When REALTORS® think safety, it’s usually the REALTORS’® own safety that’s foremost in mind. But what about clients’ safety? They, too, face some dangers in allowing strangers into their homes or in visiting other people’s properties.
Here is some valuable advice to share with your clients; you’ll be helping them learn to protect themselves against crime:
- Remind your clients that strangers will be walking through their homes during showings or open houses. Tell them to hide any valuables in a safe place. For security’s sake, remember to remove keys, credit cards, jewelry, crystal, furs, and other valuables from the home or lock them away during showings. Also remove prescription drugs.
- Do not leave personal information like mail or bills out in the open where anyone can see it. Be sure to lock down computers and lock up laptops and any other expensive, easy-to-pocket electronics, like iPods, before showings.
- Tell your clients not to show their homes by themselves. Alert them that not all agents, buyers, and sellers are who they say they are. Predators come in all shapes and sizes. We tell our children not to talk to strangers. Tell your sellers not to talk to other agents or buyers, and to refer all inquiries to you.
- Instruct your clients that they are responsible for their pets. If possible, animals should be removed during showings. Make clients aware that buyers and agents are sometimes attacked, and the owner will be held liable.
- At an open house, be alert to the pattern of visitors’ arrivals, especially near the end of showing hours. In some areas, a group of thieves will show up together near the end of the open house and, while a string of "potential buyers” distracts the agent, the rest of the group walks through the house, stealing any valuables they come across.
- Finally, when you leave a client’s property, whether after an open house or a standard showing, make sure that all doors and windows are locked. Thieves commonly use open houses to scout for valuables and possible points of entry, and then return after the agent leaves.
- Let your clients know that you will take all of the above safety precautions, but that when they return home, they should immediately verify that all doors are locked and all valuables accounted for.
(Source: REALTORSafety911.com; Realty Times; ThinkGlink.com)