How safe are you when you show a property?
Many real estate investors are not professional realtors but they can face some of the same challenges as they meet strangers and show empty units.
Last week’s murder of Lindsay Buziak,a young Canadian real estate agent, has the internet buzzing about some of the dangers everyone needs to be aware of.
Here are 6 Tips for staying safe while showing properties.
1. Always have a way of escape
We never allow ourselves to get cornered in an empty rental unit or house. We allow the tenant prospect or potential buyer to go into the room first. We make sure we are the one nearest to the door.
2. Obey your instincts.
If you feel unsafe, act on your premonitions. You can’t take chances. A legitimate tenant prospect or buyer will most likely understand. Naturally, anyone would be wary of meeting someone in an empty house. Taking precautions are a given these days.
But if you feel you need to get out of there, do so.
3. Report anyone who assaults, threatens, or attempts to swindle you.
Take your situation to the authorities. If everyone in the real estate industry did that, criminals would know they are being watched by a network and will not be able to get by with any crimes. There is power in numbers.
4. Share as little personal information with prospective clients and tenants as possible
Giving your credentials is all they need to do business with you. They do not need to know if you are currently married, or if you’re single, for example. That’s really none of their business.
There is also a major debate going on among real estate agents whether to include their photographs on their business cards. Some are electing not to. It is certainly something to think long and hard about.
5.Take a self defense course
I haven’t gone as far as to get a permit to carry a gun, although my best friends have such permits and are allowed to do so in the state of Tennessee. I do advocate learning how to defend yourself from the experts who can teach you.
I attended a class taught by a Metropolitan Police Officer in Nashville a few years ago and those two hours changed my life. I think it is one of the reasons why I have not been a crime victim because as he stated, “ you cannot afford to present yourself as a potential victim to a criminal.”
Attitude has a whole lot to do with it. Criminals are watching you and judging whether you would make a good victim or not. Give them lots of reasons to believe you won’t.
Self defense classes give you confidence and help you learn to look around and observe what it going on, which brings me to the last point.
6. Always be aware of your surroundings
Look at people, cars, everything around you. Never allow anyone to sneak up behind you. That also includes prospective clients and tenants.