In a few days, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) will release its 2022 Member Safety Report, which surveys Realtors around the nation about how safe they feel while on the job, their personal safety experiences, and their brokerage’s safety procedures and protocol. NAR publishes this report each September for Realtor Safety Month. Yet, safety is a focus for Greater Chattanooga Realtors® all year long.
In previous years, a small but noticeable number of respondents reported they experienced a situation in which they feared for their safety, or their personal information being comprised. Realtors understand the safety risks associated with real estate transactions, so it is imperative to create and share safety protocols with clients to learn about what they may encounter throughout a real estate transaction.
Greater Chattanooga Realtors® is committed to providing consumers and Realtor members with the resources and education to stay safe and secure. In addition to providing members with safety- related training, some safety protocols are expected to provide a safe experience for all parties involved.
Meet your agent at their office. Instead of meeting for the first time at a property, a Realtor may set up the initial meeting at his or her office. Most agree that meeting at a real estate professional’s office is much more comfortable and appropriate for the first meeting. Generally speaking, meeting a stranger at an unfamiliar location inherently creates additional tension, which is not helpful when initiating a real estate transaction. By meeting at a Realtor’s office, it allows the time for introductions and also offers the ideal time to outline the processes and procedures in preparing a buyer to purchase a home or land.
Secure your personal information. Some real estate offices may make copies of your driver’s license and mortgage preapproval letter for their records during the initial stages of a Buyer’s home search. This step allows the agent to keep a record of your information at their office and it should be stored securely. So be sure to have these items on hand for your initial meeting. As Realtors, we safeguard our clients’ data and ensure that it stays away from prying eyes. Keeping this information safe and secure is crucial in maintaining a safe agent and client relationship.
Stay away from carpooling. Even though people are returning to a pre-COVID world where carpooling was common, don’t expect your Realtor to drive you to a property unless it is discussed ahead of time. Driving separately is a safety precaution for you and your Realtor – so do not feel offended. Most people don’t pick up hitchhikers and understand the importance of not transporting strangers to a property showing. Driving separately also enables both parties to depart separately from the showing and return to other business, such as returning to the office or picking up the kids from school. It is still common to spend an afternoon seeing properties, but busy schedules and the ability to remain flexible has certainly made driving separately more common in our market.
Your agent might walk behind you. Realtors typically let buyers take the lead when exploring a home. This safety protocol is common and also allows you to view each room on the property first and make your own impressions. A well-trained Realtor will always be engaged with their client and by using a simple phase like “after you” is a polite way to remain out of the way.
View a vacant property by day. Your Realtor may only show vacant properties by day, so you can see what safety hazards exist, such as loose floorboards or any other defects. So when viewing a vacant, or even an occupied property, expect to view it during daylight hours.
Concealed carry permits. Realtors have been the target of many crimes over the years and Realtors who have done everything right have still become victims of crime. An increase in crime over recent years has caused many Realtors to become responsible gun owners as an additional measure of protection. Others carry less lethal means of protection while some choose self-defense training. Another commonly used safety tactic is the buddy system. Realtors may ask another Realtor to tag along on a showing to provide additional support.
As a consumer, please consider the risks that Realtors encounter daily and be understanding when asked to provide identification or to schedule a meet and greet in advance of an impromptu showing.
Safety is our priority year-round, and I urge other Realtors to check https://www.gcar.net/realtor- safety-month-2022 for all the different courses being offered this month, especially. Realtors are focused on protecting our clients and ourselves. That’s Who We R®.