September is Agent Safety Month, but we want real estate agents to be safe every day of the year.
Real estate agents spend their days meeting with so many people, and they’re entrusted with clients’ homes during open houses and property showings. Beyond that, an agent’s job often relies on their notoriety — and that means sharing a lot of information online.
How can real estate agents take precautions online and offline to stay safe? Here are six of our biggest tips:
1. Meet prospects in a public place
Before you’ve vetted clients, meet them somewhere public –– like your office or a coffee shop.
Meeting for the first time is a gut check for both you and your clients, so it’s highly likely they’ll want to meet somewhere public, too.
Talking to prospects on the phone ahead of time can also be a good first step. However you approach that first interaction, don’t put yourself in a situation where it will be awkward or difficult to make an exit — such as being alone in a client’s living room.
2. Always use a lockbox to keep keys secure
You want to make sure you have full control of the keys during your showings. A lockbox ensures that keys are secure, and that no one can access the home who doesn’t have a legitimate reason to be there.
3. Use Homesnap Pro’s Safety Timer feature during showings
We designed this easy-to-use feature specifically with agent safety in mind. Simply add your emergency contacts and set a timer for a specific length of time when you get to a showing. If you don’t stop the timer before it goes off, your emergency contacts will get an alert. Or, simply stop the timer once you’ve left the property.
It’s always good to let people know where you’re headed, and this safety feature in the Homesnap Pro app lets you quickly and discreetly do that.
4. Park in a safe place
If you can avoid showing homes in the dark, great. When you can’t, make sure to park somewhere well-lit, and don’t park anywhere you could easily be blocked in. If you have valuables, keep them locked in your trunk.
5. Follow a strict pet policy
When scheduling a showing, confirm with the listing agent that the owners have taken any pets away from the house with them.
You don’t want to be surprised by a dog growling at you from a kennel, and you don’t want to open the door if you can hear a dog barking at you from the other side.
Your clients probably don’t, either!
6. Separate your personal info from your professional life
Your face and your name are the biggest parts of your brand. Even so, try doing everything you can to separate your personal and professional information.
Keep professional phone numbers, email addresses, and social media accounts for your clients (with Google Voice, you can use a different number on the same phone) that are separate from your personal phone number, email address, and social media profiles.
And, of course, make sure to set secure passwords and be wary of phishing attempts!
Wherever you can implement two-step verification — which triggers systems like Gmail or Dropbox to confirm your identity via text message if they notice a suspicious sign-in attempt — go ahead and do that.
Of course, your clients’ safety matters, too – and you can offer some personal security tips to help them out. When you’re listing a house, make sure your clients put valuables away. Insist that all visitors sign in, and keep an eye on potential buyers as they wander through a home.
Stay safe out there, agents!