The holiday season will soon be upon us and a celebration will be taking place where ever you may turn. As we prepare for Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, and Kwanza, to name a few, safety has to be priority. More specifically, safety for the Realtors and their clients as the business of real estate involves inherent risks.
The holiday season is a time to be charitable, generous and joyous. However, the holiday season is not a time for Realtors to let down their guards. Thinking more critically about your work environment will keep you on the “Safety First” track. Before you host an open house, inform your clients about safeguarding their valuables during showings and remember your online marketing campaign may reveal a lot of information about you. Information that may be of use to someone with larceny in their heart.
To make sure we all have the best holiday season ever, please follow these tips as your safety depends on it:
• 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.
• 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.
• Make sure that if you were to escape by the back door, you could escape from the backyard. Frequently, high fences surround yards that contain swimming pools or hot tubs.
• Have all open house visitors sign in. Ask for full name, address, phone number and email.
• When showing the house, always walk behind the prospective buyer. Direct them–don’t lead them. Say, for example, “The kitchen is on your left,” and gesture for them to go ahead of you.
• Avoid attics, basements, and getting trapped in small rooms.
• Notify someone in your 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.
• Inform a neighbor that you will be showing the house and ask if he or she would keep an eye and ear open for anything out of the ordinary.
• 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. Be prepared to defend yourself, if necessary.
I want to thank Washington Real Estate Safety Council; city of Mesa, Arizona; Nevada County Board of Realtors; and the Georgia Real Estate Commission for generating these tips. For more safety tips, NAR has a wealth of resources, including articles, videos, webinars, and courses, to help agents, brokers, and associations better understand and educate each other about the risks they face. Please visit NAR’s Realtors Safety website at www.nar.realtor/Safety.
These tips should be followed every day because your safety ought to always come first! I look forward to seeing all of our members and friends at our 33rd Annual Holiday Party and Toy Drive on December 13, 2017. Tickets are $125.00 for members and $175.00 for non-members. For tickets, sponsorships or more information, please contact 718-892-3000.
Eliezer Rodriguez, Esq. is the chief executive officer of The Bronx-Manhattan North Association of Realtors, Bronx, N.Y.