Last year I shot this video with Kung Fu Master and self-defense expert, Jeremy Roadruck on real estate agent safety. It contains practical steps all of us can take to protect ourselves from situations like the recent tragedy in Arkansas, the abduction and murder of a fellow Realtor, Beverly Carter. Please share this blog post with every Real Estate agent you know to help us all be better prepared and more aware of how to be safe.
Here are the key points Jeremy discusses in the video about personal safety strategies and self-defense. First, he makes the point that Self-defense is not necessarily fighting. Smart self-defense is doing whatever it takes to get yourself to a position of safety as fast as possible when there is a personal threat to your life or well-being.
Here are some TIPS on practicing personal safety awareness and self-defense:
Never show a house to someone you do not know until you have their drivers license on file.
This means that your initial meeting with them should take place at your office. Legitimate buyers will respect that this is part of your pre-qualifying process AND as part of your office’s safety policy. If they insist on you just meeting them at a property with no previous contact or verification of the qualifications as a buyer, simply inform them that is not the way you do business.
This is what some of the news is reporting about the job of a real estate agent: “Selling real estate is a solitary profession that involves escorting virtual strangers into sometimes vacant properties at a moment’s notice.” (WashingtonPost.com) That may be common practice for some agents, but it is not smart from a business perspective, nor certainly from a personal safety perspective. If that’s been your practice, it’s time to change it now.
Before you go into a house or property, know your exit plan.
Know how you are going to get out and where you will run if something happens. This means know where you can get to quickly where there are other people. Crowds or even one or two other people within easy earshot will make a would-be attacker reluctant to do anything.
If you ever get in a situation where you can not escape the house, barricade yourself in a room using your foot to wedge the door at the bottom. In the video, Jeremy explains how to do that in the video and why it works.
Carry yourself with a “Don’t Mess with Me” attitude.
Confidence and power make criminals flee. The way you stand physically communicates whether you look like a victim or someone not to be messed with. Carry yourself erect and alert. Criminals look for easy targets. They look for weakness and will avoid strength.
Make sure someone always knows where you are, and have a communication strategy.
Have a pre-arranged emergency communication strategy.
This should be done with your office or someone who knows where you are at all times when you are showing property or doing an open house. Jeremy recommends a color code system that you can use to call or text back to the office or your contact person to communicate danger. For example, use a color code such as red means danger. And if you text or call and include mention of “the red folder” that means, “I am in danger, call 911 now.”
The most important thing is to pay attention. Listen to your intuition and have policies and procedures in place that are good practice for your business and smart practice for your life and well-being. No commission check is worth risking your life and safety. Be aware. Be prepared. And be smart. You’re worth it.
Please share this blog post with other agents (using links below). And also post your comments and questions below.