Safety concerns in the real estate profession have made headlines recently. Tragic news reports about the shooting death of a building inspector and wounding of other real estate professionals in Huntington Beach last week reminds us that showing properties can turn dangerous.
According to a 2020 National Association of Realtors Member Safety Report, one third of NAR members have felt unsafe during an open house or a showing. That is why it is imperative our members take safety precautions and have a safety plan in place.
Many of these measures will make our clients feel safer, too, creating a better environment for everyone.
A safety plan can address common scenarios that place real estate professionals in potentially risky situations, such as meeting new clients, showing properties, or hosting an open house. Elements of a safety plan might include practices such as driving separately from clients, arriving early to unlock doors, and making note of escape routes.
Realtors and clients alike should let someone know where you’re going and who you’ll be with at all times. Realtors should be familiar with safety protocols provided by your brokerage.
Technology now offers more solutions to help keep you safe. Advances in smart phone technology allow for apps and other tools that can confirm someone’s identity, conduct an instant background check, or track your location and share that information with trusted individuals.
Always be aware of the terms and conditions of these tools to make sure you’re using them in a legal and ethical manner. It is a violation of the Fair Credit Reporting Act to use a background check for discriminatory purposes when making decisions about credit or tenant screening.
Finally, it is imperative to report any incidents that do occur to local law enforcement. By doing so, you will help to keep yourself and others safe by alerting law enforcement to potential dangers.
Keeping everyone safe will allow us to continue to provide the best service to our clients, and be responsible community citizens.
Brian Johnson is the new president of the Santa Barbara Association of Realtors. He is a California licensed real estate agent and the managing director of Radius Commercial Real Estate. Brian handles all types of commercial real estate transactions, but has a special focus on multifamily investments. He can be reached at 805.879.9631 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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