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Open House Safety Tips

The National Association of Realtors has declared September as Realtor Safety Month. So we have compiled some tips to help remind our partners of the importance of evaluating (or re-evaluating) the security and safety measures they have in place for Open House interactions.

realtor showing home during open house

As we make connections when pursuing a career in real estate it can be both exciting and fulfilling. However, it does come with risks. Hosting an Open House helps gain exposure for the property and gives you an opportunity to meet potential clients, but it can also put you in a vulnerable position. While it is important to bring awareness this month, preparation is the best way to fine tune the gift of instinct and avoid being a target from the violent acts that have taken place against real estate professionals.

Be Familiar

Be sure you have visited the property before the Open House so you can become familiar with it and determine several “escape” routes. Upon entering a house for the first time, check all rooms, windows and doors. Make sure that if you were to escape by the back door there are no high fences surrounding the yard that you are not able to unlock or climb over.

Be Fully Charged

Check your cell phone’s strength and signal prior to the Open House. Have emergency numbers programmed on speed dial. Notify someone in your brokerage or someone you trust that you are having the Open House. Agree to call them at specific times to check in and have them ready to call you and check in if they haven't heard from you. Have your phone ready to call for help and never set it down or leave it unattended.

Be Accompanied

Being alone puts you at a higher risk so always try to have at least one other person working with you at the Open House. This can be another realtor or partner you know very well or someone that isn't even involved in real estate that you know and trust. If you must go it alone (and that's a big if) make it appear as though one is coming any minute or has been there and is coming back shortly. Don’t be more lax with perspective clients who are small women versus large men. Many criminals have partners they team up with to trick you so be sure to treat all visitors equally.

Be Show Smart

Dress professionally, but wear shoes you can run or easily escape in if needed. When you arrive for the Open House be sure to park your car in a place where it can be blocked by another vehicle. If possible inform a neighbor that you will be showing the house so they can keep an eye and ear open for anything out of the ordinary. When guests arrive make sure they all sign in. When showing the house, always walk behind the prospect so you are directing them vs leading them. Tell them about a space in the home and then point them in the direction so they go ahead of you. If you are alone, avoid attics, basements, and small rooms with no exits.

Be Prepared

Don't assume everyone has left the premises or that someone has not returned to hide in the shadows once the Open House is over. This means.. be prepared to defend yourself! If you are alone it is advised to have someone on the phone with you during the final walk through before you lock up. It is also a good idea to have secret word or phrase to signal that you feel that you are in danger either with the person you have on the phone or with the partner who is there assisting you. Many real estate professionals have taken the next step of preparing themselves by taking self-defense classes, carrying pepper spray and hanging a bell on the doors of the home (so that they always know when someone is coming and going). If something seems off or is making you feel uncomfortable, don’t dismiss it and trust your gut instinct.

We care about our real estate partners and want them to feel safe and supported in their endeavors. By being a realtor founded title company, we understand first hand the risks of being in the public eye, making connections with strangers and the fear you feel from the dangers that have occurred during Open Houses. As your preferred title company, our team is always here to assist you in any way we can. Remember, with Willow Bend Title by your side you never have to go it alone.


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