Recent reports to the association offices of prescription drugs being stolen during open houses is just one example of many risky situations that can occur and why it's important to keep safety precautions in mind while you are on the job. An open house can be a great tool to market a property, but it also exposes you to numerous unfamiliar people for the first time.
Aside from an open house, as a real estate practitioner, you’re faced with potentially risky situations every day. Meeting new clients, showing homes, and even walking to your car at night can be dangerous. It’s essential that you make safe decisions and know how to react when confronted with trouble. Below are several important yet simple tips to follow for safety while conducting an open house:
• If possible, always try to have at least one other person working with you at the open house.
• Check your cell phone’s strength and signal prior to the open house. Have emergency numbers programmed on speed dial, and keep your phone with you at all times.
• Upon entering a house for the first time, check all rooms and determine several “escape” routes. Make sure all deadbolt locks are unlocked to facilitate a faster escape.
• Have all open house visitors sign in. Ask for full name, address, phone number and e-mail.
• When showing the house, always walk behind the prospect. Direct them; don’t lead them. Say, for example, “The kitchen is on your left,” and gesture for them to go ahead of you.
• Communicate frequently with the office, your answering service, a friend or a relative that you will be calling in every hour on the hour. And if you don’t call, they are to call you. Have a code word that you use with your office in case you feel unsafe.
• Don’t assume that everyone has left the premises at the end of an open house. Check all of the rooms and the backyard prior to locking the doors.
There are many other very important safety ideas available from the National Association of REALTORS® Safety Program available free online at www.realtor.org/about_nar/safety
. GBAR urges every broker to review this important material and share it with their agents at their next office meeting.