In 2006, while sitting in a model home without any other agent from her office, Texas agent Sarah Walker showed the home to a prospect by herself and was beaten, bitten and stabbed to death by him. The case was finally solved by evidence on the crime scene but it took a very long time. Years later, the family of this single parent wears the scars and absence of their mother who was killed for absolutely no reason other than “just for the fun of doing it.”
Right of the bat, here are some safety tips for every real estate agent who goes out and about showing houses to prospects/clients. Whether you’re showing the property on your own or with a colleague, these tips could save your life.
- Take your own car. Do not go in theirs…ever.
- Verify the customer’s identity information. Copy their driver’s license or, at least, get the number on their driver’s license. Get their address and phone number (if visiting from out of town, get their local address.) Get two references with their contact information. Write down the make, model and license of their car.
- Meet the prospect/client at your office or a public place, not at the property.
- Tell a colleague where you are, with whom and for how long.
Invest in your own safety. Here is a small sampling of apps from which to choose. There are many, many more. Whichever app you choose, always make sure your phone is fully charged at all times. Double check the connection signal on your phone when you arrive at the location of the property. Smart phones are only as smart as their users.
Real Alert (developed by a realtor) – tap ALARM to ward off attackers; speed dials 911 and your emergency contacts; located nearest hospital using current GPS location; recording feature to record details of person before you forget them.
bSafe – timer mode that triggers alarms if you’re not checked in; fake call feature to make phone ring when you want it to; guardian alert button to lest location via GPS; video feature to record what’s happening to emergency contacts.
On Guard – 5 ways to call for help including call & text, 911, contact first responders, alerts location via GPS, silent feature when threatened.
My Force – complete personal security system for smart phone with touch of 1 button.
Agenda Amor – alerts brokers, emergency contacts, etc. with everything they need to know about your appointments (where, when, with whom, etc.), safety alert…if you don’t respond, broker notified with GPS coordinates.
LifeLine Response – 1st and only patented system that utilizes natural human reaction to trigger alarm as a deterrent; silent force alarm to ask for help.
Here are just two safety products. Again, there are many, many more.
Prop Lock – mitigates risk posed by closed doors by keeping doors propped open to prevent malicious confined spaces.
Tiger Lady – fits in hand below fingers…when fist made, small claws poke out…hollow channels on underside of claws designed to capture and protect DNA to aid in making positive identity of perpetrator.