By Geoff Ramsey, CRS, GRI
President, Greater Chattanooga REALTORS®
This month, the National Association of Realtors® (NAR) released its 2018 Member Safety Report, which surveyed over 3,000 Realtors®, members of NAR about how safe they feel while on the job, their personal safety experiences and the safety procedures they follow.
The report found that nearly a third of Realtors experienced a situation that made them fear for their personal safety or the safety of their personal information, and 43 percent of Realtors choose to carry self-defense weapons.
Realtors understand better than anyone the safety risks associated with real estate transactions. Because of that, it is imperative for members to share safety protocols with home buyers so they can learn about what they may encounter during the home buying process.
The most common circumstances that resulted in fearful situations were open houses, showing vacant and model homes, working with properties that were unlocked or unsecured and showing homes in remote areas. Here are some safety protocols and guidelines from Greater Chattanooga Realtors you should expect and keep in mind when working with a Realtor in order to help ensure a safe experience for all parties involved.
Meet at your agent’s office. Instead of meeting for the first time at a property, a Realtor may set-up an initial meeting at his or her respective office. Most people would tell you that meeting at a real estate professional’s office for the first time is much more comfortable, appropriate and makes both parties feel safe.
Secure your personal information. Your agent may make copies of your driver’s license and mortgage preapproval letter for their records. This allows the agent to keep a record of your information at their office to be stored in a secure place, so be sure to have these items on hand for your initial meeting. According to the report, nearly 70 percent of real estate offices have standard procedures for safeguarding client data and information. Keeping this information safe and secure is an important step that ensures a safe agent and client relationship.
Don’t view vacant properties at night. Your agent may choose to show vacant properties during the day in order to be more aware of potential safety hazards that may exist, including loose floorboards or any other defects. So when viewing a vacant property, expect to view it during daylight hours.
For more information on Realtor and consumer safety, visit www.realtor.org/safety.
Connect with a Realtor to get off on the right foot in your home search. They will provide more tips on how to safely navigate our housing market and go from a potential buyer to new homeowner. Visit www.gcar.net to find a Realtor today.
Greater Chattanooga Realtors® is The Voice for Real Estate in Greater Chattanooga. A regional organization with more than 2,000 members, Greater Chattanooga Realtors is one of some 1,300 local boards and associations of Realtors® nationwide that comprise the National Association of Realtors®. Greater Chattanooga Realtors service Hamilton and Sequatchie counties in southeast Tennessee, and Catoosa, Dade, and Walker counties in northwest Georgia. For more information, visit www.gcar.net or call 423.698.8001.