You are viewing our site as an Agent, Switch Your View:

Agent | Broker     Reset Filters to Default
Holiday Tips for Electrical Safety
The holiday season has arrived and your clients and contacts may be getting ready to decorate their homes for the holidays. If your clients are gearing up to go all out, be prepared to offer some guidance to help them stay safe as they decorate. As their real estate agent, you might be able to provide some tips that will keep them (and their home) safe during the holidays – especially if they're thinking about selling their home or if their home is currently on the market.
MORE >
How to Overcome the Pain of Passwords
Are you like me and password dumb? Do you use the same password all the time (NOT a good idea)? Different sites require upper case, lower case, a number, and a symbol of some kind, and passwords have to be a minimum of eight digits long. Now let's add even more reasons to forget passwords, like facial recognition, password managers, and a ton of other apps and programs. How many times have you tapped on the "Forgot Password" link and a site emails you 23er&#7di1? So you go in to change your password, and the one you enter is rejected because you have used it once in the past 10 years! How about sticky notes on your computer or desk?
MORE >
Friday Freebie: Guide to Staying Safe without Sacrificing the Sale
MORE >
Privacy Changes Coming to Facebook Groups
Facebook, one of the largest social media platforms in the world, is one of the best tools you can use as a real estate agent. It offers endless opportunities for you to engage with potential buyers. One of those opportunities, Facebook Groups, enables you to create a group that can be targeted to a specific location or audience. While Facebook Groups are great, there are some upcoming changes that may impact the success of these groups. To get you ahead of the changes, we outlined them and how they may impact how you use groups for your business.
MORE >
EXCLUSIVE: Interview with a Realtor Who Escaped an Attack
MORE >
Safe Selling: Protecting Yourself as a Real Estate Agent
It's September, which means it's Realtor safety month. Real estate can be an extremely rewarding career, but it comes with its own set of dangers. The people and even places you run across can be hazardous. Even driving in your car puts you at risk. Here are some things you should keep in mind when going about your job. We've also included some apps and programs you should consider investing in to make sure you are as safe as can be.
MORE >
Property Fraud Is Rampant. Don't Let This Happen to You or Your Clients
MORE >
What's the Safest Way to Manage Your Passwords?
It may be the biggest Catch-22 of technology: password protection keeps your data safe. After all, one in five Americans says they have experienced a compromise of an online account. But to be genuinely safe experts recommend using different, highly complex passwords: a mix of random letters, numbers, and characters. However, that approach makes these passwords nearly impossible for most people to remember!
MORE >
How NOT to Get Ripped Off by Your Contractor: Protect Your Clients and Your Properties
MORE >
Dealing with Squatters: How to Ask Them to Leave
So, you've calmed an agitated squatter in the home you're showing. What's the next step to take in order to show the listing without provoking a confrontation? Watch this week's episode of 'Real Answers' to find out. In the video above, you'll learn: How to safely give squatters options to leave so you can show the home What to say if they choose not to leave Why respect and appreciation for the squatter and their decision are key Why you should never issue ultimatums if you want to stay safe Sample scripts you can use throughout the interaction
MORE >
Dealing with Squatters: How to Calm an Agitated Person
MORE >
Dealing with Squatters: Avoiding Confrontation During a Showing
Last week, we showed you what to do when the vacant home you're showing has a squatter. If you used the techniques we discussed, the squatter may leave the property voluntarily--but what happens if they refuse? That's what we're exploring in this week's episode of "Real Answers." Watch the video above to learn: Why you should treat them like the homeowner to avoid a confrontation A sample script for starting a conversation with them What NOT to say to avoid aggravating a squatter The physical signs that hint that a squatter may escalate the situation No matter how considerate your approach, sometimes a squatter may want to confront you anyway. Tune into next week's episode for tips on talking down an agitated squatter!    
MORE >
How to Show a Vacant Property Safely, Part 2
MORE >
How to Show a Vacant Property Safely, Part 1
Vacant properties, while convenient to show, present a host of safety issues for real estate agents. First among those concerns, according to Real Safe Agent CEO Lee Goldstein, is the potential presence of squatters. In this week's episode of "Real Answers," a video series on real estate safety issues, Goldstein shows us how to deal with vacant homes in general and squatters in particular. Watch the video above to learn: What to do before you enter a vacant listing Why it's important to take accompaniment when previewing or showing vacant properties And more! Next week, be sure to tune in again as we cover Part 2 of how to show vacant listings!  
MORE >
Safe Selling: Reading the Predator, Part 2
MORE >
Safe Selling: Reading the Predator, Part 1
Throughout this video series, we've showed you how to deter predators. But what happens when you realize the person that you're with actually IS a predator? And what are the signs that tell you it's time to exit the house you're showing and get to safety? Watch the video above to find out the subtle, physical signs that a predator is gearing up for an attack.
MORE >
Safe Selling: Showing Prep Tips for When You Can't Arrive Early
MORE >
Beyond CCPA and GDPR: New Digital Privacy Developments that Realtors Need to Know
We recently talked about the new California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) and its impact on the real estate industry in the United States. CCPA is the first domestic state regulation after the EU's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), and although CCPA isn't as far-reaching as GDPR, it will mean a change in the way real estate agents in the US handle and manage personal identifiable information for their clients and leads. Unlike the GDPR, CCPA is based in this country and, much like GDPR, has inspired other new privacy regulations in other states that are reflective of CCPA and the GDPR.
MORE >
Safe Selling: Stay Out of Outbuildings!
MORE >
Google Flags Websites that Are Not HTTPS as Not Secure
It's for your clients. It's for your security. It's for Google. Our team heard "rumblings" as early as two years ago from Google strongly "advocating" website owners move to HTTPS encryption to make the Internet secure and protect the privacy of your users. If you have not yet acquired an SSL certificate, you may have already noticed Google has flagged your website as "Not Secure" in Chrome.
MORE >
Safe Selling: Easy Tricks for Navigating Stairs
MORE >
Safe Selling: Opening a Lockbox and Door
Never turn your back on a client... and we mean that literally. To prevent finding yourself in a vulnerable situation with a prospect, we know to never physically turn away from them. But what should you do in times where that seems inevitable--like opening a lockbox or door? In this week's Safe Selling video, we talk about just that. Watch the video above to learn: Precisely how to stand so that you can open a lockbox while still being able to see the client How to open a door and walk through so that your back is never to the client How to come off as warm and welcoming when opening door or lockboxes, rather than awkward or standoffish.
MORE >
Safe Selling: Dealing with the Dangers of Master Suites
MORE >
Safe Selling: Why Bedrooms Are a Danger Zone During Showings
As an agent, you've heard it a hundred times: don't go into the basement or attic during a showing because you can easily get trapped and assaulted by unsavory prospects. While that seems like a no-brainer, there's another place in the house that you need to be cautious about--and for very similar reasons. That place? Bedrooms! In this week's Safe Selling video, we break down why bedrooms are a danger zone for agents during a showing. Watch the video above to learn: The two major reasons that bedrooms are unsafe for agents Why bedrooms are ideal for carrying out an attack What to do when a client has a question about a bedroom Where to safely stand when a client is viewing a bedroom
MORE >
Safe Selling: Quick Hack for Keeping a Safe Distance from Prospects at a Showing
MORE >
Safe Selling: The 'No Influence' Sales Strategy
Here's something you can try on your next showing: the 'No Influence' sales strategy. It's a showing technique you can use to keep yourself safe from potential predators--all while making legitimate prospects feel like a million bucks. From childhood, we're taught to make others comfortable in our presence, and as Realtors, a certain interpersonal ease is important in building a thriving client base. Because of this, too many agents ignore their gut instincts to protect themselves during in-person interactions with new prospects. They fear alienating a prospect by making them uncomfortable. The No Influence technique lets agents seem every inch the gracious guide during a showing. Meanwhile, behind the scenes, this strategy actually allows agents to subtly position themselves in a protective manner during showings. Check out this week's Safe Selling video to learn more about this technique. Watch the video above to: Get a script to use with prospects during the home tour Learn why this technique pleases legit buyers and deflates predators
MORE >
Safe Selling: Why You Should Take the (Literal) High Ground
MORE >
Safe Selling: How to Maximize Your Visibility During a Showing
The appointment is set, and you've just arrived ahead of your prospect for a showing. Beyond previewing the home to learn its layout and features, this is the perfect time to prepare the listing so that you're safe during the showing. How? As we've learned, the first step is to open all the blinds and turn on all the lights so that neighbors can see in. The next step? "Blocking" your presentation. "Blocking" is a theatrical term that means planning where you're going to stand. In the case of real estate, that means planning where you're going to stand during different segments of your showing presentation. Watch the video above to learn: Why windows are your key to staying safe Why it's important not to stand somewhere you can't be seen from the outside of the listing The red flag that predators may display when you've denied them an opportunity to attack
MORE >
Safe Selling: 4 Times You Should ALWAYS Have a Showing Buddy
MORE >
[Best of 2018] Safe Selling: Screen Prospects with This Easy Phone Trick
We're continuing an annual tradition of counting down our top 10 articles of the year. The following article was originally published in November and is #5 in our countdown. See #6 here. We're keeping it short and sweet this week with a quick trick you can use over the phone to reveal 'red flags' that suggest a prospect might be dangerous. You recently learned the basics of spotting red flags in prospects. In this week's 'Safe Selling' episode, discover a trick called 'The Training Play' that can help you gauge a prospect's hidden motives. Watch the video above to: Hear a sample script for using the Training Play on the phone Find out which vocal cues to be alert for Learn how to tell if you should take another agent with you on a showing Stay tuned until next week's episode of Safe Selling!  
MORE >
Safe Selling: The 3 Things You Should Do to Prepare a Home for a Showing
MORE >
Safe Selling: Use the Meet Time to Establish Power and Control
"Always take power and control wherever you can." That's the advice from agent safety expert Lee Goldstein. In this week's "Safe Selling" video, Lee shares another way that agents can turn off potential predators--by taking control of what time you'll meet a prospect for a showing. It's a simple tactic. Rather than simply agreeing to meet a new prospect at the time they suggest, Lee recommends telling the prospect you can meet them at an alternative time. Because predators look for weakness and subservience in victims, this minor pushback may signal to them that you aren't an easy target, and that YOU are the one in control. Watch the video above to learn: Why this tactic turns off predators, but leaves real clients unphased Why you should never apologize or ask if the alternate time is "okay" with a prospect
MORE >
Safe Selling: Using Property Information to Deter a Predator
MORE >
Safe Selling: Screen Prospects with This Easy Phone Trick
We're keeping it short and sweet this week with a quick trick you can use over the phone to reveal 'red flags' that suggest a prospect might be dangerous. You recently learned the basics of spotting red flags in prospects. In this week's 'Safe Selling' episode, discover a trick called 'The Training Play' that can help you gauge a prospect's hidden motives. Watch the video above to: Hear a sample script for using the Training Play on the phone Find out which vocal cues to be alert for Learn how to tell if you should take another agent with you on a showing Stay tuned until next week's episode of Safe Selling!  
MORE >
Safe Selling: The Office and Driver's License Myth
MORE >
Shady Prospect? Spot 'Red Flags' with This Technique
Have you ever gotten a 'funny' feeling when talking to a new prospect over the phone--like something just felt a bit 'off'? That may have been your intuition warning you that a prospect may not be who they seem. Today, we're exploring a communication technique that will help you uncover 'red flags' that warn you to be wary of a prospect. In this week's 'Safe Selling' video, you'll learn: What active listening is, and how to use it with prospects How to tell a legitimate buyer from a suspicious prospect The 'onion peeling process' of drilling down into what a prospect says and looking for inconsistencies Why inconsistencies in what a prospect tells you are a red flag And, bonus, while active listening can help you weed out shady prospects, it can also help you gain a deeper understanding of what real buyers need! Stay tuned 'til next week for more safe selling techniques!    
MORE >
5 Rules for Staying Safe on Social Media
MORE >
Safe Selling: How to Avoid Marketing that Attracts Predators
Does the information you provide in your marketing attract leads--or predators? Last week, we learned the difference between "strong" language that attracts leads and "weak" language that draws in predators. We're building on that lesson this week by exploring what types of marketing information attracts dangerous people, and what repels them. Watch the video above to learn: The difference between personal and professional information Why you should NEVER include personal information on your website or other marketing channels The personal details that can cause a predator to stalk you in person What topics your marketing should focus on instead Stay tuned for next week's 'Safe Selling' video!  
MORE >
The Smartest Agent Is the Safe Agent
MORE >
Safe Selling: Authoritative Language vs. Subservient Language
What kind of language do you use on your website and in your marketing? Is it weak, subservient language that attracts predators--or do you repel criminals with confident, strong language? Last week, we learned how agents can project power in their headshots in order to repel predators. In this week's Safe Selling video, we're taking the 'power' concept one step further by showing you how to convey power in your marketing copy. Why is being mindful of the language you use important? Well, if a predator has already started to focus on you, using subservient language is going to keep their attention on you. Because they're looking to have power over others, weakness in language signals that you're potentially a subservient target for them. Watch the video above to learn: The word you should NEVER use in your real estate marketing The phrase you should use instead Why strong language will attract more business while deterring dangerous criminals Tune in next week for more 'Safe Selling' advice!  
MORE >
Safe Selling: How Your Headshot Can Deter Predators
MORE >
How to Connect to a Computer Remotely
If you ever find yourself needing to access a computer remotely--either attempting to connect to a desktop computer at work or need to assist someone with their computer from afar--this primer is for you. Whether you have a Microsoft Windows PC or an Apple Mac, let's take a look at the basics you'll need to know.
MORE >
Safe Selling: Is Your Prospect Actually a Thief? How to Tell
MORE >
Agent Safety Month: 6 Tips for Real Estate Agents
September is Agent Safety Month, but we want real estate agents to be safe every day of the year. Real estate agents spend their days meeting with so many people, and they're entrusted with clients' homes during open houses and property showings. Beyond that, an agent's job often relies on their notoriety — and that means sharing a lot of information online. How can real estate agents take precautions online and offline to stay safe? Here are six of our biggest tips:
MORE >
Safe Selling: How to Identify Thieves
MORE >
Safe Selling: The Timeline of a Crime
Violent crimes against real estate agents don't start when the predator and the agent first meet. In truth, that first meeting is rather late in the timeline of a crime. Instead, these violent crimes start far earlier--when a predator first chooses a victim. Last week, we learned about the psychology of predators and the emotional cycle that drives them to commit a violent crime. Today, we're learning what that timeline looks like--from the initial selection to the research and fantasy stages all the way up to the attack. By understanding all the "pre-work" that occurs before a predator even contacts an agent, we can devise a plan to reduce the risk of becoming a victim. Stay tuned in the weeks ahead as this "Safe Selling" series continues to find out more about protecting yourself!    
MORE >
Realtor Safety: Preparing a Home for a Showing
MORE >
Realtor Safety: Navigating Stairs without Making Yourself Vulnerable to Attack
We're re-running this popular agent safety video series from Real Safe Agent on our broker channel to highlight the importance of safety on the job. Brokers, please feel free to share and/or reuse this content on your own blog, website, social media account, internal communications, and beyond! We're continuing our new video series of safety tips for agents in the field. Last month, we learned how to open a door and lockbox without being vulnerable to potentially dangerous prospects. Today, we turn our attention to safety tips inside a home during a showing--how to safely navigate stairs. Julie and Lee with Real Safe Agent point out that the conventional wisdom--allowing your prospect to go all the way up the stairs before you follow them--is wrong. Why? Because it gives prospects ample time to turn a corner out of your line of sight and potentially get into an ambush position. How should you climb a staircase instead? Watch the short video above for more information and a demonstration. Tune in next time for more agent safety tips!    
MORE >
Who's Attacking Real Estate Agents?
MORE >
Realtor Safety: Opening a Lockbox and Door
We're re-running this popular agent safety video series from Real Safe Agent on our broker channel to highlight the importance of safety on the job. Brokers, please feel free to share and/or reuse this content on your own blog, website, social media account, internal communications, and beyond! In-person showings are fraught with potential dangers for real estate agents. So how can agents stay safe on the job? Today, we're introducing a weekly video series that shows agents all the subtle things they need to know to stay safe on the job--while still presenting themselves as a friendly professional. In this week's video, Realtor Jason Ralston of Conway Real Estate demonstrates how to open a lockbox or property door without turning your back on your prospect--a vulnerable position for Realtors alone in the field. Watch this short video to learn: How to subtly position yourself while chatting up your client in a friendly manner How to deal with tricky situations, like homes with an outside door that swings out and an inside door that swings in How to stay safe while treating your client in a warm, welcoming way If you found this video helpful, please share it with your colleagues--and be sure to tune in next week for more Realtor safety tips!
MORE >
Realtor Safety: Prevention vs. Reaction
MORE >
Rebuttal: Why Background Checks on Real Estate Prospects Don't Work
On June 21, RE Technology published an article by Lee Goldstein of Real Safe Agent that called into question the efficacy of background checks, with a specific focus on the application of such by real estate agents seeking to use information as an additional safety tool. This rebuttal, by James Reilly of red violet and FOREWARN, explores the weaknesses of the original author's evaluation of background checks: According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, if you buckle up in the front seat of a passenger car, you can reduce your risk of a fatal injury by 45 percent. If seat belts are not 100 percent effective at saving lives, then they are rendered unusable and ineffective, and give a false sense of security, right? We should all immediately stop wearing them, right? Of course not. Debate around real estate agent safety is a good thing. The fact that there is ongoing conversation about safety protocol, exploring the strengths and weaknesses of varying tools and techniques, means that this important topic stays fresh in the minds of the men and women who, unfortunately by the nature of their business, have inherent risk due to the need for personal engagement with individuals about whom they have little to no knowledge. Unfortunately, the dispersal of information that is rife with inaccuracies, false and misleading conclusions, and reckless recommendations is, in my opinion, not only careless but grossly negligent. Anyone involved in real estate owes it to their fellow industry professionals to shoot straight. The referenced article strayed well from the mark. As the only instant identity verification and criminal record indicator specifically designed for the real estate market, we (FOREWARN) take issue with the author's claims and associated conclusions and thank RE Technology for allowing us the opportunity to respond. AUTHOR'S CLAIM: Through creative wording and misleading isolation of data and comparison, the author represents that the Department of Justice feels that commercial background checks are ineffective. FACT: Virtually every government agency utilizes commercial databases as part of any investigative endeavor. Additionally, companies across America use commercial databases to power various forms of background checks in their daily workflow. AUTHOR'S CLAIM: Of the 10.7 million arrests in 2016, only 1.4 million had a final disposition, which is required for a record to show up in a commercially available criminal background check. FACT: The statement that commercial criminal databases only have records with a final disposition is FALSE. This claim demonstrates perhaps the single greatest piece of evidence that the author has no background in the investigative data industry or that he intentionally presents manipulated numbers and statistics as facts, tying them together to create a false narrative around criminal coverage. A quality investigative resource will show arrests soon after they occur, regardless of whether there has been a final disposition. AUTHOR'S CLAIM: There is a 30 percent error rate of instant background checks due to spelling of names, and errors in DOBs and data entry (implying that they are useless). FACT:  Variances and human errors in data entry do NOT render industry-leading information solutions ineffective or unusable. Anytime humans are involved in the collection and input of data, certainly there are chances for errors. A quality data provider accounts for these errors through highly technical data fusion processes and algorithms that result in not perfect, but highly accurate matching. High quality criminal record repositories, coupled with advanced data science practices, provide highly effective insight for a multitude of use cases, including screening individuals before face-to-face engagement. Further, the author limits evaluation to criminal records. Background screening of prospects also allows the verification of identity to ensure the person an agent is engaging with is who they say they are. AUTHOR'S CLAIM:  The use of criminal background checks poses a legal issue. The author cites the Supreme Court for the proposition that "the use of background checks may be a violation of the Fair Housing Act." FACT: By making these blanket statements with no further color, the author is extremely disingenuous. Organizations around the country use background checks every day without violating the FHA. It takes more than just a background check to violate the FHA. It takes a subsequent action that results in discrimination in the sale, rental, or financing of dwellings, and in other housing-related transactions, based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status or disability (of which persons with criminal records are not a protected class under the FHA). To be clear, it is never okay to engage in discriminatory practices of any kind. Verifying a person's identity and understanding risk factors such as a criminal history to ensure one's safety is not the same as taking discriminatory action against a person because of their race, national origin or other protected characteristic. I think it's fair to say that the author would not have used this red herring had he known that FOREWARN is actually used by Housing Authorities. AUTHOR'S CLAIM: Only 37 percent of people charged with rape had a previous felony conviction at the time they were arrested for rape the first time. FACT: 37 percent of people charged with rape had a previous felony conviction at the time they were arrested for rape the first time. Even if the author's isolated statistic was the whole story, I'm confused as to how this supports his false narrative. In fact, the statement alone demonstrates that 37 percent of those charged had criminal records that could have found through a background check prior to their next assault. But consistent with the author's theme of disingenuous presentation of information, the same cited source (Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network) goes on to report that MORE THAN HALF of all alleged rapists have at least one prior conviction of rape, robbery, and/or assault and battery. Conclusion Not properly and comprehensively addressing agent safety can be catastrophic. In September of 2014, Beverly Carter, an Arkansas-based real estate agent and mother of three was murdered by individuals posing as prospective home buyers. "If Mom had been alerted on inconsistencies in the callers' story, she would not have handled that appointment the same way," says Beverly Carter's son and Founder and Executive Director of the Beverly Carter Foundation, Carl Carter, Jr. "With an application like FOREWARN, she would have immediately known that the spoofed phone number didn't match who they claimed to be. With more information at her fingertips, she would still be alive today." As executive management of a public company that provides information solutions to many industries, including real estate, I make no claim that I'm an unbiased voice. But through almost a decade of work with investigative data, dealing personally with law enforcement, other government agencies, and corporate and private investigators, I've been immersed in the world of, and the use of, commercial databases for risk mitigation and fraud prevention. As such, I emphatically believe that real estate agents should be armed with as much knowledge as possible. There is no single solution to the issue of agent safety. A comprehensive protocol of both tools and processes are needed at the agent, agency, and association level, to make a substantial impact on the safety of the professionals that are at the heart of making this industry thrive. Whether it be through FOREWARN or another information provider, the use of data to "know your customer" should be an essential part of that safety protocol for every agent across the country. The author seems to believe that unless a risk mitigation tool is 100 percent effective, agents are better off walking into engagements blind. I don't agree. Use your seatbelt. James Reilly is President of red violet (NASDAQ: RDVT) and FOREWARN.    
MORE >
What Anti-virus Tools Do the Experts Recommend?
MORE >
Why Background Checks on Real Estate Prospects Don't Work
Many real estate agents run background reports on new prospects before meeting them in person. However, a new study by the U.S. Department of Justice shows why commercial background checks may be ineffective and dangerously misleading. This article explores the weaknesses of background reports: The NCIC, National Crime Information Center, is the gold standard in criminal background check databases and is available ONLY to law enforcement. This database is the most complete and accurate record of arrests and convictions in the United States and is substantially more complete and accurate than databases used by commercial criminal background check products--which is why a Department of Justice report released this year is so disturbing. The DOJ Report This year, the DOJ released its Survey of State Criminal History Systems. The two-year study of arrests and convictions data from 2016 provides insights into why commercial background checks are ineffective. The report found that a remarkably low percentage of arrests and convictions are making it into the nation's most complete criminal history database. The following are some highlights of the report: Of the 10.7 million arrests in 2016, only 3.6 million were reported to NCIC Of the 3.6 million reported, only 1.4 million had a final disposition. (Final dispositions are necessary for a record to show up in a commercially available criminal background check) 2016 was the most complete year in the NCIC's history What these numbers show is that even if a commercial instant background check system is using the most complete criminal history database in the country, it will still only have information on 13 percent of the crimes. Additionally, we also need to take into account the estimated 30 percent error rate of instant background checks due to variances in the spelling of names, errors in DoB, and mistakes that occur in the data entry process. So what does all this mean for real estate agents? If a prospect rapes, assaults, or kills a real estate agent, is convicted, goes to jail, gets out, and calls an agent to show him a house and the agent runs an instant background check, the agent has approximately an 8 percent chance of finding out about the crime. Predatory Behavior In addition to the incompleteness of criminal history databases, the very nature of crime against real estate agents makes reliance on criminal background checks problematic. Crime against agents is predatory crime, committed by true predators, and meets all the classic predatory behavior patterns. Consider what someone has to do to attack a real estate agent: The predator must "shop" for a victim (it is actually called victim shopping), choose a victim, research the victim (this research is associated with a fantasy stage as well as forms a basis for planning), choose a site, come up with a plan on how to get the victim to be with him at the site, come up with a plan for how to get the victim isolated where he or she can't be seen or heard by others while they are at the site, execute on all of those things, and then they still have to make an attack. These are not random opportunistic crimes committed by impulsive careless people with extensive felonious criminal "rap sheets." Additionally, predatory behavior, including the crime, is a progressive, obsessive-compulsive behavior pattern similar to that of a binge alcoholic. A predator's motive is power and control; they get an "emotional high" off their crime and all the events that led up to the crime. When visiting with an agent, they intentionally exert "dominance." This dominance is what causes agents to have uncomfortable feelings. Studies into various types of predators have shed light into their behavior patterns and lack of any criminal history while committing multiple crimes. On average, a rapist will have 10 victims in his adult life. (One individual raped 26 agents in 13 years before he finally got caught on the 27th.) Source: Repeat Rape & Multiple Offending among Undetected Rapists Other studies—such as Weinrott & Saylor's Self-report of crimes committed by sex offenders, published in the Journal of Interpersonal Violence—have found that, on average, a rapist will have 11 victims prior to being arrested the first time and they estimate that unreported rapes range between 68 percent to 92 percent. Only 37 percent of people charged with rape had a previous felony conviction at the time they were arrested for rape the first time, accoridng to the Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network. Fair Housing implications of background checks A discussion of instant criminal background checks would not be complete without considering the legal issues involved. Aside from the obvious legal implications of inaccurate reporting, according to the Supreme Court, the use of background checks may be a violation of the Fair Housing Act. In 2015, the Supreme Court ruled on Texas Department of Housing & Community Affairs v. Inclusive Communities Project, Inc. The opinion, written by Justice Kennedy, said that a party may prove violations of the Fair Housing Act by either showing intentional discrimination or that a certain practice has an adverse or "disparate impact" on protected classes. In a 2016 article entitled "What the Latest Fair Housing Guidance on Criminal Background Checks Means for Real Estate" about new HUD rulings, the National Association of Realtors said, "While persons with criminal records are not a protected class under the Fair Housing Act, HUD's recent guidance maintains that criminal history-based barriers to housing have a statistically disproportionate impact on minority groups. Because minorities are a protected class under the Fair Housing Act, HUD's guidance says that creating arbitrary or blanket criminal-based policies and restrictions could potentially violate the Fair Housing Act." Conclusions On the surface, running an instant criminal background check on prospects would seem like a sound practice. However, when you "look under the hood" and examine the completeness of criminal history databases, the error rate due to data variances, and the predatory nature of crime against agents, the effectiveness of background check systems in providing agents with "red flags" disappoints. Furthermore, instant criminal background checks pose a potential Fair Housing Act violation. Considering the lack of efficacy and potential Fair Housing issues, if an agent chooses to use instant background checks, he or she needs to do so with an understanding of the issues and risks involved. Lee Goldstein is the CEO of Real Safe Agent.  
MORE >
Why Should U.S. Agents and Brokers Care about GDPR?
MORE >
Tech Advice: How Safe Are Your Passwords?
When Yahoo! reported that someone hacked one billion of its accounts, it was a stunning revelation. Then it disclosed last fall that the names, dates of birth, email addresses, passwords and security questions and answers were compromised on all three billion of its accounts. For many, this news was devastating. That's because the vast majority of us use the same password or too close a variation of the same password for everything we access. Research also tells us that the average strength of our passwords is low. Also, most of us rarely change our passwords. In a 2017 survey, Keeper Security found over 80 percent of us reuse the same password, and nearly a third of us (29 percent) share a password with two or more people.
MORE >
Top 7 Safety Tips for Real Estate Agents
MORE >
The Browser Extension that Protects You from Facebook's Prying Eyes
There's been a lot of talk about Facebook lately--and we don't mean the run-of-the-mill "this is how you use Facebook to market your business" kind of talk. No, we mean the kind of talk that uses phrases like "Cambridge Analytica" and #deleteFacebook... in very angry tones. Facebook is under fire for violating users' privacy by allowing data firm Cambridge Analytica to access the personal information of millions of Facebook users, which the firm then used to influence elections across the globe, including in the U.S. So if you're concerned about your personal data in Facebook's hands, you're not alone. Facebook knows everything you do on their platform--and a lot about what you do even when you're off Facebook. While you can't prevent Facebook from knowing what you do while you're on Facebook, you can prevent it from tracking you while you're browsing the rest of the web. How? Well, that's thanks to a new browser extension called Facebook Container. The extension "contains" Facebook in a special browser tab that essentially isolates it from the rest of the internet--and therefore prevents Facebook from tracking you. It's like putting Facebook into a digital jail cell and forcing it to behave itself. Mo' zilla, mo' no problems Facebook Container is exclusive to Mozilla Firefox, as it takes advantage of a unique feature of the browser's architecture. (As does Firefox Multi-Account Containers, which protects your privacy across multiple sites--Google, Amazon, Twitter, etc.) If you haven't tried Firefox in a while, check it out. The browser underwent a major overhaul late last year, which doubled its speed, among other things. Firefox Quantum is the new version, and it's emerged as a serious challenger to Google Chrome's dominance in the browser wars. A few notes on privacy Online privacy is a complicated beast, so we thought we'd clear up few things about what this extension can and cannot do: Facebook Container makes it hard for Facebook to track your web browsing activities on third-party sites--but only when you're using the Firefox web browser. The extension is not available for other browsers like Chrome and Safari. Because the extension works on browsers only, Facebook Container cannot protect your phone from the Facebook app. (Your best protection from the Facebook mobile app is deleting it altogether. Then, you can use Firefox's mobile browser--with this extension installed--to access Facebook in a "Contained" tab.) If you click a Facebook Share button on a third-party website, it will automatically open in a contained tab. Just be aware that Facebook will know what you share when you use that button. If you use your Facebook credentials to log into other sites, they may not work with this extension. Same goes for Facebook comments and like buttons on third-party sites. This is because the extension deletes any cookies Facebook tries to store on your browser. This prevents Facebook from tracking you, but also makes it difficult to log into other sites with your Facebook ID. You can learn more about the Facebook Container extension in this post from the Firefox blog. Next Steps Firefox users: Download the Facebook Container extension Don't have Firefox? Get Firefox Quantum here Explore more Firefox browser extensions
MORE >
How Safe Is the Cloud?
MORE >
Geotagging: How It Can Put You at Risk, and 4 Ways to Stay Safe
Your safety with regards to technology is our concern. And at times we write about potential threats and provide you with resources, so you can stay safe. For this reason, today we write about the unpleasant side of geotagging. While geotagging can be fun and convenient, we believe it's important to be aware of how geotagging works. Because although we may like the benefits and convenience of it, there are also dangers that come with it.
MORE >
The Ultimate Guide to Email Security
MORE >
I H4TE [email protected]$$W0RD$!
We've all had that dreaded message appear, "Your password has expired, please create a new password." The IT folks that manage our systems tell us that we can't use the same password we've used before, it must contain special characters, it must x characters in length...ARGH!!! This is extremely frustrating. Don't they know that we have better things to spend our time on than remembering passwords and their archaic requirements? Being one of the aforementioned IT folks, I'd like to give you a few tips to make your life easier and hopefully even more secure.
MORE >
How Can You Make Your Data Safe?
MORE >
Friday Freebie: Realtor Safety Tool Identifies Dangerous Prospects
Weeding out dangerous prospects just got easier, thanks to a new member benefit from the National Association of Realtors. Now Realtors can not only verify the identity of clients before meeting them in person, but they can also see a score denoting that person's trustworthiness—and all in mere minutes. Introducing Trust Stamp, a free benefit from NAR NAR announced its partnership with identity verification tool Trust Stamp at its annual Realtors' Conference and Expo last weekend. Trust Stamp uses artificial intelligence to verify that a person is who they claim to be, and then taps into public records and social media to evaluate that individual's overall trustworthiness. The process is simple. Before meeting a client for the first time, Realtors send a request from Trust Stamp's interface requesting that the prospect create a profile to verify their identity. The prospect does this by submitting photos of themself and their government-issued ID, and linking at least one social media account to their profile. Trust Stamp then uses this information to confirm the prospect's identity, and rate their trustworthiness. The Realtor is provided a brief report with client's name, photo, and a color-coded numerical score that communicates how trustworthy they are. Based on the score, Realtors can decide whether or not to move forward with the prospect. Once they've reviewed a prospect's profile, the prospect's data is deleted from Trust Stamp's system, ensuring their privacy. Trust Stamp is a departure from typical safety apps, which are typically used to alert loved ones of an emergency or threatening situation. Trust Stamp, on the other hand, is the only app on the market that seeks to prevent potentially unsafe meetings from ever happening in the first place. Realtors can get started using Trust Stamp to protect themselves right away. Simply visit TrustStamp.net/RE and sign-in with your NRDS number to create your free account.
MORE >
Keeping Your Evernote Account Secure
MORE >
9 Mobile Apps that Keep Realtors Safe During Showings
Realtors are increasingly turning to smartphone apps to keep them safe on the job, according to new research. NAR's 2017 Member Safety Report says that 44 percent of Realtors use a smartphone safety app, up from 42 percent in 2016. Real estate agents use these apps to track their location and alert designated contacts in case of an emergency. Women are more likely to use safety apps--48 percent of female agents report that they do, while only 34 percent of men say the same. So which are apps are most popular among Realtors? Here's what NAR's survey says:
MORE >
How Agents Can Avoid Being Targeted by Predators
MORE >
Are Lockboxes Safe? 7 Facts to Soothe Client Fears
Ever had a seller who balked at the idea of using a lockbox? If you're like most Realtors, you've probably fielded questions from homeowners concerned about leaving their house key hanging from a box on the front door. Is it safe, they wonder? Will it make their home more vulnerable to crime? If you're not sure how to answer, share these seven lockbox safety facts to put your clients' fears to rest.
MORE >
Realtor Safety: What NAR's 2017 Report Reveals
MORE >
Why Real Estate Agents Need to Think About Cyber Security
In a former life, Jason Frazier was an information security professional. Today, as the CIO of Mason McDuffie Mortgage and the @RealEstateCIO, he still takes it very seriously. He contributed this post after an exchange on a Facebook Group. I did a training class last year for Realtors on cyber cecurity. The subject was the wire fraud scam. This happens quite a bit in the mortgage industry, and it absolutely does not need to happen. I just read a post in another Facebook group where an agent's client lost $72k. In this scam, it is almost always the agent's email that is hacked or spoofed. Best Practices
MORE >
Knowing What These Tech Buzzwords Mean Could Save Your Real Estate Business
MORE >
It's Open House Season! 4 Key Tips to Stay Safe
Open houses are a great way to bring more attention to your property. Not only do open houses help clients get a feel for the home, they also help them visualize living there. For agents, open houses are a great way to meet new clients and close deals faster and more. But among all the benefits of open houses is a very real challenge: safety. Check out this list of tips to help ensure your safety during an open house: 1. Have more than one host Most open houses are manned by one agent. From planning to execution to clean-up, everything is coordinated by this lone agent. It's a lot to do and this could lead to something slipping through the cracks—and could even be dangerous. Always have an assistant or another agent to help you host. It will help keep things on track, and you'll also have more than one set of eyes on everyone coming and going. 2. Inform people Inform the local police station of your event—they might just drive around the area during the open house. This will give you a sense of security knowing help is nearby and accessible. Inform neighbors and ask them to keep an eye out for you. They will know if something is out of the ordinary. You could also have a call buddy. Inform this person that you will call/text them every hour, and if you miss one, they are to call you back. There's an app for that: Several, in fact. Use the safety features in apps you already use, like SentriSmart, or try a dedicated safety app like Real Safe Agent or Trusted Contacts by Google.
MORE >
Don't Get Caught by the Phishing Hook
MORE >
3 Ways Your Lockbox Can Keep You Safe
A tool that real estate agents use every day could be a powerful ally in staying safe on the job. That's great news for REALTORS®, 77 percent of whom report being always or often alone when showing a home to a new prospect, according to the WAV Group Real Estate Victimization Study. In fact, 51 percent of REALTORS® would like more safety support from their brokerage or association—making safety the most requested support category. But did you know that one tool that your brokerage or association provides, the humble lockbox, can help you stay safer in the field? Let's take a look at how. 1. Tap Into Your Lockbox's Agent Safety Feature Technology has changed the lockbox for the better, enabling the introduction of all kinds of new functionality. Today, REALTORS® can use their smartphone not just to open and manage their lockbox, but also to signal for help when needed. Last October, NAR subsidiary SentriLock introduced an Agent Safety feature that alerts your emergency contacts when you're in danger. It works by setting a timer that starts upon opening a lockbox with the SentriSmart™ mobile app. After approximately 90 seconds, the app asks the agent to confirm their safety status. REALTORS® can choose to confirm their safety and reset the timer for approximately 120 seconds later, confirm their safety and turn off the prompt, or send an alert with their location, time the lockbox was accessed and the agent's phone number to their emergency contacts. If the agent doesn't respond to the alert within 120 seconds, the app automatically assumes something is wrong and sends an alert. The feature is opt-in, which means that SentriSmart™ users need to activate this feature one time first before using it. To turn on the Agent Safety feature, go to Settings in the SentriSmart™ app to turn on the service. There, you can choose which contacts should be notified in case of emergency.
MORE >
Amateur Move: Are You Making One of These 7 Password Mistakes?
MORE >
Staying Safe with Pepper Spray Technologies
The "foot fetish creep" is back in action again. He started calling on Arizona real estate agents in 2014 but more recently is targeting the women in the Houston area with phone inquiries that, at first blush, seem legitimate but quickly turn provocative. When this serial caller asks female agents to take off their shoes to boost cell phone reception, it's a clear signal that something is not right. However, most often, potential threats to an agent's safety are more ambiguous and Realtors should be prepared with a defense plan. Pepper spray is the most commonly carried self-defense solution among agents, but this technology is only valuable when it is convenient to carry, kept secure when not in use, and is part of a comprehensive safety plan. Agents never know when or where they might face a dangerous situation, so a pepper spray technology should be comfortably accessible while not arousing undue attention from clients. Luckily, there are a number of fashionably disguised pepper sprays resembling items that might be carried in a pocket or a handbag. For instance, the popular keychain-style pepper spray is not likely to provoke alarm with clients. Even more clever, some pepper sprays have the appearance of a pen or lipstick, which are discreet and casual to carry. The gel by SABRE is especially handy in close quarters, such as at a home showing, as is has no airborne particles when deployed.
MORE >
SentriLock Adds New Mobile Agent Safety Feature
MORE >
REALTOR Safety: Comparing Pepper Spray Delivery Technologies
Open houses, vacant homes, unsecured properties, and remote locations are common meeting places for real estate agents. But, meeting strangers in strange places makes agents vulnerable to potential violent attacks. In fact, according to a recent report, 39 percent of agents—both male and female—have experienced a situation that made them fearful while working. Many agents choose pepper spray as a self-defense solution. But, choosing the right pepper spray is crucial—it could save your life. It's important to understand how the different spray delivery technologies work in various situations and environments to select the right one for personal safety. The newest and most versatile pepper spray technology available is gel, a glue-like substance that sticks to an attacker's face. Because the gel delivers in a stream pattern and does not convey airborne particles, there is very low risk of an agent accidentally contaminating unintended targets as a result of outdoor weather conditions. In addition, gel is also effective in indoor environments or in close quarters. A home defense model can deliver pepper spray from up to 30 feet away and the keychain style offers a range of up to 12 feet, providing one of the longest ranges of all the personal-sized pepper spray technologies. As of yet, SABRE is the only company to offer police-strength gel in keychain sizes--the most convenient size for agents to carry discreetly.
MORE >
Top Security Technologies for Realtors
MORE >
Understanding Self Defense Technologies for REALTOR Safety Month
September is both the anniversary of the notorious slaying of Arkansas real estate agent Beverly Carter and, fittingly, REALTOR® Safety Month. While policies and procedures for increasing agents' safety are on the rise in recent years, ensuring personal security still largely falls on agents themselves. According to a 2015 NAR report, pepper spray is the most common self-defense technology carried by agents. But not all defense sprays are alike; it is important for agents to understand the different formulations, their effects, and quality testing technologies in order to select the best security product. The original defense spray of the 1960s was based on a potent tear gas, known as CN or mace®. It is an irritant that causes tearing, coughing, and pain in the eyes, nose, mouth, and airways. Assailants sprayed with CN may experience temporary blindness because of tearing. However, the effectiveness of CN relies on the attacker's reaction to pain, so it may be ineffective against a person who is mentally ill or under the influence of drugs. As a result, CN-based sprays have largely been taken off the market and succeeded by formulas derived from different varieties of chili peppers. Pepper sprays, commonly called OC as an abbreviation for its chemical name oleoresin capsicum, is the most effective defense spray for agents. OCs cause inflammation that makes it difficult for an assailant to open their eyes and even breathe normally. In effect, it does not rely on an individual's pain response—increasing the chances for a would-be victim to get away.
MORE >
How Safe Are You? What a New Realtor Safety Report Reveals
MORE >
Realtor Safety Month Spotlight: 'Real Safe Agent' mobile app
September is Realtor Safety Month. Each September, we consider the unfortunate truth that being a real estate professional means taking on a certain amount of risk. Humanity has its dark side and too many Realtors get a glimpse of it in the process of meeting with customers and showing properties. Knowing what to do in different circumstances must be an instinct for real estate agents. Perhaps the best advice is that you should be prepared to give up anything but your life, especially if you are being threatened by a person who has a weapon. Real Safe Agent offers a training course on safety along with a really clever mobile app. A key feature of the app is that it looks like your phone's home screen when it is running. You keep it in your hand during showings and may choose from two types of alerts. The first type of an alert is for people that give you the creeps. It will find another local Realtor nearby to stop over and check on you (using mobile geographic locating technology). The second type of alert is a 911 alert—only much smarter than just calling 911. You can learn more about how the app works in the video below:
MORE >
REALTOR® Safety Webinar: Get Smart about Smart Homes and Your Safety (9/14)
MORE >
19 Tips to Stay Safe During Realtor Safety Month (and Beyond!)
September is Realtor Safety Month. It's also the first month autumn, which means that the days are getting shorter and darker. But just because there are fewer hours of daylight doesn't mean agents aren't working as much, however. They're still out there showing houses, even in the waning evening light. That's why now is a great time for agents to turn their attention to on-the-job safety. Realtors face unique safety challenges. Basic professional duties like showing vacant homes or meeting unknown prospects can make them vulnerable to attack. Fortunately, there are a number of basic precautions REALTORS can take to stay safe. We've rounded up the top safety tips from Real Safe Agent's free course on crime prevention for agents. Incorporate them into your business practices to help reduce the risk of being targeted. 1. Learn more about crime and criminals - Keep yourself safer by understanding the enemy. What motivates predators to commit crimes against agents? This article outlines the types of criminals to look out for, their motivations, and the nature of the crimes they commit. 2. Be mindful of your personal image - Criminals are often first attracted to their target via the agent's marketing materials, so be careful of the image you project. Avoid full body pics, and keep your outfit professional and conservative. Hold your head vertical, not tilted, to project an authoritative demeanor. Finally, avoid all hints of luxury to avoid attracting criminals looking for seemingly wealthy targets. To that end, keep your makeup and jewelry understated, and avoid pictures that include high-end items like luxury cars.
MORE >
6 Things You Should Do When Your Email Gets Hacked
MORE >
How YOU Can Help Prevent Violence Against Realtors
Violent crime against real estate agents has increased 300 percent since 2006, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In the face of this sobering news, a research and educational initiative is underway to reverse the trend. "What the industry has been doing isn't working," says Lee Goldstein. Goldstein is the founder and CEO of Real Safe Agent, a mobile app that taps into the local real estate community to crowdsource agent safety. Under Goldstein's leadership, Real Safe Agent is spearheading a study in cooperation with WAV Group and the University of Texas at Austin that will involve interviewing agents that have been victims of crimes, as well as individuals who have committed violent crimes against real estate agents. According to Goldstein, the goal is to be able to identify the signs that indicate that a prospect may be dangerous, as well as give agents questions they can ask to reveal a prospect's underlying intentions. Goldstein says these questions are designed to not alienate legitimate prospects, only glean the information agents need to stay safe. How You Can Help Want to assist this research and, in turn, the industry as a whole? Real Safe Agent is fielding a survey to identify the "specific behaviors, circumstances, and patterns that REALTORS can use to identify high risk individuals or situations." Agents and brokers can take this survey here.
MORE >
How Agents Can Protect Themselves from Email Scams
MORE >
5 Email Security Tips for Real Estate Agents
Real estate agents are good at multi-tasking on the fly! But the fast-paced, mobile nature of your career means that your email security could be at risk. To help you, we're sharing some email security tips from Inc. magazine, along with suggestions of our own! 1. There's no such thing as truly private email. All information stored and sent over email is vulnerable. Avoid sending highly personal information, including financial information and passwords, through email. 2. Public, unsecured Wi-Fi connections are vulnerable to email hackers. Your mobile device may invite you to use such a connection, when you are in a public location with free Wi-Fi. For security reasons, do not use unsecured Wi-Fi when checking your email account, or doing mobile banking or any online transactions. 3. Never open attachments in unfamiliar emails. Email attachments are a common carrier of malware. If you do not know the sender, OR the message seems incongruous with the source, do not open the attachment. 4. The same goes for links embedded in an email; do not click on suspect links. Watch for "counterfeit" link addresses that look like a known company name, but contain alterations in spelling or syntax. Use special caution when the URL link is shortened; if you do not know the sender, or have doubts about the veracity of the message, do not click.
MORE >
Gone Phishin'
MORE >
Security Alert: It's Time to Stop Using Internet Explorer!
Agents and brokers who are still using Internet Explorer (IE) will need to switch to a new web browser by next Tuesday, when Microsoft drops support for versions 8, 9 and 10 of its flagship browser. Version 11 of the browser will still be supported, however. That means if you run Windows 8.1 or 10, you don't need to worry about upgrading (yet) as IE11 comes pre-installed. Those running Windows 8 or earlier will need to switch to a new browser by next Tuesday to reduce security risks. Sad to see Internet Explorer go? Don't be. Internet Explorer has, for years, presented numerous security flaws that leave computers vulnerable to malicious attacks. The browser has also been the bane of web developers due to its notoriety for not following web standards and incorrectly rendering some web elements. Making the Switch Fortunately, switching browsers is not a painful process. Most modern browsers offer import wizards that make it easy to transfer over your bookmarks and options. The main Internet Explorer alternatives for Windows users are Chrome, Firefox, and Opera. Microsoft launched a new browser, called Edge, with Windows 10 that's intended to replace Internet Explorer. However, recent reports say that Edge is plagued by many of the same security issues as its predecessor, so you may want to stay away from it for now. Until then, making the switch is as easy as downloading the browser of your choice then installing it on your computer.
MORE >
Best of 2015: Screening Prospects Before a Showing
MORE >
Are Your Weak Passwords Leaving Clients Vulnerable?
Real estate agents are the gatekeepers of a lot of sensitive client data. While the solutions that store this data (for example, transaction and document management programs) have strict security protocols, client information is most often made vulnerable by the simplest of security missteps, like connecting to unsecured Wi-Fi networks. However, the most common security mistake agents make is in choosing a weak password. Weak passwords are easy for criminals to guess--and once they have your password, they have access to your data. Not sure if your password qualifies as an easy mark? Check out SplashData's most recent annual list of the worst password below. If your password resembles any of the following, it's high time to change it! (We'll share tips for choosing a strong password on the next page). 123456 password 12345 12345678 qwerty 123456789 1234 baseball dragon football 1234567 monkey letmein abc123 111111 mustang access shadow master michael superman 696969 123123 batman trustno1
MORE >
Realtor Safety: How the Real Estate Community Can Protect Itself
MORE >
Realtor Safety: Reading the Prospect
This month, we're publishing content from a course on Realtor Safety. This is the eleventh in a series of articles that teaches Realtors how to prevent being a victim of crime. Read the previous article here. A few of the most useful tools you have to keep yourself safe are your ability to read the prospect's body language, para-verbal communication, and verbal communication. Body language enompasses their body position relative to you, facial expressions, eye movements, hand position, etc. Para-verbal communication is all the parts of speech that are not the words themselves, such as tone, cadence (speed), and volume. When reading the following, it is important to keep a few things in mind: If a prospect is meeting you for the purpose of harming you, they will likely look for a place to isolate you so that you are not visible from the outside of the home. If you are following the guidelines, it will be difficult for them to do so and therefore they will become frustrated. Signs of frustration are detectable if you are observant. When someone is preparing for an attack, their adrenal glands will increase the amount of adrenaline in their body. This is also known as the fight/flight reaction. This increase in adrenaline produces observable signs. There is no hard and fast way to determine who is and is not a threat, nor is there a single telltale sign that someone has vio- lent intentions towards you. However, the following are some potential red flags.
MORE >
Realtor Safety: What is this feeling?
MORE >
Realtor Safety: How to Have a Safe Showing
This month, we're publishing content from a course on Realtor Safety. This is the ninth in a series of articles that teaches Realtors how to prevent being a victim of crime. Read the previous article here. Even though you have taken all the steps possible to ensure that the person you are meeting with is safe, you can never be 100% sure., That's why it's best to follow a safe showing routine. Arrival and Parking Arrive Early Make sure that you arrive early enough to the appointment that you can prepare the home and be ready before the prospect arrives. Expect the prospect to be running early. Parking Generally it is best to park in the street where possible so the prospect can park in the driveway—and so that they cannot block you in. However, if you can't park in the street, the following are some guidelines according to driveway type: Straight 1- or 2-car driveway Head in or back in, depending on which way places the driver side door closest to your most likely escape path Park with the end of the car as close to the street as possible. It's best to have the edge of the car stick out a foot or so into the street if possible to prevent from being blocked in.
MORE >
Realtor Safety: Using the Initial Prospect Call to Deter Predators
MORE >
Emergency Items Every Agent Should Keep in Their Car
As a Realtor, you spend a great deal of time in your car zooming off to showings, meeting new clients, and running errands for your business. And while your car should always be clean for clients, it should also be prepared for possible emergencies. Mother Nature is unpredictable at best, so it's important to have a car survival kit that can get you through floods, blizzards, basic medical distress, and the occasional flat tire. General items The following items make up the basic, day-to-day components of a car safety kit. You should have all of these items readily available in your car. Cell phone charger Bottled water Nonperishable snacks (choose items low in sodium that won't dehydrate you) Duct tape First aid kit Matches Glow sticks All-in-one tool, such as a swiss army knife Paper towels Area maps
MORE >
Realtor Safety: Evaluating a Property and Neighborhood
MORE >
Realtor Safety: Screening Prospects Before a Showing
This month, we're publishing content from a course on Realtor Safety. This is the sixth in a series of articles that teaches Realtors how to prevent being a victim of crime. Read the previous article here. Evaluations "Always bring someone on an appointment." Nice idea, but unrealistic. When something is ALWAYS important then it becomes NEVER important. However, understanding how to evaluate the prospect, property, and circumstances is the first step in assessing the overall risk of an appointment so you can make better decisions about your safety and the safety of your colleagues. Evaluating a Prospect Evaluating a prospect in your initial conversation is easily done with a sales technique you are probably already using – Active Listening. Simply put, Active Listening is a conversational style that allows you to gain the trust of the prospect and gets them to provide additional information. In addition to allowing you to gain a deeper understanding of a legitimate prospect's needs and wants, it also allows you to uncover inconsistencies and red flags if a prospect is not legitimate. Let's take a look at an excerpt from an initial phone conversation: Prospect: I saw this house online and I'd like to see it. Agent: OK, what about the house appealed to you? Prospect: I just liked it. The prospect's answer should serve as a red flag. If someone liked a house enough to take the time to see it, there should be at least one specific thing that was attractive to him/her.
MORE >