Last week in Arkansas, real estate agent Beverly Carter was reported missing when she did not return after showing a home to a potential client. Tragically, her body was found a few days later and a suspect is in custody, who is believed to have targeted Mrs. Carter because of her profession and because she at times worked alone.
You love your career as a real-estate agent – it comes with a lot of freedom and flexibility, and can be very financially rewarding. However, by the fact you may be working alone, you could be putting yourself at risk to having an accident without aid being notified immediately, or even violent attacks.
This article will outline 5 tips that could save your life if you work in real estate.
1) Never give out personal details. Never give any clues that might allow someone to figure out where you live, such as your home address or personal phone number. Use either your agency address or a PO Box for an address, and keep a separate cell phone for work related calls.
2) Pre-qualify clients in a public space. Many Real Estate agencies require an initial meeting with potential clients to be conducted at the agency prior to showing any property. You should require that they fill out an information form that includes their name, address and contact information, as well as vehicle description and license plate. You should also make a copy of their driver’s license to keep in their file. Do not take anything for granted and follow up on the information they provide you whenever possible. A little leg work could save you from a dangerous situation.
3) Check in with your office at pre-determined times. You should set a pre-determined time where the office will call to check with you or you have to check in with them. Apps like SafetyLine will allow this process to be as simple as pressing a button. Your office will automatically be able to hear a voicemail you leave, your planned route, and your current GPS location. When you don’t check-in, they will be able to send help where you are, when you need it.
4) Dress appropriately. When showing the property make sure you wear comfortable but well-fitting clothes; loose flowing materials or scarves can give a predator something to grab onto. Wear shoes you can run in and avoid wearing expensive jewelry or bringing other unnecessary items that might grab a thief’s attention. Dress professionally but modestly even in pictures; stalkers or the mentally unbalanced have been known to fixate on their victims from something as simple as a photograph.
5) Trust your intuition. If something feels wrong it probably is, so put your personal safety first and cancel and/or re-schedule if necessary.
Preparation and vigilance is key to your continued safety. Take self-defense courses, and make sure your office is on board with your safety initiatives. Realtors like many other professions face dangers every day, so remember that you are worth fighting for and have more power than you may think. At the end of the day when selling others their homes it is even more important that you arrive back to your own safe and sound.
To find out more about how employing an automated system to your current phone system, email us at info[at]safetylineloneworker.com or call us at 1-888-WRK-ALNE. We would be happy to walk you through options that can make your career as a real estate agent safer.