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The real estate industry shares a lot with real estate agents about safety, but what about safety for sellers? There is certainly not enough advice, and the industry as a whole should probably take a step in the right direction and share some safety advice with customers.
As a broker, taking the time to talk to your sellers about safety can not only help ensure nothing is wrong, but at the same time improve the reputation of the industry as a whole.
Talk to a seller about their valuables
Open houses and screenings are common for sellers, but you should make sure to remind them that even though you may be there, you can’t always see all the potential buyers. You need to remind your salespeople that it is in their best interest to store valuables, and you can do your part by checking IDs and asking visitors to sign up.
Remove any medications
Many sellers will remember to put away their iPads or lock their jewelry for an open house or showing, but what about their meds? Nothing stops someone from opening a medicine cabinet and getting prescription drugs.
You probably don’t want to put yourself at risk by confronting a potential buyer who may have ingested something, so it’s best to tell your sellers to bring their meds to a viewing or open house.
Put away knife blocks
Something that can help keep you safer at an open house or showing is asking your salespeople to put away knife blocks. Usually there are amazing depictions of the interior of a house, so someone looking to raid the place can really look out where things are when they come in for a display.
A real estate agent may not be a match for a thief looking to steal the seller’s new 4K TV, and things could be worse if the thief can grab a knife.
Delete pictures of children
Many sellers still live in the house, meaning they may still have family photos. If there are pictures of children, it is in everyone’s best interest to ask the seller to remove them. You never know who may see them, and you could endanger the seller’s children.
Advise sellers not to offer tours themselves
If your seller’s house is on the list, it means that you are essentially giving an open invitation to people to look at their home. Some crooks take advantage of this, and they come to the house, knock on the door and tell them how they are looking for a new home, they just love the place and wonder if they can take a look inside.
Of course, this could be a disaster. Advise your salespeople that if this happens, they should refuse to let anyone in and tell the person to call you instead. However, it’s probably just a harmless thing where the person is genuinely interested in the house. You never know.
Make sure they know about Craigslist scam
With so many scams out there, you need to talk to your sellers about Craigslist or other scams that could affect sellers or people interested in renting their property.
Check every lock after an open house or viewing
You’ll also want to talk to your sellers to make sure they check every lock after a viewing or open house. This includes window locks. Sometimes people enter the house, open a window or door without anyone knowing and come back later to break in.
One of the first things you can do to protect your sellers and yourself is to talk to each seller about who they allow in their homes.
Don’t let in random, unverified people, and if there’s a situation like an open house or screening, make sure you see the person’s ID. If they don’t want to show ID, you don’t have to show the house.
You should also try to make this a personal habit for yourself when dealing with salespeople. Another suggestion is to talk to your broker or share this information with other people in your industry. If you’re feeling extra ambitious, work with other people to create a Broker Safety Policy.
Recognize that all security is personal
There is a lot of security awareness training that teaches what is above. But what most? Security training for real estate agents fog is how to change agents’ behavior in such a way that they actually want to take action and make changes to the way they do business to keep themselves and their customers safe.
When agents ask themselves, “What would I actually do if I were confronted?” and thinking about any response they would get, they would begin to understand how unprepared they and, by default, their customers are.
Safety starts with you. All officers should consider their individual concerns and concerns regarding their personal safety. From there, they will begin to recognize risk in a much more holistic way, which naturally evolves into better personal and customer protection.
Author Robert Siciliano is CEO of credit parenthead of training and security awareness expert at Protect nowa bestselling Amazon author, media personality and architect of CSI security certification, a cyber, social, identity and personal protection designation for brokers and their brokers. Follow Robert Siciliano on Twitter.