REAL ESTATE AGENT SAFETY TIPS: SHOW HOUSES
Hosting a show house is one of the best tools in an estate agent's arsenal. It brings out the competitor in any buyer, boosts sales prices, and grows the buyer database. But, unfortunately, this perk comes with some level of security risk and both sellers and agents need to be extra vigilant when hosting walk-ins to a property.
Here are a few safety and security tips so that you can equip yourself for hosting a show house with peace of mind...
Some sellers are uncomfortable with the idea of letting anyone and everyone into their homes. Doing an invitation-only show house, with a smaller group, is the best compromise. To ensure only serious buyers attend, ask your potential buyers to share their pre-approval with you to prove that they can actually afford to purchase the property.
Record attendee names, location, and time
Keep a detailed record of attendee names including their contact numbers, and emails as well as the location, date, and time of the show house. Share this info with the office admin in a cloud-based file, so somebody has a record of who you were last seen with. Be sure to follow POPIA best practices when recording this information and get permission from the attendees before you use the provided information for further marketing purposes.
Lock away all valuables and personal items
Discuss putting valuables in a safe beforehand with the homeowner to keep them safe from any sticky fingers. It would also be a good idea to put away any personal items, such as letters or bank statements, to avoid any chances of identity theft. You should also ask them to remove any personal photos, especially of their children to avoid targeted kidnappings.
Lock gates behind you
As inviting as an open door sounds, it could be a security risk. Rather lock the gate behind you and only open it for invited buyers or for those who have signed the attendance register. Instead of leaving gates and doors open, put up a nice inviting sign informing the buyers to knock or ring the doorbell to be let in.
Switch on location sharing
When showing a home, switch on your phone’s location sharing and broadcast your ongoing location with an office admin, close friend or family member. You can always switch it off afterwards, but in the meantime, it could keep you safe by letting people know where you are.
Self-defense tools and classes
Carrying self-defense tools, such as pepper spray and a taser, could come in handy if you ever need to defend yourself. Arming yourself with self-defense classes would be a great addition towards your protection. Another little helpful tool is a personal panic button. You could get one from a security company that comes with an app, but there are also many free apps available to download that are easy to use.
Keep your car maintained and fueled up
As a general safety precaution, your car should always be in good running condition and have at least half a tank of fuel. The last thing you would want to do is not be able to flee from an unsafe situation. Make sure your car is checked regularly and maintenance is done when due. Regularly check your water, oil, and tyre pressure when filling up your car.
Keep it light
As far as possible, try to arrange viewings when the sun is up. If it happens that you need to work after hours, inform your colleagues and family of where you will be and the estimated time it will take. Make sure to check in consistently if you can. If you are doing a showing after dark, switch on all the lights and don’t close any curtains.
Keep in step
Make sure that you walk behind visitors when showing them the property. This not only will allow you to point out key features of the home without getting in the way, but it will also keep you safe because your back is never turned to the visitors and any suspicious activity will be seen immediately.
As an estate agent, showing a house is a big part of your job and making it inviting for potential buyers is important. However, your own safety is of utmost priority. Thinking of becoming a real estate agent? Look no further than the friendly and professional team at RE/MAX. Speak to the professionals at your nearest RE/MAX office for more information and further assistance.