September is real estate agent safety month.
And as a real estate professional, many of your clients and prospects may come to you through word-of-mouth referrals.
If you’re constantly prospecting like you should be, you’ll be interacting with strangers on a regular basis.
Although it’s unlikely that any of these stranger interactions will put you into danger, you still have to prepare yourself against the worst.
1.Protect your private information
Just because Facebook has an option of providing your address doesn’t mean you should give it. With the constant sharing inherent to social media, it’s easy to accidentally give away enough information to locate your home, your family, and when you go on vacation.
Even some of the photos you post have EXIF data that can be mined for location information. Seriously–there are articles all over the internet about how to determine your location based on EXIF data associated with your picture (here’s one: https://www.howtogeek.com/211427/how-to-see-exactly-where-a-photo-was-taken-and-keep-your-location-private/).
Best practice is to keep vacation photos off of social media until you return home and, in general, keep private identifying information off the internet.
Likewise, as a real estate professional, you may want to consider using a separate camera for business.
2. Use teamwork
Ask a fellow agent from your brokerage to join you on private showings.
If a certain prospect or client is considering doing something that might put your safety at risk, you’ll be more likely to deter their behavior with both you and your colleague rather than going by yourself.
3. Announce your showing schedule
Sometimes it’s not feasible to bring a colleague along for a showing, but at least let a coworker know your scheduled location. No, you don’t have to sing your schedule from the rooftops (you’d look a little goofy hollering out “I HAVE A SHOWWINNGGG!” in your brokerage office like Marlon Brando yelling “STELLAAA!” at the end of A Streetcar Named Desire), but at least let someone know your anticipated return time from a showing.
4. Verify customer info
If you’re hosting an open house, make sure you get a signature and phone number (or e-mail) from every attendee who stops by.
This not only protects you by deterring some unsavory person from getting too close for comfort in a somewhat confined space, but it also protects your client’s property from being stolen. (Who wants to steal from someone who knows their face, name, and contact information?)
And if you’re doing an individual showing, make sure to obtain some form of ID and an address from the potential client.
This system provides you with a nice ready-made contact list as well.
5. Scope out the location before-hand
A big part of staying safe (in any situation) is having situational awareness.
This is true whether you’re hiking or showing a new home for the first time.
Get a feeling for your surroundings by taking the time to familiarize yourself with the neighborhood.
(Heck, while you’re at it you might stumble upon some hidden gems in the neighborhood that you didn’t know about before. Win-win!)
Check back next time for part 2.
About Larson Educational Services:
Utilizing 40 years of real estate training and professional education experience, Florida real estate school Larson Educational Services is the premier provider of Florida real estate licensing, exam preparation, post-licensing, CAM licensing, mortgage loan originator licensing, and continuing education in Southwest Florida. Classes are available in Fort Myers, Naples, Sarasota, and online. We are an approved Florida Real Estate School (License #ZH1002299), Florida CAM School (License #PRE31), Florida Insurance School (License # 370501) and NMLS Approved Course Provider.
Larson Educational Services
13040 Livingston Rd. #12
Naples, FL 34105