December 21st - 2014

Stay safe while you’re on the job

Pay attention to safety issues and develop good habits to ensure that you keep safety in mind at all times when working in real estate.

Pay attention to safety issues and develop good habits to ensure that you keep safety in mind at all times when working in real estate.

That’s the advice of OREA president Costa Poulopoulos, who notes that REALTOR® safety has once again come to the fore since the murder of a U.S. real estate salesperson in Arkansas after a property showing. Such incidents can happen anywhere, even in small towns in Ontario. Real estate associations all over North America are reminding their members that their work can be dangerous and it is important to put steps in place to minimize safety risks.

“Our members may believe that this sort of thing only happens elsewhere,” says Poulopoulos. “They think it can’t happen to them. Unfortunately, crime can happen anywhere. The best approach is to keep safety in mind as part of your everyday routine to minimize your risks.” 

Real estate brokers and salespeople face more risks on the job than many others because they have frequent contact with strangers in different places, many of them private. It’s vital to have a plan to keep yourself safe at showings, open houses, in the car and in your office. Keep a cell phone on hand at all times while working so you can communicate quickly. See more tips below.

Safety tips for REALTORS®

Here are the Ten Commandments of Agent Safety, published by REALTOR® magazine and the Birmingham Association of REALTORS®.

1. Do not meet a stranger at any property. Instead, ask to meet at your office or in a public place so others can see the potential buyer too. Take a partner such as another agent or family member with you as well.

2. Take your own car. Avoid riding in a stranger’s car.

3. Avoid working after dark. Try to show property only during the daylight and finish open houses before dark. If working after sundown is unavoidable, buddy up with a partner.

4. Dress for safety. Avoid wearing expensive, flashy jewellery and dress professionally. Do not carry large amounts of money on you.

5. Arrange a showings itinerary. Use a standard form and always leave a copy at the office or with a family member. Be sure the client knows that a copy exists too.

6. Use a prospect ID form. Prior to showing a property, use a printed form that asks for a prospect’s information: name, address, make and model of their automobile, auto tag, driver’s license, local address, and two references. Verify the information before you leave.

7. Use an agent ID form. Make sure your office knows your car’s make, model and license plate number, plus other important contact information.

8. Create a pre-arranged distress message. Create a message that appears harmless to others but serves as an alert to colleagues or family that you’re in harm’s way. Be able to call home or your office with that message. An example is: “I’m at the Jones house and I need the red file right away.” Share and practice your distress code with colleagues, family and friends. Use it any time you feel uneasy.

9. Stop working immediately if you pick up on something suspicious. If you notice inconsistent answers or any abnormal behaviour from your client – or anything that signals that something is off – stop working and trust your gut instincts.

10. Notify your broker of record immediately. The broker should decide what action to take at that time.

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Updates to forms and clauses OREA wants your input

For more information contact

Ontario Real Estate Association

Jean-Adrien Delicano

Manager, Media Relations

416-445-9910 ext. 246