The flexibility and earning potential of being a real estate agent make it a sought after job—but it’s one that comes with risks. Think about the things your parents told you not to do as a kid. “Don’t talk to strangers.” “Don’t get in a car with a stranger.” “Don’t go inside a stranger’s house.” Those are the things real estate agents do every day. From driving clients around to showings, to walking them through homes and holding open houses, agents are often in situations that make them vulnerable to crimes.
Here are some tips that ALL real estate agents should follow to ensure they’re safe on the job.
1. Carry pepper spray
Though you’ll likely never have to use it, it’s always wise to carry pepper spray. It can blind your attacker and give you time to get to safety. Make sure it’s somewhere you can easily and quickly grab it. It’s ideal to have it in your hand with your finger on the trigger when you’re walking alone, or clipped to your driver side door when driving. Make sure to test the nozzle every once in awhile by spraying it on the ground away from you. Since it does not get used much, you don’t want to find out the nozzle is jammed when you do need it.
2. Don’t multitask when getting out of your car
It’s important to always be aware of your surroundings when you’re on the job. Avoid multitasking like texting or talking on your phone while you’re getting out of the car. It makes you more vulnerable to potential attackers.
3. Meet new clients at your office or somewhere public
If you haven’t met a client and don’t yet feel safe being alone with them, suggest meeting somewhere public. Get to know them and make sure you’re comfortable being alone with them on house tours before you go. If something feels off after the first meeting, bring someone with you or be sure to let someone know what your schedule is. It’s always good to trust your gut.
4. Get a copy of the person’s driver’s license
Make sure the person you’re working with is who they say they are by getting a copy of their driver’s license.
5. Drive your own car so you have a way to leave
Don’t get dropped off at showings or open houses, or ride with clients in their cars. If something happens, you want to have a quick way out.
6. Walk behind prospective buyers, never in front
Don’t make yourself vulnerable by walking in front of clients. Ask them to walk in front of you so you feel safe. This also allows you to stay on their pace as they view the home.
7. Keep your keys and cell phone on you at all times
Having your cell phone handy makes it easy to dial 911 if necessary. Don’t ever set your keys or phone down where they could be grabbed.
8. Enroll in a self defense course
Knowing how to protect yourself is not only smart, but really empowering. Hopefully you’ll never have to use the skills you learn, but it’s wise to have them in your back pocket just in case.
9. Drive on the route with the best light
Take routes that are well lit at night, so you’re less of a target. It may cost you a few extra minutes, but it could also save your life.
10. Make sure you’re aware of exits
When touring homes, always be mindful of where the exits are, so that you can get yourself to safety as efficiently as possible should a situation arise.
11. Document your schedule
Document your tour schedules, including who you’ll be touring with, what time and where you’ll be. Make sure at least two other people can easily access this information, like co-workers, family members, managing brokers, friends, partners, etc. If you’re touring with a new client or have concerns, don’t be afraid to ask someone to check in with you after your tour or open house.
12. Have your routes pre-planned
If you don’t know where you’re going and have to stop to look at a map or GPS, you give off the signal that you’re lost and/or in an unfamiliar area. Always be prepared and act like you live in the neighborhood that you’re in.
Written by SafeWise Team
The SafeWise Team is here to help you keep your home and family safe. Whether you’re looking to pick a security system or identify and remove common risks in your home, we’re here to help you find the best products and well-researched answers. At SafeWise we combine our years of experience in home safety and security with user reviews and feedback to help take the guesswork out of living safe. Learn more