Your safety is important. Make a promise to yourself to adopt intentional safety practices and habits into your routine. It’s important that we are knowledgeable, aware and empowered to keep ourselves safe, because, according to the 2022 National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) Member Safety Report:
- 23% of REALTORS® experienced a situation that made them fear for their personal safety or the safety of their personal information.
- 73% of REALTORS® have personal safety protocols in place that they follow with every client. Females, at 75%, are more likely to have a plan in place than males, at 67%.
- The top situation REALTORS® reported feeling unsafe was after receiving a threatening or inappropriate email, text message, phone call or voicemail. The second most common situation was during a showing.
To protect yourself and your clients, you can implement small but impactful measures to support your safety throughout every step of the transaction.
We compiled nine essential best practices to help you stay safe:
- If you’re catching up on paperwork or making phone calls while parked in your car, be aware of your surroundings and avoid lingering.
- Keep your car in good condition to reduce the chances of being in a vulnerable situation, such as a flat tire.
- Download the FOREWARN app to have safer, more informed interactions at ChicagoREALTOR.com/FOREWARN. This app is complimentary for all Chicago REALTORS®!
- Ensure your phone is charged at all times. Bring a mobile charger with you, just in case.
- Let someone know if you are working in your office alone after hours and verify that the doors are secured.
- Create a safety plan for your office and colleagues, including code words or signals that can be used to ask for help in uncomfortable situations.
- Meet with a client for the first time at a public location or your office.
- Check all the rooms and outdoor areas at the end of an open house.
- Tell a colleague or family member when you’re planning on meeting up with a client, especially a new one.
There is also a side to REALTOR® safety that can occur due to unconscious bias and discrimination: a REALTOR® being identified as a threat based on their race or ethnicity.
This is especially dangerous for REALTORS® of color who are looking for and accessing lockboxes. When a lockbox is placed on the side or back of a home, it forces the visiting REALTOR® to walk around the property searching for it; neighbors can mistakenly believe this is an intruder “casing” the property and call the police. Avoid potentially dangerous, anxiety-inducing situations like these by placing the lockbox somewhere easily accessible and visible to the neighborhood.
Chicago REALTORS® have access to a member perk called FOREWARN, which can be used to verify a prospect’s identity, leading to safer, more informed interactions. As an association, we offer a diverse range of tools to support and empower you on the job.
Remember to keep your REALTOR® peers in mind when listing properties. It’s important to host safety conversations year-round. Talk about safety with your fellow REALTORS®, encourage them to
create safety plans and practice what you preach.