Running a Safer Office

An Agenda for an Important Staff Meeting

Realtor safety is more than just talk. Your family and the families of your associates future and happiness depend on it. If something happens, think of the repercussions to family and friends. It's part of your job to stay safe and try to provide a safe working environment. But, what can you do? Plenty!

Take a look at the procedures currently in place in your company. Do you have any requirements that can help increase the safety of your staff and associates? Stop thinking, "It can't happen to me." Start thinking, "What would I do if..."

Now, let's be sensible. You've heard of defensive driving, this is defensive living, and I don't just mean because you're in real estate or only while you're out selling. You can help your office avoid becoming a victim all the time. Let's start with some basics changes you can make to help make your staff safer:

Office Meeting

Topic: Safety for Staff and Associates

Procedures that protect:

  • Stow a current list of the agents' autos makes and license plate numbers at the front desk.
  • Create a simple showing sheet or agenda form. Have agents get into the practice of leaving an outline of where they'll be when they are out with a customer. Have them include an expected return time and ask that they call in if their plans change.
  • Request that new customers always meet agents first at the office.
  • Have your receptionist greet new customers and give out the disclosure form with a customer information sheet. Make a photocopy of customers' driver's licenses to be kept on file. If questioned, explain that the broker requires this information for security and insurance purposes. Real customers will have no objection.
  • Have agents keep the office door locked when alone - especially at night.

Important safety topics for discussion:

  • Request agents work together when showing homes at night, or when engaging in riskier activities like meeting a new customer or client for the first time.
  • Don't ever carry a "lethal" weapon. The chances of that weapon being used against you are great. Don't risk it, besides it's illegal.
  • Consider purchasing a cellular phone or two for the office, if agents cannot afford one of their own. Limit its use to emergencies only. Encourage agents to carry it with them, especially when showing alone, at night, or when they'll be out for extended periods of time. It could be a life-saver in an emergency situation.
  • Create office have profile sheets for each potential customer or client. Consider making one or editing the current version to include questions that will help ensure the agents' safety. Then use them faithfully. Learn to listen more carefully. Her more than just real estate-related information. Listen for clues of a possible alternative motive for calling. Note where they got your name and interview them carefully before agreeing to meet.
  • Avoid using your first name, faces, and home address. We all know that networking and getting your name "out there" is an important part of the real estate business, but avoid using your first name on ads or lawn sign riders. Attractive photos on lawn signs and advertising can send the wrong message. Don't carry your name and address on a key ring. On folders or your briefcase, use the office address, not your home address.
  • Appearance means nothing. Few people "look like criminals." Think of how some of the most notorious serial killers looked. Ted Bundy, David Berkowitz, and Jeffrey Dahmer were not exactly Charles Manson look-a-likes.
  • Call in "to advise the office of your whereabouts." When out in the field, before going into a home where no one knows you'll be - cal the office. Confirm the person's address and phone number "for the office."

Don't sacrifice safety for the lure of a sale. The intention of this information is not to frighten staff, although it may seem that way. It is intended to help them avoid ever becoming a victim. Realtors have an inherent amount of risk associated with their daily business. By recognizing these risks and consciously dealing with them, we increase our chances of staying safe. In the worst case scenario, we'll be better prepared should a situation arise. Most importantly, follow your intuition. If you sense something is wrong, trust your instincts, and get out of the situation- immediately.