September is Realtor Safety Month. It’s traditionally a time for us to reflect on the physical dangers of our occupation, and then get too busy to make any changes in our businesses. We forget about the issue until the next year, when we’ll reflect again on our associates who were robbed, assaulted, and murdered.
2015 has been different, though. There are a number of brand new causes making real headway for Realtor safety that have the potential to logistically transform how we do real estate sales.
This year, we’re going to remember
So let’s get to the point with what you can do, and why you can’t ignore it any longer:
Remember when Vivian Martin was murdered in Ohio showing her listing?
If you have broker friends like Vivian, they’d benefit from everyone signing on to a policy like that of Iowa Realtors. The Realtor safety pledge, to always meet new clients at an office or verify ID, could alter consumers’ view of how we do business. If it becomes standard practice, it could keep many of our associates out of harm’s way.
Remember when Mike Emert was murdered showing a vacant home in WA?
If you had a friend like Mike, you would’ve wanted your Realtor board to join a cause like Realtor Safe Harbor. State boards across the country are starting to endorse this idea of sharing our office spaces for the mutual safety benefit of our members. It’s putting safety before competition.
Remember when Ashley Oakland was murdered in a model home in Iowa?
You probably have agents in your office who could benefit from safety awareness training. Create a supervised environment for agents like Ashley to work in, and give them the training necessary to avoid dangerous situations.
Remember when Sarah Anne Walker was murdered at a home in Texas?
Agents like Sarah Anne who work with buyers would benefit from a number of smartphone safety apps. She could have gotten a scan of her murderer’s ID and known if he was a long-time criminal before going to that home. Better yet, she could have scared him off by just asking him to text over a picture of his ID before going to the appointment.
Remember when Ann Nelson was murdered in Wisconsin showing a home?
If you have co-workers like Ann, they could use any of NAR’s recommended safety timers, devices, and even jewelry that alert others when they are in distress. At the first signs of trouble, these devices save valuable minutes in getting help to our friends.
Of course, we all remember Beverly Carter’s murder in Arkansas.
You can do something as an individual business to prevent that kind of crime from happening to an agent you know. Sign up your team for Open Door Partners and let agents use your lobby, instead of an empty home, to meet unknown clients.
Realtor safety is a difficult topic to sustain. It’s not glamorous, and it’s not driving dollars into our businesses. It is, though, at the heart of what we do. Real estate is a people business, and if we don’t make our agents’ and brokers’ safety our top priority, we’re just burying our heads in the sand.
The danger is real, and when it hits home, no amount of sales volume can make up for what we’ve lost.
2015 is Realtor Safety Year. Let’s remember this year. Let’s take action.