to Protect Yourself
According to Inman, here are some tips from experts and agents to stay safe:
- Always meet new clients somewhere public
- Read verbal and non-verbal body queues
- Get a client’s name, contact information and copy of their ID
- Share calendars and schedules with colleagues and supervisors
- Notify colleagues and supervisors “who, what where and when”
- Be spatially aware—keep clients in front of you
- Use what you’ve got—starting with your smartphone
- Use the buddy system
- Consider video surveillance
- Trust your instincts
Real Estate Professionals and the Concealed-Carry / Wear and Carry Handgun Permit:
Some real estate professionals don’t find the measures above enough to give them peace of mind and have gone through the steps and training to obtain a Wear and Carry Handgun Permit for personal protection while on the job.
According to an NRA 2019 survey, 1 in 6 realtors carry a firearm. In fact, if you have a real estate license in Maryland and can meet the state’s criteria and background check, you can likely obtain a Wear and Carry Handgun Permit. This is an important decision and one that requires on-going training, education and discipline.
Practicing Safe Workplace Protocols
Real Estate is a profession that is impacted by external and internal environments. No matter the situation, it’s important to practice safe workplace protocols. If your company doesn’t have a policy, or resources, for safety in real estate, now may be a great time to look into developing one. Something as simple as sharing the safety tips listed above can make a difference.
At Velocity Title, we strive to make our clients feel safe and comfortable. From meeting the latest social distancing requirements during COVID, to working with automated secure technology, we are here to meet your needs. To learn more about Velocity Title, click here.