[Waldwick, NJ – September 18, 2020] – September is REALTOR® safety Month. For the real estate industry, this is a very important topic. Although the industry is relatively safe, according to the National Association of REALTORS 2020 Realtor Safety survey results, 5% of Realtors® have been victims of crime, and 1/3 of members have felt fear at work. With that in mind, we asked Greater Bergen Realtors® (GBR) members and Realtor Safety Instructor David Ciliento to share some important tips to share with fellow Realtors® and colleagues stay safe and out of harm's way. David has exceptional knowledge and best practices tips to share. Here 10 helpful tips that all Realtors® should read:
- When getting a lead via the internet or phone please do your due diligence on the buyer, do not just go to the listing. For example, the buyer/client calls you and asks if the home is vacant. (ask yourself, ‘why is he/she asking that question?’). Vacant properties are one of the ways a predator targets Realtors®.
- Keep your guard up at all times. This doesn’t mean you do not have to be paranoid, but do not ever let your guard down. Just because the buyer has a business card saying his/her profession does not mean that is what they do. Robbery suspects usually do not act alone.
- On an Open House: How to avoid client thefts when showing a home and how you are responsible for their actions. Perpetrators will sometimes look for medications in Homes during Open Houses. (Have your clients secure all medications and expensive jewelry Etc.) Additionally, Predators/burglars will open closets but to try and find safes and spend a lot of time more so in the closet moving items around. Take note to this. Explaining to a homeowner about keeping their personal property safe during a showing / open house.
- Securing the listing / open house tips: Do not assume that everyone has left the premises at the end of an open house. Check all the rooms and the backyard prior to locking the doors. Be prepared to defend yourself, if necessary. Monitoring the lockbox on a vacant house/homeowner not present.
Make sure windows/doors are locked at all times when exiting the premises.
- If you feel you are in sight of danger, dial 911 on your phone before leaving your vehicle (phone apps that are available).
- Use a Buddy System if warranted.
- Use Key safety words with your office/spouse/friend. Examples: The tree down the block looks like it is falling down / etc. Using a buyer or seller worksheet and clues of what to look for.
7: Tips on how to avoid physical harm while showing a property: Driving your clients around using your vehicle (use client form, driver’s license / most important PRE APPROVAL) make sure you see the pre-approval and read it. If possible, avoid driving your clients or getting in client’s vehicles. Avoid sharing any personal information such as photos or posts about your children, home address, tweets, or status updates on controversial topics (that may make some people angry).
- Have pepper spray in your hand or coat pocket. (pepper spray over the counter is legal in most states (*check with your state online).
- On showings (especially 1st and 2nd) try to avoid wearing expensive jewelry (A predatory will observe this).
- Finally, when showing property, try to stay parallel or behind the client when showing the property (Most infractions happen on a stairway).
For more information on best practices and realtors safety tips, please visit www.nar.realtor/safety and don’t forget to Be Vigilant. Be Aware. Be Educated.