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How REALTORS® Can Avoid Becoming a Victim of Crime

May 17 2011

purse snatcher 200px(Personal) Safety First

Think of dangerous jobs. What comes to mind? Spies...deep sea fishermen...fire fighters? Believe it or not, real estate agents can fall into this list. Understanding the safety risks associated with real estate and finding ways to minimize these risks can give REALTORS® (and their loved ones) valuable peace of mind.

Risks for REALTORS®

Espionage and devastating acts of nature may not make an appearance in the "day in the life" of a real estate agent, but there are several very real risks that REALTORS® encounter.

  • Entering vacant homes. Vacant homes can attract squatters. Whether they're people or animals, these squatters won't be thrilled with you entering the premises. Vacant homes can also fall victim to structural damage that may lead to a safety hazard.
  • Meetings with new clients. Oftentimes, new clients are complete strangers. The vast majority of these people are wonderful and completely trustworthy. However, they could have ulterior motives, motives that don't just stop at theft.
  • Waiting solo at open houses or showings. An open house or a showing is a time when a criminal can plan to get you alone.
  • Travel. Travel can be risky. You can get lost or have a car accident. If you're in the car with an unfamiliar client, this opens up a whole new level of risk – for obvious reasons.
  • Burning the midnight oil. You know from experience that real estate isn't a 9 to 5 gig. Your busy schedule may mean long days – and nights. If you're at the office or with a client, nightfall is a vulnerable time.

Tips and Tools

The good news for REALTORS® is that technology is finally catching up to the risks of the job. Moby is a new Smartphone app that helps REALTORS® manage risky situations. With Moby, you can schedule a regular check-in. Your phone will ask if you are all right; if you do not respond, Moby notifies your contacts with your exact location. The Tracking Tool will automatically send your location to contacts, even without a prompt. The Alert Tool allows you to send an alert with your location to your contacts or emergency services with only the touch of a button.


There are also low-tech tips that any agent can implement on their own, for free.

  • Inspect the exterior of a vacant home carefully before entering. If there are broken windows or kicked-in doors, call the police.
  • Buddy-up. Take a trusted friend, family member, or coworker with you if you're showing a home, holding an open house, or meeting with a client for the first time.
  • If you don't bring a buddy with you, at least inform them of where you are going, who you will be meeting, and when you expect to be back.
  • Avoid nighttime activity as much as possible.
  • When you meet a client for the first time, suggest your office as a meeting location and ask them for ID.
  • Don't worry about hurt feelings. Being polite is certainly important, but your safety is the top priority. If a situation or a person feels "wrong," don't hesitate to make an excuse and get away quickly.
  • Try to avoid flashy clothing or heavy jewelry that might catch the eye of a potential criminal.
  • Don't transport strangers in your car.

I've pulled these tips from resources I found on REALTOR.com. They have an excellent Field Guide to REALTOR® SafetyField Guide to REALTOR® Safety that you may want to check out.

Learn more about Realtor.com.

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