Last week our management team from Towne Realty Group, including Broker Karen Bigos, Salesperson Daniel Cannizzo, instructor & Broker Gary Large, Broker Barbara Birkitt and Salesperson Cynthia Rosario, attended a continuing education breakfast at the Grand Summit Hotel in Summit, NJ. Real Estate Safety Matters was offered by the North Central Jersey Association of Realtors. (NJCAR) and the concept behind the course is:
Safe Business = Smart Business
This class offered credits for our annual continuing education, required for all New Jersey licensed Realtors, but most importantly, it taught us the invaluable lesson of how to stay safe, when working with the public and the many strangers whom we meet at open houses and online.
Learning how to stay out of harms way when listing & selling real estate, takes time and practice. Gary Large, Director of NCJAR, taught over 100 agents & Brokers on best practices for safety.
- The first step is never linger in your car sending texts or letting your guard down in an unfamiliar area.
- Always carry a fully-charged mobile phone with GPS tracking turned on and alert a contact at home or at your office, who knows where you are at all times.
- Don’t wear expensive jewelry when out showing homes – this makes you a target.
- Don’t post on social media accounts that you are hosting an open house alone.
- Meet all new clients at the office; ask to see their photo ID, make a copy and leave it with someone at the office.
- Take your own car to the appointment and snap a photo of their license plate and text it to someone at the office.
- Never agree to meet anyone for the first time, when you are alone or in a vacant home. If you do not have a co-host at your publice Open house, ask a friend, relative or neighbor to sit outside or to drop by once an hour, to check in on you. Keep the front door locked when you are touring around the house so no one can sneak in while you are upstairs or in the basement.
- If you feel the need to call 911, it is better to dial from a land line than a cell phone. In case you get disconnected, the emergency personnel can track the address better than from a cell phone. If you must call for help from a cell phone, have the phone number for the local police on speed dial and tell them your address right away.
- Carry pepper spray and consider if you will be able to use it if someone is threatening you. No one in our office carries a gun but in some states, having a weapon is an option.
- If you feel the need to run, take off high heels and anything that will stop you from getting away.
- Have a code word to use if you call the office or your family, and when they hear that word, they will know you are in trouble and call for help.
- Never let the stranger come between you and the door and always let them go up or down the stairs first.
There are many more topics regarding safety but this is a good list to focus on as you begin to consider staying safe as a Realtor.
For more info from the National Association of Realtors visit: www.Realtor.org/topics/realtor-safety
For more info from the Federal Trade commission on security visit: www.ftc.gov/infosecurity