by Jarrod C. Grasso, RCE, CEO, New Jersey Association of REALTORS®, 2015 Chair of the AE Committee
Above all the other parts of the job, I hope every one of our members takes his or her safety seriously.
Recently, we were tragically reminded of some of the on-the-job dangers when we learned of Arkansas REALTOR® Beverly Carter’s death. Beverly disappeared in September after showing a home to a prospective client, who later was charged with her kidnapping and murder. Across the country, this was a painful reminder of how careful our members have to be in their day-to-day lives.
In a perfect world, every potential buyer and seller would be respectful and kind. But the world we live in is far from perfect. Being a REALTOR® involves risks that come in many forms.
As AEs, we work very hard to educate and prepare our members for every possible situation. Still, the association’s voice can only reach so far. I urge you to ask your members about their safety plan: With whom do they check in? How do they vet clients? Where do they log information?
AEs can offer help and resources to advise members in their plans and preparations. Promote the resources from the national association, which include agent itineraries, action plan documents, and prospect identification forms. Print copies for members and distribute them at meetings. It may seem like an unnecessary step, but anything that can help keep our members safe is worth it.
Encouraging members to have a safety strategy will go a long way, whether it’s in the office, out with clients, or at home.
We need to encourage our members to talk with their managers and make sure there is an office-wide safety plan, not just a personal one. We all know office dynamics vary from broker to broker. In one brokerage office, it may be easy to institute new rules regarding meeting new clients and logging identification. In another, members may hit red tape if they try to change office procedures too much. So what are we to do? I think the answer lies in our individual members. We need to foster an environment that allows for members to help and support one another, especially when they ask to make changes for the better.
As an organization, we traditionally recognize REALTOR® safety in September, but it’s really a year-round job. I’m encouraging you to make a year-round commitment to your members’ safety. The AE Committee stands ready to assist NAR President Chris Polychron in any way possible with his safety initiative for 2015.