The saying “safety first” is something we’ve all heard. As kids, we learn about safety early on and it sticks with us.
“Never talk to strangers.”
“Never play with fire.”
“Be home before dark.”
We see reminders on the highway to “buckle up for safety” while driving.
This lack of safety only becomes an issue when someone breaks the rules. The text is talking about how safety is important in the working world. Workers are required to be careful and follow safety rules. The only time there is a problem is when someone breaks the rules.
Most professions prioritize safety.
Although safety should be a top priority for real estate agents, it is not always the case. This is because meeting strangers at empty houses is part of their job and sales is the main focus.
The U.S. Department of Labor considers real estate sales and leasing a high-risk and hazardous occupation. It is ranked as being as dangerous as being a security guard, convenience store clerk, taxi driver, or Uber driver according to safety expert Tracey Hawkins.
Since 1995, Hawkins has had almost 30 years of experience in the field of security. Her company, Safety and Security Source, provides training workshops to promote proactive safety measures. In 2021, she spoke at the National Association of Realtors national conference. As a former real estate agent, she is familiar with what agents should be looking for in regards to safety. Hawkins created a Safe Seller Security Checklist that includes 13 safety tips. These tips are shared with agents in workshops with the expectation that they will be passed on to sellers.
Safety Tip #1: Trust your gut
If you feel like you’re in danger, you should listen to your instincts and get out of there.
Safety Tip #2: Create witness potential
This is something that should be done especially at open houses. There should be signs placed around the property starting from the front door that say “Smile, you’re on camera”. Hawkins believes that this should be done even if there are no cameras around. She says that we act differently when we know that there are cameras around.
Safety Tip #3: Get all valuables and potential weapons out of sight
This means that you should remove any valuables from your home before you list it on the market. This includes laptops, jewelry, and guns, which should be locked up in a discreet location. Be sure to do a recheck before each open house to ensure that all valuables have been removed.
Safety Tip #4: Google the person before meeting them face-to-face
Hawkins suggest that you take measures to research a client’s background by checking their social media and websites, and using an affordable app like Forewarn. Forewarn is a company that provides information about a person with a simple name search. They claim that their technology can positively identify over 80% of people.
Safety Tip #5: Once you get to the property, be sure to check in with someone
Having a safety partner is important for every real estate agent. It is crucial to let someone else know where you are. Hawkins suggests using Google Maps to send your location information to that person as soon as you arrive at your destination, and to also inform the client that you are doing this.
Your competition is other agents who are also trying to grow their business by using similar lead generation strategies and tapping into the same sources. This can make it difficult to stand out from the crowd and attract more business.
I have been working in the insurance industry for over 26 years and have focused on agent safety. I believe that by prioritizing safety you will show clients that you care about them and their families. I would be happy to explain how to do this in more detail.
1. Learn About Clients’ Safety & Security Concerns
If you want to be successful in real estate, you need to understand the unique concerns of both buyers and sellers in your market. For example, sellers may be worried about having a lot of strangers coming into their homes, where their families eat and sleep.
The text is discussing the dangers that buyers may face when considering buying a home from a For Sale by Owner (FSBO). The text states that the FSBO may not be aware of the dangers that they are putting their family in by not using a real estate agent.
I usually teach agents to focus on safety, but this message is relevant to the whole industry. With over 3 million real estate professionals in the US, including mortgage brokers and lenders, insurance agents, title representatives, and home inspectors, we can all improve our client relationships by providing them with information about safety.
2. Get Expert Safety Training
You can’t talk about what you don’t know. This means that you should take as many safety and security training classes as you can. However, you should only take classes that are led by experts. This way, you will not only learn how to do your job more safely, but you will also be able to use this knowledge to help grow your business. You will become an invaluable resource for your clients
You should talk to your clients about safety and explain why you take the precautions that you do. For example, you might say, “I am asking to meet you in advance in accordance with my safety training. This is important for both of us since we don’t yet know each other.”
It is important to receive personal safety training so that you can lead by example and show your clients how crucial safety is. If you make safety and protection a priority for every aspect of your business dealings, it will become second nature.
3. Protect Your Seller, Their Home & Valuables
Teach your clients what they need to do to protect their valuables while their home is on the market. On my Real Estate Safety Info page on my website, you’ll find a security checklist that you can add to your listing presentation to help guide them.
People are worried about getting COVID and are taking precautions accordingly. seller s want to make sure that people aren’t touching things and spreading germs when they come into their homes.
Sellers are worried that burglars will case their homes during open houses and then come back to steal valuables that are not nailed down.
Your first listing appointment needs to start with a security walk-through. You should advise sellers to:
- Put mail and financial documents out of sight (to prevent identity theft).
- Remove medicine from the medicine cabinet.
- Remove valuable from jewelry boxes or put the whole jewelry box in a safe, secure place.
Giving the sellers advice will let them know that you are most concerned about looking out for their well-being.
4. Share Safety Resources With Buyers of Distressed Properties
When viewing distressed properties, there are unique safety concerns to take into account, especially when compared with viewing regular residential properties. Usually, REOs, foreclosures, and investment properties aren’t as well-maintained as retail residential properties.
Because they are dangerous, it is often not advisable to show properties that are in bad condition. People touring these homes may not be aware of the dangers, such as a gutter falling or a floorboard collapsing. Also, there is often no legal requirement for the seller to disclose the condition of the property to potential buyers.
Safety-trained agents should educate buyers about safety concerns before arriving at the property. This will ensure that buyers are aware of the safety protocols they may not have heard about before, including the need to meet in advance to ensure the safety of both parties.
The text is saying that news channels report on criminals who pretend to be agents and burglarize the homes of people who want to sell their homes. The author is suggesting that you tell buyers that this is a problem so that they can be more cautious.
Virtual meetings are the best way to verify the identity of the person you are meeting with. With everyone being accustomed to virtual meetings, this is a measure that should be continued even after the pandemic ends.
There are other resources that buyers of distressed properties can use. One resource is The National Clandestine Laboratory website, which allows people to check out houses in advance.
5. Teach Buyers How to Choose a Safe & Secure Neighborhood
The 21% of buyers that felt that honesty and trustworthiness were important showed in the NAR Home Buyers and Sellers Generational Trends Survey. Buyers usually request to only be show homes in safe neighborhoods.
You cannot legally share certain information with consumers even if you want to be forthcoming. For example, if you answer specific types of questions or provide crime stats or demographic data regarding any neighborhood, you might violate the Fair Housing Act and be accused of discrimination.
You can still add value even if you’re not able to help your buyer directly. Be prepared to act as a sounding board and protector for your buyers. Instead of risking your buyer’s trust by not answering their questions, provide them with resources that they can use to research and make their own decisions about what is acceptable and safe for them.
People want their homes and businesses to be safe. If you focus on safety, you will earn the trust of your consumers.
If you are looking for online resources to help you buy a new home, Realtor.com is a great option. You can input addresses to get information about the crime rate for the area, as well as flood zones, noise levels, property price comparisons, amenities, and schools.
You can help your buyers by directing them to contact the local police department’s Crime Prevention Unit. They can ask for crime statistics for their neighborhoods of interest, which will include trends and detailed reports about the types of crimes that have occurred. The police can also tell them ways and resources to stay safe and secure in their neighborhood of choice.
6. Be the Safety Hero to FSBOs
Agent typically approach FSBOs by promising to sell their home or get them maximum exposure on the MLS. However, the MLS is open to the public and sellers don’t necessarily need an agent to get the most exposure. What sellers do need is your expertise.
Many sellers choose not to use an agent in order to save money, because they don’t believe that agents provide value. These sellers think that all they need to do to sell their home is put a sign in the yard and accept an offer.
7. Educate Consumers & Your Community About Safety & Security
Most of your clients will not use you for their next real estate transaction, even if they say they love you after the sale.
According to Matthew Hansen, although 89% of buyers say they would use their agent again, only 18% of them actually do.
Hansen said that even though 82% of buyers use another agent for their next transaction, he still focus on teaching agents about client retention.
Although you may be good at your job, you aren’t top of mind for your clients after their transaction closes. However, this is a two-way street. According to the National Association of Realtors, 91% of realtors never contact the buyer or seller of a home after closing. This is a missed opportunity, assuming they were happy with your service.
A key element for agents remaining engaged with consumers is to always be at the forefront of their thoughts. This means utilizing various marketing methods frequently throughout the year—33 times to be exact!
Bonus Tip: Turn safety into profitability
Hawkins believes that incorporating safety into your business strategy can have numerous benefits. She suggests adding safety to your listing presentations, and using the Safe Seller Security Checklist as a tool when speaking to FSBOs. She thinks that agents who are trained in safety can gain an edge over other agents by emphasizing safety to homeowners.
The agent who is safety-trained will walk you through a security checklist to ensure that you, your family, and your possessions are safe while your house is on the market, says Hawkins. When agents attach their business card to the safety tip pamphlet, their card will be at the top of the stack when FSBOs see the list of safety tips.
Although safety training is not mandatory in most markets, Hawkins believes that if broker/managers create a safety culture, more agents will decide to receive safety training.
Hawkins states that safety is not an attractive topic until something bad happens.
Earlier this year, a story was reported about a 44-year-old man who had been arrested for threatening to sexual assault real estate agents in several counties across Mississippi. The man also said that he had already carried out his threats four times.
Having a discussion about safety should not be ignored just because agents feel safe. The fact is that everyone is at risk of being targeted, no matter where or when a home is being shown. Agents should be proactive by making safety a top priority in their business, and taking the necessary precautions to stay safe and protect themselves and their clients.