The 10 Commandments of Agent Safety

October 3, 2014

Real estate safety has been thrust in the national spotlight after the recent murder of Arkansas real estate agent Beverly Clark following a showing of a foreclosed property. The tragedy, along with the end of REALTOR® Safety Month in September, has prompted REALTOR® associations across the country to reach out to its members to remind them that their work can be dangerous and to take extra precautions in their jobs as they meet with strangers and show homes.

The Birmingham Association of REALTORS® first released its “10 Commandments of Agent Safety” in 1988 and has been using its list of strategies to teach its members how to be safe on the job ever since.

Here are the association’s commandments for agent safety:

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, like another agent or family member, with you, too.

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

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

4. Dress for safety. Dress professionally and avoid wearing expensive, flashy jewelry. Do not carry large amounts of money with you.

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

6. Use a prospect ID form. Prior to showing a property, have a printed form that asks for a prospect’s information: name, address, auto make and model, 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 and model and license tag, plus any other important contact information.

8. Set a coded distress signal. Be able to call the office or home with a message that appears harmless to a prospect but would serve as an alert to others that you’re in harm's way.

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

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

Source: "The 10 Commandments of Real Estate Agent Safety," Birmingham Business Journal (Alabama) (Oct. 1, 2014)