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.
- 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.
- 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
- Be sure your phone is charged and have a charger available
- Put emergency contacts on speed dial in your phone
- Always be aware of your surroundings—don't allow your phone to be a distraction, placing you in a vulnerable state
- Don’t wear expensive jewelry or clothes
- Consider attending self-defense classes or carrying a weapon such as pepper spray
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 let them know your location
- Do not park in the driveway - keep an open escape route
- Park in a well-lit area with no visible hiding spots
- Always have control of keys—personal and property
- Always walk behind your clients
- 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. The best way to protect oneself is by utilizing safety tips, planning ahead, and remaining vigilant throughout the workday.