Risks to your safety are out there. We want you to feel empowered if an imminent threat, of any kind, comes your way. We’ve compiled tools for your use, articles to brush up on your knowledge and information for you to share with your colleagues and clients to encourage safe practices.
Safety for REALTORS® of Color
There’s 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. Recently, Eric Brown, a REALTOR® from Grand Rapids, MI, had an experience that resulted in him being handcuffed while showing a home to a client. Read the full story here.
Keep your REALTOR® peers in mind when listing properties, create safety plans and practice what you preach. Here are a few essential ways you can take care of your colleagues’ safety and your own:
- Place lockboxes in easily accessible and visible locations.
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. Help your fellow REALTORS® by placing it in a visible location.
- Dress for the job.
Wear professional attire if possible – especially if you are not familiar with the area, and put on your professional name badge.
- Keep your credentials handy.
Along with your name badge, make sure to keep your business cards on hand.
- Contact the neighbors.
If you’re a seller’s agent, encourage your clients to inform their neighbors of the potential of increased traffic due to home viewings.
Get Important Information About Prospective Clients with FOREWARN
The FOREWARN app is a complimentary, proactive safety and lead intelligence service for Chicago REALTORS®! This app allows agents to have instant due diligence on prospects. In seconds, with as little information as a phone number or name, you can verify a prospect’s identity, criminal records, bankruptcies, liens, judgments, address history and property records all in one place, leading to safer and more productive interactions.
This September, FOREWARN will host multiple training, demo & Q&A webinars. During this time, you’ll learn how to utilize FOREWARN, hear insider tips and tricks and ask questions at a live Q&A session. Check out the dates and save your spot here.
Check Out These Additional Apps for Safety
Find My iPhone
Apple users can download this app to find their missing device by logging in with their Apple ID. Other handy features include remotely locking a phone, playing a sound to help locate it, displaying a message on the lock screen by putting it in Lost Mode, and erasing all the data remotely.
GPS Phone Tracker
This is the app of choice for Android users. It also has a web login for the computer in case someone loses their phone and needs to track it. A REALTOR® might use the GPS Phone Tracker to monitor the journey of another REALTOR® traveling to and from a showing, and vice versa.
Available for both iPhone and Android devices, this app allows users to form groups with friends, family, and colleagues while Life360 shares the location of every group member within the group.
Homesnap Safety Timer
The Homesnap Safety Timer can be activated once a REALTOR® enters a home. If the prescribed amount of time runs out and the REALTOR® has not stopped the time, a message will be sent to all the emergency contacts.
Showing Beacon is designed to give you peace of mind while at a showing or meeting by offering a way to keep a preferred contact informed of your status should you want to send an alert.
More Cyber Safety
It’s your responsibility as a REALTOR® to know how to protect yourself and your clients from cyber scams. Here’s how you can lessen your risk of a cyber attack:
- Use a Password Manager: Many password managers offer a yearly subscription plan that typically costs less than $30.
- Educate Your Team: Hackers only need one click on a fraudulent link to gain access to your entire company’s network. Reiterate the importance of being vigilant and using good judgment online for all staff.
- Hire an IT adviser: For a smaller brokerage, using an IT adviser may be a more affordable option than hiring someone full time. An advisor can set up a security plan and perform maintenance monthly, as needed.
- Enable Multi-Factor Authentication: This means there will be at least two methods required for any new login.
- Educate Your Clients: Even if it feels obvious, reiterate that they should never give personal information over the phone!
The best digital security plan is a proactive, consistent one!
Read Up on Safety Tips & Tricks
In Chicago REALTOR® Magazine, we regularly share a variety of safety tips and tricks. Check out our REALTOR® safety related articles below:
- Commit to Your Safety: 9 Practices to Build into Your Routine
- Open House Safety
- Easy Safety Tips to Implement in 60 Seconds or Less
- REALTOR® Safety Month Resolutions You Should Make
- Reassure Your Clients Of the Safety of SentriLock
- Defensive Behavior: Safety Tips Just for You
- Is Your Data Exposed?
- The 411 on Safety: Get to Know Your CAPS Office & Beat Officers
Ensure Safety & Security with SentriLock Lockboxes
Sentrilock lockboxes allow you to practice safely and securely when selling a home. Only those you share the code with have access to the lockboxes, and they track activity, so you know when someone is accessing the property. Keep your seller’s home secured and provide peace of mind by using a Sentrilock lockbox. Sign up for a Sentrilock membership today!
Learn More About Safety from Our Education Team
Our education team, as well as our REALTORS® Real Estate School, have additional videos and classes for you to learn more this safety month. Check them out below.
- Lanora Office Hours: September Is REALTOR® Safety Month – How to Stay Safe
- Lanora Office Hours: REALTOR® Safety
- Sexual Harassment Prevention Training & REALTOR® Safety (2 hours CE)
Additional Safety Resources from NAR
The goal of NAR’s Safety Program is to reduce the number of safety incidents that occur in the industry, so every REALTOR® comes home safely to his or her family every night. Here are some of their top safety resources:
- Safety Videos: Covering topics like office safety, client safety, cyber safety and more.
- Safety Webinars: Discussing data security, personal safety, working with clients and more.
- On September 13, NAR will be hosting a safety webinar, Unmasking Threats: Enhancing Safety Through Situational Awareness, led by Geoff Fahringer, REALTOR®, safety instructor and law enforcement officer.
- Resources for Personal Safety: Including safety products, programs and apps.
- Safety Month 30-Day Plan Calendar: This specially crafted calendar allows you to share important safety practices with your members.
- Social Media Tips: Keep safety top of mind by sharing daily tips throughout the month.