September is Realtor Safety Month.
Dale McAnulty is a London associate who was a former range master and chemical-pepper spray instructor with the Fresno County Probation Office. He will conduct a live safety class.
“Our job is to educate, prepare and remind our associates of how best to protect themselves and their clients,” said London Properties president Patrick Conner. “To accomplish this, we have training for our new associates, reminders at weekly sales meetings, and we really hit the message home with the September Awareness Month.”
About 39 percent of Realtors nationwide experienced a situation that made them fear for their safety or the safety of their personal information, according to a 2016 Member Safety Report from the national association. Four percent of Realtors have been a victim of an assault, robbery or identity theft while on the job.
Over the years, Fresno-area associates have encountered transients squatting in vacant properties, theft of purses, electronics and valuables, and even some physical threats, Conner said.
“Although serious events are infrequent, our local real estate community has had enough incidents to remind us not to let our guards down,” he said.
Realtors are encouraged to use mobile apps like BMonitored, SafeTrek, bSafe, and Real Alert with quick screen access to emergency services, instant alarms and alerts that send your location and video of what’s happening in real time to emergency contacts. The survey showed that 42 percent of Realtors use such apps.
Lock boxes, which contain the keys to a house for sale, are helping to keep track of associates too. The boxes are more advanced, time stamping when a key is obtained and who the Realtor is.
Here are other safety tips:
- Go with your gut, trust your instinct.
- Have new clients Come Into The Office (“CITO” them). Know who they are before you meet them at properties.
- Avoid going into rooms with only one entrance/exit (clients can view alone).
- Park along the street to avoid getting blocked-in by a vehicle in the driveway.
- Make sure someone knows where you are. If you are showing houses, be sure to tell your spouse, a family member, friend or colleague.
- Have a protocol. Every associate should have a standard response to an emergency situation: A buddy system, an emergency speed dial, a code word, or distressed message.