According to a 2020 National Association of Realtors (NAR) survey, 25% of women surveyed indicated they have felt unsafe or feared for their safety while conducting business, while 15% of male realtors reported the same. NAR reported that 4% of the realtors polled admitted to becoming a victim of crime. The crimes most often reported were assault, robbery, and theft, occurring during open houses, at showings, or in an agent’s vehicle.
Being in the real estate business does pose a few unique risks that not all other industries will have including:
- Working alone—Realtors spend a lot of time at client homes meeting to discuss the process and showing homes to potential buyers. Most often realtors have little to no knowledge about the buyers or sellers of their properties.
- Unknown Location—Realtors do not always have control over where the sellers’ homes are located. Homes in high crime areas increase risk of being a victim.
- Public Advertisement—Realtors regularly place advertisements in the community to attract buyers to open houses. Advertisements showcase the realtor and their potential whereabouts for an open house.
Here are some safety tips you can use to protect yourself in your day-to-day dealings:
- Screen your clients by checking any social media accounts to better understand them
- Keep your phone charged and keep it with you
- Put emergency contacts on speed dial in your phone
- Be aware of your surroundings—don't allow your phone to be a distraction
- Don’t wear expensive jewelry or clothes
Safety at open houses or showings is also very important:
- Hold open houses during daylight
- Obtain and maintain information for buyers and sellers
- Buddy up with another realtor or bring a friend – two people are less of a target
- Let trusted people know your location
- Do not park in the driveway – you could get blocked in and lose your escape route
- Park in a well-lit area with no visible hiding spots
- Always have control of the keys—your vehicle and the property’s
- Always walk behind your clients, don’t let yourself get cornered in a room
- Do not drive clients to showings
- Hang a bell in the entryway to notify you of people arriving at an open house
- Familiarize yourself with the neighborhood before any showings and inspect the exterior of the property before entering to look for any possible entry points
- Trust your instincts
Safety will always be a concern for realtors due to the nature of their work and the constant exposure to new people. Consider attending self-defense classes. Learn how to use pepper spray. The best way to protect oneself is by planning ahead, and remaining vigilant throughout the workday.