Tips for Real Estate Brokers to Stay Safe on the Field

7 Mins read

You may want to close a deal and badly want to sell a property. But that does not mean you put your safety at stake! Sometimes the real estate agents are not aware and conscious of an approaching danger. 

What are some potential dangers a real estate agent might face?

When you think of this question, the first thing that comes to mind is being physically assaulted.

If you are someone who works alone with customers, you are vulnerable to all kinds of threats if you are not prepared. 

In site visits, you are prone to falls in a site under operation or a building under construction. 

During interactions, you could be robbed of your valuables and money. 

And this can be done through digital transactions if you are not careful. 

You should never let your guard down and always be diligent about your surroundings. 

As a real estate agent, you must understand the importance of being safe on the field. You may or may not have come across some of the safety tips in the real estate business and field. 

So here are some tips and technologies to remind and educate real estate brokers on how to protect themselves in the field. 

Meet in a safe place

You might be thinking that everyone knows that they should meet a stranger in a public place. But sometimes in the real estate business, in a hurry to convert leads into customers, you just agree to meet at a not-very-safe place because the customer may be claiming to be too busy. They can be manipulative. Do not fall for their words. 

If someone who is not a personal referral request that you show them a property, make sure that you meet them at your office or public coffee shops first and get their contact details. You can ask for an ID, nothing wrong. 

Remember not to share too much information. You don’t even have to tell them your full name or home phone number/ address. 

Be vigilant

Sometimes you may be suspicious of someone even if it is a personal connection or even if you met them before. 

You can simply call someone up in front of the customer and tell your friend that you are at ‘this’ location, that ‘the plan’ is up (like a pre-planned family gathering or event), and that you will be done by ‘this’ time. 

It will help if you have a plan prepared to leave the customer in case something feels off. You can think of a story beforehand that will help you excuse yourself from the situation. You can say it is a family emergency that you have another appointment or that the office needs you now. 

Alternatively, you can share your live location with your colleagues at work or family and friends who can track your whereabouts and come to you swiftly if needed.

You can also use code words in your team. So when you call your colleague and mention that you want some details from the ‘red’ file, they know that you are in danger and that you need to be rescued immediately.

If you don’t feel safe showing the property to a customer, you can refrain from entering closed/ small rooms or you may just stand near the exit/ entrance saying you are to receive someone else (your manager for example) and ask the customer to have a look around. 

Do not take risks – if you feel something is off about the other party, then make sure you are safe and protected while dealing with them.

For example, if a customer asks to meet at a not-so-public place, you may inform him that you are bringing a business partner with you or request to change the location to someplace with a crowd. 

If you are asked to meet in the late evenings or nights, you can simply request to reschedule for the next day.

Scan your surroundings

An extra pair of eyes to watch you will always add a layer of safety. 

If you are visiting a secluded property listing or a gated community, just introduce yourself and inform the guards or the immediate neighbours of your meetings. 

You should know the neighbourhood of the property and be aware of all the exits and routes to escape if need be. 

Position yourself between the client and the exit door. 

Plan an escape route.

Check their background

The real estate business gets its customers through word-of-mouth referrals. Performing background checks is necessary before getting into a deal with your customer. You never know who you are working with. So trust your suspicions, and run a background check (has the customer indulged in some fraud?).

Set your boundaries

Set boundaries with your customers. Tell them you only meet clients during the office hours like 9 am – 6 pm. Inform them that your real estate agency forbids meeting customers in private spaces. If there are some company policies, let them know.

Communicate your boundaries clearly with your customers so that they won’t request you again about meeting outside work hours, in unfriendly environments, or question your behaviour.

Organise your open houses

When you are allowing potential customers to visit a real estate property during a scheduled time on a specific day, there may be too many visitors for only one real estate agent to handle. 

So, you need to be extra careful and have 2 or 3 more of your colleagues or friends to help you maintain the decorum of the house.

You may also warn the property owner/ seller to keep away their valuables to avoid any mishap. 

And if you take the details of who is entering and exiting the house, the visitors will be careful from their end to not create any ruckus or theft. You can even collect their IDs before they enter the property listing.

Another option is to install CCTV cameras to let every visitor know that they are under surveillance. 

Get familiarised with safety tech devices

Almost every phone, Apple or Android has a safety feature on their phones. For some, it may be clicking the power button 5 times continuously to share your location with your emergency contacts. You may even have the option to alter the number of times you press the power button and change your emergency contacts on your phone. Some phones even have a feature of starting a video recording or making a loud sound to alert everyone around.

Make use of this technology and set up safety on your phone today! Practice it till you get a hang of it and inform your friends that they are your emergency contacts.

If you want maximum security, you can wear a panic button device (it can be disguised as a piece of jewellery). This will help you inform the ones monitoring your whereabouts that you need protection. You can use these devices even if your phone is missing or not near you. 

This being said, you must ensure that the phone and the devices are charged.

Partner up

If you are someone who works alone, it is better to pair up with someone even if it means splitting the commission.

As partners, you can show up together to the initial meetings with a new client. 

You can tell each other who you are meeting, at what place, and from when to when.

You can also practice safety measures together, like having code names, monitoring panic buttons, and sharing live locations. 

Use digital platforms 

Why show them a property listing if you can give them a virtual tour of the place?

This could be the first step.

Walk them through the property virtually first. If they seem to like it and ask the right questions, you can then meet them at the property. 

If they want to connect with you and discuss matters further (like the features of the house/ property or the pricing or the legalities) you can connect with them over Zoom or other platforms to meet online.

Be careful not to be fooled by fake digital transactions. They could be planning a scam and you could be duped. Always go by the company policies in terms of legalities and transactions however personal the customer is to you.

Be ready to self-defend yourself

First, scream. Someone might hear you or it might scare the attacker away. Activate your safety devices.

In case no one shows up and all your plans of escape seem to be of no use, your last resort would be to fight by yourself. Practicing self-defense regularly is always an advantage. You will be more vigilant and aware of your surroundings. It will help you move and escape swiftly. You will be more confident if you know how to defend yourself. 

Self-defense will improve situational awareness. You can be a discerning agent in a dangerous situation and make the best decisions to protect yourself (like coming up with excuses based on the situation or finding the nearest exit).

It is recommended that you carry pepper spray when meeting someone new or suspicious. You should also know how to use it because the wrong methods of practice (how and where to spray) may do more harm than good.

Be careful during site visits

If it is your first time, ask someone on-site to assist you through the construction. 

Wear a helmet as you enter the building under construction. 

Watch your step – you should always be careful about where you are stepping. There can be newly dug-out holes or some shafts that you are unaware of. 

Remember where your car is parked so you can escape quickly in dangerous situations. 

If not properly monitored, construction site visits may be life-threatening. So be extra careful while visiting sites that are under construction. 

Preventing yourself from being in threatening situations is always better than having to deal with them. You should know how to avoid danger and if the need arises, protect yourself in such situations.

You can practice these tips the next time you go out on business or to meet a customer.

Follow these until you feel safe (and be vigilant and aware even after you feel safe) to deal with the customer offline. 

Don’t overrule your intuition when something feels suspicious. Remember that your protection must be prioritised over the paycheck. 

Safety before sale!

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