There is no limit to how safe someone should be, especially when their line of work revolves around working with strangers. While it is best to come off cheerful and straightforward, there is no shame in keeping a bit of privacy when it comes to your personal life.
Real Estate Agents in Orlando, Florida know that there are precautions to be taken on the job; while distancing your personal life from work can give you an added degree of protection, there are other precautions that can be taken to ensure safety first. Always keep in mind, no deal is worth your life and if it feels off – chances are it is, so follow your gut.
If you’re just entering your career, or want to buckle down on security, here are a few tips to keep you safe on the job.
- Try to keep your business hours during the day. Evening showings can be dangerous, especially if they’re unexpected or sudden. Inform clients that you only do viewings during the day, and offer to schedule them within those hours. Many clients, especially women, couples, or people with families will understand.
- Avoid going to viewings or holding an open house alone. Have a friend, coworker, partner, or associate accompany you on viewings, especially on trips where you’re unfamiliar with the area or if the appointment has to be late in the day.
- Keep your phone with you. A cellphone can be a life-saving device, especially if you find yourself in a dangerous situation. Download one of the many ‘Keep Safe’ apps for your phone which offer one-push panic buttons, text or phone call alerts to a specified person in your contact list providing your GPS location, find hospital locations and much more!
- Do not let clients ride in your car. Driving requires a lot of focus, and someone with bad intentions may take advantage. Offer to call them a taxi or Uber instead. Meet them for the first time at your office, and encourage them to meet you at the property or to follow you as you tour.
- Never give out personal information. In the digital age where everyone has a cell phone as their main form of contact, in order to protect against unwanted calls at unwanted hours or reverse lookups, grab a google number that forwards to your phone – this is a much safer way for you to communicate. Some prospects are chatty, be mindful of the conversation and where it is going – they may ask questions like what neighborhood do you live in, what’s your favorite thing to do in the area you live – these could be leading questions to bigger topics that could put your safety at risk.
- Let the client walk in front of you. While it may be tempting to lead the way, letting the client walk in front is safer. Not to mention, they can feel in control while you direct from behind. Whether they are harmless or not, it’s a way to make them feel like they are in the captain’s seat during this big decision.
- Carry pepper spray. While this method seems extreme, it can save your life if you have it on hand. Know how to use your ‘weapon’, and do not hesitate to use it if someone threatens or tries to attack you.
- Verify your buyers. Look into your buyers identities beforehand, and run a background check. Tools exist to make it easy for you to run their background and credit straight from your phone. If you have contacts with their previous agents, try asking them what kind of people they are before agreeing to a solo viewing.
- Know the property. Check exits and get a good feel for where you are before a viewing. This way, if you need to escape, you aren’t blindly fumbling around.
While these methods can seem extreme when you’re dealing with families, elderly people, or single women, you should always play it safe. Staying vigilant helps you spot disaster before it strikes, and preparing for the worst-case scenario can save your life. While you shouldn’t be anxious about your job, there’s no shame in being cautious.