A real estate agent makes a living meeting a complete stranger in an empty home.
Each year, too many real-estate professionals around the nation are injured or die due to a violent assault while on the job. Others have reported being victims of rape or robbery as well.
The statistics, along with the recent horrific, high-profile news of the 51-year-old female realtor in Arkansas who was kidnapped then slain, are alarming. These incidents illustrate the importance of agents taking safety precautions in their work and brokerage offices ensuring safety training for agents on a consistent and persistent basis.
Residential real estate broker Staci Baldwin, with the Seattle Cooper Jacobs office, said the recent events in the news has made safety in the work place a significant discussion among her colleagues and they’re reminded of personal daunting experiences.
“Years ago I was holding an open house and thank goodness there was plenty of foot traffic coming through the home, but one man was lingering for a long time and clearly waiting for people to leave. He stayed way beyond what would be a comfortable time frame,” said Baldwin, who’s been an agent in the Puget Sound area for more than 12 years. “I boldly asked other people coming through the open house if they wouldn’t mind staying just a few extra minutes as this other party was making me uncomfortable. That person eventually left as I never allowed myself to be ‘alone.’”
In researching many of these crime statistics, we found that nearly every assault could have been prevented, said Shannon Sessions, Crime Prevention Specialist and owner of Safety Sessions.
“When dealing with ‘stranger’ buyers, it’s crucial that all agents get a front and back copy of the buyer’s driver’s license before showing a property and letting someone in their life, whether at home or in the office, know where they are going and when they expect to return,” Sessions said. “The best case scenario would always be to take a buddy as well to these ‘unknown’ showings.”
“Understand that if a potential buyer doesn’t want to cooperate with these safety policies, they aren’t a serious, legitimate buyer anyway,” Sessions added.
Baldwin believes there’s more that can be done to educate agents on the risks of their professions. “I think the question becomes ‘What can we do, our job is to show houses, sell houses and you won’t know everyone that is interested.”
Safety Sessions offers a Real-SAFE Realtors safety course. Some topics covered during the course are:
- Listening to your sixth sense and acting on it.
- How to get the most out of calling 911.
- Have a plan and a “Safety Script.”
- Know who you’re dealing with.
- Common sense marketing and how social media can harm.
- Open house safety tips and creating a distress code.
- Play it Smart to Sell it Smart.
- Hone observation and identification skills.
- What to do if you encounter a suspicious person.
- Do’s and Don’ts if you are attacked or assaulted.
For more safety tips and information on Safety Sessions courses available for your home, business or school see: www.safetysessions.net , “Like Us” at Safety Sessions on Facebook or call 425-478-6524.
As a longtime Police Department Public Information Officer and Crime Prevention Specialist, Shannon Sessions, Director of Safety Sessions has consistently been on the front lines disseminating information about a variety of public safety incidents to the media at- large. Sessions is also a former firefighter and reporter/editor-in-charge of a local newspaper in the Puget Sound area where she reported on Public Safety issues. Working on “both sides of the caution tape” has given Session a unique perspective on who are affected when bad things happen. Safety Sessions is also a Washington State Certified Provider for DDD Caregivers Continued Education courses.