October 10th - 2010

Learn how to stay safe on the job

Real estate is definitely a people business and, as a REALTOR® you meet lots of people on the job.

Real estate is definitely a people business and, as a REALTOR® you meet lots of people on the job. While the majority of these people will be clients who are really interested in viewing the property you are showing, you should also remember there are predators out there.

It’s true that REALTORS® face more on-the-job risks than many other business professionals because of your frequent contact with strangers in various public and private places. It’s important to have a plan in place to keep yourself safe at open houses, in your car, at the office and showing properties.

Don’t think it can’t happen to you
Over the past decade, several REALTORS® have been victims of violence. An Ottawa REALTOR® was attacked during an open house in a trendy west-end suburb. Fortunately her screams frightened the attacker and he fled the scene.

However, two other REALTORS® were not so fortunate. One was a commercial REALTOR® in Toronto who was killed while she worked alone in her office in November 2002. Most recently, a female REALTOR® was murdered while showing an upscale vacant home in Victoria, BC.

These REALTORS® were acting professionally, but their personal safety was at risk. To help you become more aware of the risks and keep you out of harm’s way, safety materials are available on the OREA website under Administrative Information. These materials were developed by the National Association of REALTORS®, CREA and your provincial association. Here are a few tips from the site:

Keep a cell phone at your side: Your cell phone can be your best friend in a bad situation. Program 911 on your speed dial.

Have a distress code: Have a prearranged distress signal. For example, "I'm at the Jones house and I need the red file right away." Share and practice your distress code with your office, colleagues, family and friends. Use it any time you feel uneasy.

Make sure your office knows: Make sure someone knows who you are with, where you are going and when you’ll be back. Make sure someone else knows what your schedule is, and who you're planning to meet.

Don't glamorize promotional material: Avoid glamour shots. Your marketing materials should be polished and professional. Limit the amount of personal information you share. Do not use your home phone number; use a cell phone number instead. Use your office address, rather than your home address.

Know who you are dealing with: When you have new clients, meet them at the office first. Verify their identities. Get their car make and licence number and if you can, photocopy their driver's licence. Complete a client i.d. form. A serious client will not hesitate to share this information.

Take precautions at open houses: Often at an open house, you'll be working alone. You won't know who will show up, so take basic precautions to ensure your personal safety.

Take the time to read over the other safety materials at www.orea.com. Knowing what to do to protect yourself could save your life.

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For more information contact

Ontario Real Estate Association

Jean-Adrien Delicano

Manager, Media Relations


416-445-9910 ext. 246