Realtor Safety is not Taboo!

As a safety and self defense speaker I often hear the worst stories of crime and violence against women. Stories that nobody should ever have to endure but yet they occur at maddening frequency. Since September is Realtor Safety Month this blog is to help empower Realtors to enhance their safety. To stop having Realtor Safety be a taboo topic, too scary to discuss and instead to understand the career risks and how to mitigate them.

The risk of being a Realtor is real…

If you’ve never heard of The Beverly Carter Foundation, be sure to look it up. Carl Carter Jr. is Beverly’s son and he now travels the country speaking to real estate agents to spread awareness of how his dear mother was kidnapped and murdered while on the job as a real estate agent in Arkansas in 2014. 

Since then, countless crimes continue to be committed against real estate agents from theft, to sexual assault to murder. They don’t always make the news but the awful effects on the victims and their families last for a lifetime.

During one of my Realtor Safety talks that I gave at a national conference, a woman stood up and told us all how she was sexually assaulted during a showing. Her story started off like so many agent stories. She got a call from someone who wanted to see a property right away. Her gut told her that something wasn’t right but she was hoping for a potential sale.  She ignored her intuition and while at the house this “potential client” sexually assaulted her. Everyone in the room that heard her story that day was shaken. I was too and I knew then that more can be done to spread the word of personal safety for real estate professionals. 

Nobody likes to hear these stories. We all want to believe that nothing terrible will ever happen to us and therefore Realtor Safety becomes a taboo subject; something we don’t talk about because it’s too uncomfortable. So in order to keep people more aware and more safe, we need to have more conversations about Realtor safety.

Here are 8 Realtor safety tips to share with every Realtor you know:

1. Do your homework.

Schedule an appointment with the client at your office before a showing. At your office, you can also ask for a piece of identification and make a copy for your records. If a client refuses either formality, you can say that this is your policy and if they don’t want to comply, they can go elsewhere. Do background checks on any stranger you plan on meeting. Check out the Forewarn app to check out a person’s criminal history and Google the heck out them too.

2. Practice situational awareness

Look for red flags or warning signs when meeting with your client or entering a property. Scan for strange signals your client may be giving off, like sweating, fidgeting, or their story doesn’t make sense. 

Do the same when entering a property. Be familiar with the layout before meeting a client there and know where all of the exits are. Listen to your intuition and if you don’t feel safe, leave the situation as fast as you can.

3. Command authority through body language

Use your posture and non-verbal language to communicate that you’re running the show. After all, you’re the one who knows the properties and has the answers to all of your client’s questions! Be the boss and direct the client where to go and follow them but stay close to the exit — don’t ever have your back to the client.

4. Minimize alone time at showings

Ask someone you know and trust to come with you when you show a home. If no one can accompany you, inform your coworkers, family or friends where you are, whom you are with, and when you expect to return. Use location tracking apps with your partner or loved ones and check out Invisawear jewelry (use code SHEWARRIOR for 10% off) which can send an SOS message to your emergency contacts or 911 directly with your location.

5. Don’t get in the same car as your client

Your client may want you to drive them to a showing or suggest that they drive you. Both situations essentially trap you together in a moving vehicle. No good.

Instead of driving together, suggest that the client follow you in their own car and when you park, do not block yourself into the driveway.

6. Carry self-defense spray

Pepper spray and pepper gel are great safety tools for a Realtor who is out in the field, dealing with strangers. Have one in your car hidden nearby for easy access as well as one that you carry on your person.

7. Learn self-defense

Only 38% of Realtors have ever taken self defense class, according to the NAR safety report for 2020. I’d love to get that number closer to 100%! Everyone should know at least the basics of self defense. Eyes, throat, groin! How to not fall and how to get out of basic grabs and holds. Not only does self defense teach you ways to physically protect yourself, it helps enhance your confidence and awareness! Two assault deterrents in their own right!

If you’re one of the 62% of agents that have not yet learned self defense or would like a refresher, jump into my She Warrior Self-Defense online training and learn and practice from your own home or at your office. If you want to schedule a live virtual or in person self defense training for your company, contact me through my Contact page.

8. Maintain professional boundaries

Take care not to share personal information; strangers don’t need to know your living situation, income, or about your family. If you and your client hit it off, keep the relationship professional until your business together is complete.

September is Realtor Safety Month so be sure to share these tips with all of the Realtors you know and love!

Are you a real estate professional who has ever felt unsafe with a client? Share how you handled that experience in the comments below <3