Dear Patty - Property Manager Safety
Monday, December 1, 2014
REALTOR® safety has been a big issue lately. Do you have any safety suggestions just for property managers?
--Should I. Bepackin
I’ve seen those stories as well. With the recent death of an Arkansas REALTOR® fresh in the minds of many, your question is surely a timely one - and one in which many others might find value in an answer. Property managers and sales agents have a number of things in common, but perhaps the biggest difference between the two lies in the sheer volume of prospects that property managers encounter each day. The more we encounter, the greater the chance of danger - and in light of my having had 20-showing days in the past month, I’d suggest a few helpful safety hints that might serve to keep you and others a bit safer:
Know your prospects. The ideal scenario of meeting each prospect at your office could very well prove to be impractical. That said, you can have the prospects text you a photo of their driver’s license - and you should document as much about them as possible (phone numbers, specific property they will be viewing, etc.).
Know your property. Do your best to arrive at a property a few minutes ahead of time, especially in cases where you’re visiting a place for the first time. Make a trip through the property and familiarize yourself with all of the doors and ways you can exit the property if need be, and turning on all of the lights at the same time. A well-lit property will tend to draw the eye of neighbors and also be a bit of a deterrent to folks who might seek to do you harm.
Know the area around your property. As you approach a property, make a few mental notes about the surrounding homes and take special care in cases where the property backs up to woods or sits on a cul-de-sac. Woods may provide a bit of cover for bad guys, and a cul-de-sac is all but a dead-end road when you’re needing to flee from a dangerous situation. Make a point not to park in the driveway: It’s polite to leave that space open for your prospects' convenience, but doing so also prevents someone from blocking you in and preventing you from leaving.
Tell others about your showing(s). In gated/guarded communities, speak with the guards as you enter and let them know the address of the property you're showing to a prospect. Give the guards an idea of how long it should take you to show the place, and don’t be afraid to have them check on you if they haven’t seen you leave the community within a certain time frame.
Document your showings in an online calendar that’s accessible to others. Ensure the calendar is as accurate as possible so others (be they friends, family members, or colleagues) will be able to discern when you’re just running a bit late and when it might be prudent to check up on you.
Consider taking a self-defense course. Think about enrolling in a self-defense course that teaches you a few defensive maneuvers!
The most important thing to remember here is this: You. Be proactive and do your part to keep yourself safe ahead of your showings. You’ll stand a much better chance of arriving home safe and sound at the end of each day.
"Patty the Property Manager” appears courtesy of the ORRA Property Management Subcommittee. Readers are invited to submit property management related questions to Patty by sending an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The ORRA Property Management Subcommittee provides this property-management advice column as a service to ORRA members. The column is intended to provide a general understanding, not as a substitute for individual legal consultation. The column should not be relied upon in specific situations without consulting a real estate attorney.