Tip-Top Tips for Safe Rental Property Showings
Showing homes to complete strangers these days can be a very dangerous proposition. In 2010, the latest year for which the BLS (Bureau of Labor Statistics) has released statistics, there were 63 workplace fatalities in the real estate industry. In 2010, 940 workers in the real estate and rental and leasing category, which includes but is not exclusive to real estate agents, were victims of a nonfatal assault, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, up from 620 in 2009 and 170 in 2008. These statistics help to illustrate how dangerous the real estate industry can be and that safety is of paramount importance while showing homes. This week Real Property Management Select is going to provide you with some helpful tips and preventative measures for a safe showing. These are great tips for real estate agents, leasing agents, property managers, and even those that prefer to show and manage their own properties.
1. Develop and implement a system of communication with your home office.
In short, let everyone know where you are going to be. In our office at Real Property Management Select we have a calendar that shows what everyone in the office is doing throughout the day. Whether you are using iCalendar, Google Calendar, or Outlook, everyone in your office should have their calendars synced. It is a great tool for real estate agents, leasing agents, and property managers alike to let everyone know where they are throughout the day.
If you are headed to a particularly bad or dangerous area check in with someone in the office before and after the appointment just to let everyone know you are safe. If you are a private owner trying to rent your home call your husband, wife, or loved one.
2. Create a dress code.
When showing property you definitely want to wear shoes and clothing that are conducive to business and safety. This means no high heels, no
provocative clothing, no fancy jewelry, and no handbags or purses.
Wear tactical shoes. You want shoes that you can run and kick in if you need to.
Don’t wear provocative clothing. You can still look professional and fashionable but you don’t want to wear anything too provocative.
Leave the fancy jewelry at home and leave your purses or handbags in the car. Just bring what you absolutely need to the showing. Bring your keys and your phone, and the rest can wait safely in your car. You don’t want to give any would-be attackers the chance to steal your valuables.
3. Familiarize yourself with the property’s floor plan and determine how you would escape.
If you are showing a home for the first time make sure to show up a little bit early so you have a chance to familiarize yourself with the property. Take a walk around the exterior of the home and watch for signs of occupancy (broken windows, lights on inside, personal belongings, furniture, cigarette butts, or alcohol bottles). Since you are there early you can also check if you have cell phone reception. You want to make sure you will be able to call for help if trouble arises.
After walking the exterior and determining it is safe, you can now walk the interior. You want know all of your exits. If you feel unsafe at anytime just stand with your back to the door and let the prospective tenants/buyers walk the property by in front of you. Use your gut feeling and trust it!
Escalation of Force
Now that we have covered how to avoid or prevent possibly dangerous situations that can arise during a showing we can go into escalation of force. If a situation starts to escalate it can become dangerous very quickly.
- EVADE – If you feel a situation is starting to escalate beyond your control your first action should be to leave the area and avoid any possible conflict. Flee to a safe zone and make the necessary calls to get help.
- SHOW YOURSELF – The mere presence of an authority figure can work to deter crime or diffuse a situation. No force is necessary. You just need to show yourself in a confident manner and demeanor. Use eye contact while being observant of your surroundings and staying alert.
- VERBALIZATION – If at all possible, calmly diffuse a situation by issuing calm, nonthreatening requests.
- PHYSICAL – Only do what’s reasonably necessary to defend yourself. Use a level of force to match the level of force being used in the threat.
- PEPPER SPRAY OR STUN GUN – Pepper spray or a stun gun should only be used as a last resort. Taking a class on how to safely operate these devices is highly recommended.
Thank you for reading Real Property Management Select’s “Tips for a safe showing”. We hope you can include these tips and preventative measures into your daily routine to make your showings just a little bit safer. For more informative and interesting property management blog articles, check out the Real Property Management Blog.