On the heels of two recent incidents—one involving an armed man hiding in a vacant home and the other involving the attempted abduction of an agent—it’s important for real estate professionals to understand the types of situations in which they are most vulnerable and how to protect themselves. As September is REALTOR® Safety Month, the National Association of REALTORS® has released its 2020 Member Safety Report, showing that practitioners feel most vulnerable when meeting with unknown clients at vacant properties. “Being aware of potential dangers and empowering themselves with precautions and preparations will help REALTORS® avoid risky situations on the job—and could mean the difference between life and death,” according to NAR’s report.
This year’s survey revealed the situations where real estate professionals feared the most for their personal safety:
During an open house: 31%
During a showing: 31%
While meeting a new client for the first time at a secluded location/property: 27%
After receiving a threatening or inappropriate email, text message, phone call, or voicemail: 27%
While meeting a new client for the first time in a public place: 8%
While driving in a car with a client: 3%
While open houses were listed as one of the top scenarios where agents feel vulnerable, 51% say they have hosted an open house alone, the survey shows. Thirty-nine percent of pros say they have met a new or prospective client alone at a secluded location or property, and 40% say they’ve shown vacant properties in areas with poor or no cell phone signal.
NAR’s report highlights the core components of safety on the job—knowledge, awareness, and empowerment—and many real estate pros have adopted important safety measures:
Participated in a self-defense class: 38%
Taken a REALTOR® Safety course: 29%
Carry a self-defense weapon: 49%
Nineteen percent of real estate pros carry pepper spray, 14% carry a firearm, and 7% carry a pocket knife. Many also say they use smartphone safety apps enabling them to instantly alert colleagues in case of an emergency. The most common apps used are the Find My iPhone feature, GPS Phone Track for Android, and SentriKey Real Estate App’s agent safety feature.
More REALTORS® this year (72%) say they have not experienced a situation that made them fear for their personal safety or the safety of their personal information than last year (67%). But the data was collected from July 20 to August 10—after the COVID-19 outbreak had mostly curtailed showings during the typically busy spring season.