What’s your plan for staying safe when holding an open house or meeting a new client at a property? Open house security is an important consideration for all agents at all events.
The recent tragic story of the agent abducted in Arkansas has many of us Realtors considering our personal security and our policies for meeting new clients. Safety is a top priority when it comes to open houses, or showing homes to a client you don’t yet know well.
You also may have seen some concerning news recently about agent safety, including this video from ABC News about theft during open houses. In this case, the “potential homebuyer” turned out to be an unwanted visitor, stealing the homeowner’s jewelry and other valuable items.
Personal safety and the security of our clients’ homes are a top priority. Here are some tips for staying safe:
1. Work in Teams
When it comes to robbing a home during an open house, burglars tend to come in twos: one to distract the agent and the other to steal. Having more than one agent at a showing or open house deters theft and personal assaults.
2. Self-Defense and Check-In Procedures
Take a self-defense course to learn how to avoid trouble and protect yourself. Always be aware of your surroundings, learn to follow your gut instinct and understand how to defend yourself if you must.
Realtors should also utilize check-in procedures. If you’ll be working alone, ask a family member, another agent or administrative staff from your office to call your cell phone every 30 minutes until you’ve left the appointment. You may also consider creating a “code word” to indicate that you’re in trouble and need help.
3. Protecting Your Clients
Occupied homes are typically targeted for 4 things: jewelry, money, guns and prescriptions. Advise your homeowners to remove these valuables or put them in a safe during open houses and showings.
One final tip: Use technology! There are several personal safety apps like Circle of 6, originally designed for the safety of college students. This app allows you and five others to connect and alert each other when one of you needs help. You can also use apps to report your location and more.
“The only way, really, to prevent theft for the home Seller is to market the home vacant. Unfortunately, this may not always be possible, and it does not address keeping agents safe. If an open house is a must, I strongly recommend agents both working in teams and having solid knowledge of some self-defense techniques. Regular ‘check-in’ calls are also a great fail safe for an agent to know that someone will be alerted to a problem if a scheduled call is not made or picked up.” Desert Dimensions Owner/Broker Joe Maggiore
What are we missing? If you have personal safety tips we’re missing, please share in the comments.
If you are a homeowner concerned about security or an agent thinking about personal safety practices and have a question, contact Owner/Broker Joe Maggiore for more information at (602) 418-2473 or firstname.lastname@example.org.