September is Realtor safety month. After being in real estate for 33 years, I know my safety always comes first. Being in the industry, we often hear about local incidents that have happened to Realtors that are downright frightening. Supposedly 49% of Realtors carry a weapon.
Do you remember these local incidents?
- a Realtor being tied up in the basement of a vacant home for days, only to be saved by finally getting the attention of the mailman
- the new homes subdivision agent who was tied up with her pantyhose and
- my Realtor friend who was forced at gunpoint to drive to an ATM to withdraw money.
Realtors are not pop-tarts
And yet every day, Realtors are holding open houses and running out to meet total strangers without thinking twice about it. They never think anything like those stories could happen to them. But 31% of Realtors have said they felt unsafe during an open house.
Realtor safety always reminds me of tips you should always use when you invite strangers into your home. Never get too comfortable and lose track of what’s going on.
For example, do you remember the news story about the Prairie Village resident whose long time handyman finally attacked her while doing work at her home? Thankfully, she was able to fight him off. You should never be off your guard when inviting strangers into your home.
Remember, predators come in all shapes and sizes. You can never be too careful.
Here are a few Realtor safety tips that homeowners should follow when allowing strangers into your home:
- Never let them think you are home alone
- If you are alone, let them know someone will be home soon – “my husband ran to the store, he should be home any minute” or “my son is stopping by shortly to see how things are going.”
- Have an “out” just like on a bad date. Arrange to have someone call you to check up on you and have a “safe word” to use in case you need help.
- Always walk behind them by directing them to go first. Open the front door and allow them in and direct them by saying, “after you.”
- Never, ever go down the basement stairs ahead of anybody. They could easily push you down the steps or hit you over the head with something.
- If there is more than one person in your house, keep an eye on them while they are working.
- Make sure your cell phone is charged and you have it on you
- Don’t leave your valuables lying around the house – like your purse or wallet in plain sight
- Lock up any prescription drugs
- Make sure your car is locked and park your car in the street or at the end of your driveway so they can’t block you in. I can’t tell you how many open houses I left in a hurry because I felt I was in harm’s way.
- Always have your keys in your pocket in case you need to get away quickly
- Plan ahead with an escape route in case you have to use it
Don’t be a victim
You don’t need to live in fear that something bad is going to happen to you. But you should think things through beforehand. And take every precaution you can. Typically women who get their purses stolen are the ones that are unaware of their surroundings. They aren’t paying attention, talking on their phone and never saw it coming.
If you are on your game, you more than likely won’t be a victim. But you can never be too cautious when dealing with strangers – especially in your own home. More than one time in my life I have been confronted with scary situations. Every time I learn from them.
Learn from these Realtor safety tips and pick at least one you will use to keep yourself safe. If you are thinking of selling or buying real estate in or around Overland Park, let’s meet in a safe environment. Call or text (913) 515-3250 to set up a FREE Consultation or reach out here.