Empty Property + Realtor Showing = Safety Risk
CHICAGO – When showing an empty property, Realtors should take a handful of simple steps to mitigate the possibility of a possible attack or theft.
Use the lockbox property-key procedure established to improve real estate agent safety. A reliable, secure lockbox system ensures that keys don’t fall into the wrong hands.
Show properties before dark. If you work after hours, advise an associate or first-line supervisor of your schedule. If you must show a property after dark, turn on all lights as you go through, and don’t lower shades or draw curtains or blinds.
Call the office once an hour to let people know where you are.
If you think it may time for a property to sell and you’ll likely show it more than once, get acquainted with a few immediate neighbors. You’ll feel better knowing they recognize your car, and they’ll feel better about a stranger (you) frequently visiting their neighborhood.
Prepare a scenario that gives you an excuse to leave if someone makes you uncomfortable while showing the home. For example, say your cell phone or beeper went off and you have to call your office; or you left some important information in your car; or another agent is stopping by shortly with potential buyers.
When showing a property, leave the front door unlocked in case you must make a quick exit.
As you enter each room, stand near the door and allow the potential buyer to enter first.
Don’t display items of value, such as a purse, while at a property. Lock a purse in your car’s trunk before arrival. Carry only non-valuable business items (except for your cell phone). Don’t wear expensive jewelry or watches, or appear to be carrying large sums of money.
Park at the curb rather than in the driveway – you’ll attract more attention running and screaming to the curb, and it’s easier to escape if you don’t have to back out of a driveway. Plus a driveway gives someone a chance to block your car.
Besides, parked in a driveway, another vehicle could purposefully or accidentally trap you.
Sources: Louisiana Realtors® Association; Washington Real Estate Safety Council; City of Albuquerque, NM; Nevada County Association of Realtors®; City of Mesa, AZ
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