September was Realtor Safety Month, and to help spread awareness, we wanted to highlight some of the biggest risks that workers face every day.
If you work in real estate, you’re well aware that your job often puts you in vulnerable and potentially dangerous positions.
In their 2021 Member Safety Report, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) reported that 14% of realtors experienced a situation that made them fear for their personal safety. These situations are so common that the NAR provides realtor safety courses to teach best practices and minimize on-the-job risk.
Whether you’re an associate broker or veteran with decades of experience, knowing what these risks are, how to prevent them, and developing a plan of action in case of emergency are critical to preserving your safety and livelihood.
Realtor Safety Risks
According to the NAR report, the two situations where realtors most commonly felt unsafe were during a showing (41%) and while meeting a new client for the first time at a secluded location/property (32%).
Unlike open houses, showings typically involve just one potential buyer. If that buyer isn’t accompanied by a real estate professional, it raises several safety concerns for the realtor and the security of the home. And even if they do have someone with them, a realtor putting on a showing alone may still feel unsafe.
As for the second most common situation, meeting new clients always comes with a level of risk. However, when you add a secluded property into the mix, realtor safety becomes a much greater concern.
But these aren’t the only instances where realtors frequently report fearing for their safety. The NAR data shows that they also often feel unsafe…
- During an open house (25%)
- After receiving a threatening or inappropriate email, text message, phone call, or voicemail (22%)
- While meeting a new client for the first time in a public place (8%)
- While driving a client in their car (4%)
And when crimes did occur, they happened most often…
- After receiving a threatening or inappropriate email, text message, phone call, or voicemail (10%)
- During a showing (3%)
- During an open house (2%)
- While meeting a new client for the first time at a secluded location/property (1%)
- While meeting a new client for the first time in a public place (1%)
The above information is priceless because it clearly lays out the realtor safety concerns that need addressing and serves as a guide for prevention.
The following are several effective methods any realtor can use to help minimize risk:
- Create safety protocols for every high-risk situation, including:
- Always have another professional with you during open houses and showings.
- Always notify a spouse, friend, or family member of your location before open houses and showings.
- Meet new clients at the office or a neutral/public place. Avoid meeting them alone or at secluded locations/properties if possible.
- Only drive with clients you have an established relationship with. Or, bring a fellow professional with you.
- If you’ve received threatening messages or calls from a client, avoid coming into contact with them.
- Take a realtor safety course.
- The NAR offers a “Putting Realtor Safety First” course that outlines everything you need to know about personal safety, your office safety team, safety with buyers and sellers, internet safety, and safety for your home and family.
- Take a self-defense class.
- Carry a self-defense tool or weapon.
- The NAR’s 2021 report shows that the most common self-defense tools include: Pepper spray (18%), firearms (14%), pocket knives (7%), tasers (5%), battery-operated noise makers (3%), and batons or clubs (3%).
- In 2020, a female real estate agent fended off an attacker at an open house thanks to her concealed-carry firearm, escaping a situation she otherwise might not have survived.
Preparing for Emergencies
In addition to carrying self-defense weapons, many realtors are turning to smartphone safety apps to prepare and respond to emergencies.
Per the NAR survey:
“60 percent of members use a smartphone safety app to track whereabouts and alert colleagues in case of an emergency, up from 58 percent in 2020.”
The most commonly used apps include: Find My iPhone, GPS Phone Track (Android), SentriKey Real Estate App, Forewarn, and HomeSnap Pro.
And while these apps certainly provide essential services to realtors nationwide, there’s still a glaring issue they face when they become victims of a crime: emergency response times.
If there’s an attack at an open house, showing, or client meeting, there’s no time to speak with a 911 dispatcher, let alone answer several questions explaining what’s happening — all while waiting for them to send help.
Also, the situation may require you to send for help quietly and discreetly, which simply isn’t possible with the 911 system. Depending on where you live, you may have access to the text-to-911 service. But even if you do, it’s a slow, lengthy process that wastes precious time you don’t have.
For instant emergency response in just two taps on your smartphone or Apple Watch — no talking required — trust the Rescu app. Rescu is the fastest way to get help in an emergency because you never have to speak with a dispatcher.
All you have to do is select the service you need (fire, police, or ambulance) and tap “Send Alert.” Then, Rescu’s private dispatch center will immediately send the nearest emergency response team to your exact location anywhere in the US.
If you have any relevant medical information (pre-existing conditions, medications, allergies), you can add it to your profile to automatically be sent to first responders when you send an alert. You’ll also be able to add an unlimited number of emergency contacts, all of which the Rescu app will instantly notify via text as soon as you submit your emergency request.
With its accurate GPS tracking, phone call-free service, best-in-class response times, and the ability to quickly and quietly send for help, Rescu is the perfect realtor safety solution.
Download Rescu on the Apple Store or Google Play today and enjoy 24/7 peace of mind — both on the job and off.