Safety Tips via Deputy Sheriff Lorain County Ohio at Association Executive Seminar
- First and most important thing is to use common sense.
- Show listings early in the day; avoid dusk and dawn.
- Check in with your office; photo copy client’s driver’s license; have client meet you into your office for the first time upon meeting and if you can get the make of car and license number. Also, it’s recommended to shred documents when they are no longer an active client.
- Be selective in what you show the public. Ex: Use office address vs. home address on websites, social media, business cards and any form of advertising. Also, don’t use a photo of yourself if possible with your home address as identity theft is all time high.
- Touch base with colleagues, your office, family and friends. Keep in touch with people to let them know where, who and when you should be approximately back home, to the office, next showing etc… Have office call in to check in on you if you are working late.
- Open House: Check all rooms and backyard prior to locking house.
- Stranger Danger: Tell client to not show their house alone. All inquiries should go to Realtor.
- Wear some sort of ID ex: company logo, advertising on your car with company name to expedite police knowing who is the “good” person vs. a potential criminal.
- Bring up the rear. Have clients walk in front of you. Don’t lead! Approach at a rear 45 degree angle.
- Pick up some self- defense classes if available.
- Check pepper spray’s expiration date and practice spraying in a bucket to see how it shoots. If you have used it make sure you know how many sprays you have left to ensure it’s not empty.
- Use your own car and lock it.
- Make sure the property you are showing has cell service in the area before showing it.
- Choose flight over fight. Watch safety videos if you can’t attend a safety course. Do whatever you can to escape then call for help. Plan the house out to know where there is a back door; an escape route.
- Hide all personal information when showing a house. Hide mail, lockdown computers, tablets etc…when showing a house and especially during an open house.
- Agree on office distress code or phrase to be used in a conversation that won’t show a cause for alarm to the person with you if you feel threatened.
- Have an excuse ready in case you feel threatened and need to leave.
- Check out the situation of your area when you first arrive to make sure you all is “normal.” Be aware where you park; can your car be blocked in by another car? Keep escape route open.
- You’re not alone. If someone comes to your office late or early say something like let me check with my co-worker. Keep blinds open and office well lite. Keep everything open and well lit (in and outside) so people can see you and you can see them.
- Don’t get lost; make mental notes on landmark points of interest while driving. Know your address.
- Follow a lockbox procedure to ensure safety. Change pass codes each time and don’t use the same code for entire inventory.
- Do not share any personal information. Keep it business and yourself private. Don’t say where you live, where you are going on vacation and when. Don’t post things like this on social media.
- Check out your surroundings and ask yourself is there potential risks? Be aware of where you park, park close to entrance and not next to a van for example and under a light post if it’s dark outside.
- From dawn till dusk. Make sure property has electricity if you aren’t sure.
- Thwart thieves; tell your clients to hide valuables especially at open houses: jewelry, keys, prescription medicine, trinkets, spare change etc…
- Long term thinking. Introduce yourself to neighbors and let them see your car so that they know who you are.
- Don’t dial and drive or take notes.
- Carry less. Lock purse in trunk, limit jewelry you wear-nothing expensive or look flashy also, don’t show a large sum of money.
- Carry a whistle on a keychain.
- If you haven’t pre-program your cell with office numbers and 911.
- New scam alert is that large groups of people show up near the end of open house. If there is more than one try to keep them all in the same room or tell them you are closing up. Once they are all out lock doors.
- Check with Federal Trade Commissions for current scams in area.
- Have your client double check all doors (after you have already locked up everything) and make sure all valuable are accountable after all open houses and showings.
- Don’t tell them a property is vacant.
- Remember people aren’t always who they say they are. Be guarded.
- Concealed carry: check with building codes to make sure there are no signs indicating that you cannot carry. Check on company policy; keep up your training annually with proper training and know your gun.