Last month, a quick-thinking agent used a code word for distress, and it could have saved her life. In North Carolina, the female real estate agent was allegedly kidnapped at a showing and assaulted by a 49-year-old man. It’s a horrific situation no one wants to imagine, but you need to be prepared for the worst.
Protect yourself with these safety tips:
1. Be aware of potentially unsafe situations. Use the 10-second rule to assess your environment, notice other people and make sure you’re positioned to react if you’re attacked.
2. Use client identification and agent itinerary forms. Show homes to qualified buyers. Check in with your office regularly.
3. Hold a pre-showing interview with every client somewhere you’re not alone – like your office or a public place.
4. Have a trusted person accompany you during a showing.
5. Verify clients’ identities with a driver’s license and/or a pre-qualification.
6. Carry only the items you need on a day-to-day basis. If someone wants to take your purse or wallet, remember: Your safety is more important than material items.
7. Distress codes work. Think of a nonchalant phrase that your emergency contact will understand, but won’t tip off an attacker. For example, “Can you check on the echo listing?”
8. Put the garage-door opener of the house you are showing in your pocket. If you feel threatened or in danger, discreetly open the garage and say the owners must be returning.