Real estate practice is safer than many other businesses practices but you are not completely insulated from a crime. Showing property could be as pleasant as opening the door to a wonderful couple, or that well spoken qualified buyer but as we all know, that is not always the case.
If you have to be by yourself when showing a property, there are some recommendations you should not overlook. Some real estate offices keep safety meetings to remind their agents about precautionary steps to avoid being a target of criminal activities.
The following are some of the precautions you want to remember:
- Qualify a buyer before showing a property. In many cases, potential buyers are invited to the real estate office for an informal meeting before showing property. The buyer Q&A is a helpful tool to use to learn more about the buyer. Call the phone numbers provided to confirm the identity of the buyer. Most sellers required a pre-qualified buyer before showing. Use that argument in your favor to obtain factual data on the buyer. Research your buyer’s names on the internet.
- Make someone in your office or home aware of the details of the showing by providing a copy of the buyer Q&A to them (your assistant, a family member or the receptionist in your office). Write on the top of the form the time you plan on showing the property.
- Ask the buyer if he is bringing someone with him. Remember that you are entitled to know if they are bringing a real estate agent, wife or others. Most sellers will want to know who visited their property.
- Showing property at night is a NO NO. Not only due to the risks within the property but the path of travel between your car and the property adds to the safety concern. In the extreme event that you must show a property at night you should bring an associate or friend along.
- Don’t be tempted to open the house and turn the lights on ahead of the buyer’s arrival. Wait until you client arrives and never enter alone.
- Knock hard on the door and ring the bell. Since not always you can hear the door bell and it may not be operational, knocking hard will prompt anyone inside to respond, including the dogs.
- Do not take unnecessary risks or venture out at dark or view difficult to reach places. Even when the buyer is interested in an attic or crawl space, you might want to suggest that in order to access those spaces, an arrangement for a home inspector must be made on an accepted offer.
- Keep access doors locked at all times. After you get in you must lock the door. This practice not only protects you but also the buyer.
- Send a text message to someone at home or the office when you get in the property and one when you leave the property. It could take as little as 5 seconds “I am in a showing” and another one when you get out “showing done”.
Looking forward to your suggestions…