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Daily Real Estate News  |  May 14, 2009  |   Real Estate Safety Tips: Be Vigilant
Driving new clients around in your car, sitting alone at an open house, meeting a prospect at a property for the first time.

While most real estate practitioners don’t dwell on all the ways their career makes them vulnerable to criminals, safety and security consultant Andrew Wooten discussed several key steps that can reduce your chances of being harmed on the job during the Professional Development Forum on Thursday at the 2009 REALTORSŪ Midyear Legislative Meetings.

“Your safety is nothing more than a perception” said Wooten, president of Safety Awareness Firearms Education (S.A.F.E) of Jacksonville, Fla. “We want to help you enlarge that perception. It’s about what you can do. You are your best weapon against crime: your mind, your voice, your body. It’s not about buying tasers, pepper spray, or guns.”

He offered the following safety tips:
  • Listen to yourself. Don’t enter a situation if something doesn’t feel right. Pay attention to your surroundings and trust yourself.
  • Ask for an I.D. When meeting clients for the first time, ask them to produce a driver’s license. To reduce awkwardness, explain that is the policy of your brokerage for clients to show identification.
  • Take separate cars. If you don’t know clients well, ask them to take their own vehicle to visit properties. And meet them initially at a restaurant or other public place.
  • Kill them with kindness. If you think you are being followed, say hello and make other friendly comments. This sends the message that you notice who’s around you, and could thwart a potential assault since you are reducing the chance of a “surprise attack.”
  • Get on the phone. When you are feeling vulnerable around someone, call a colleague and mention your current whereabouts and where you are headed next so that person can hear your conversation. They will be less likely to cause a problem when they realize others know their location.
  • Meet the neighbors. Before an open house, knock on the door of the neighbors, invite them to come over, and leave your business cards. The more people aware of your whereabouts the better.

Wendy Cole, REALTORŪ Magazine

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