5 Tips To Staying Safe As A Real Estate Professional

5 Tips To Staying Safe

By Marveina Peters

As a former police office, I have the ability to enter into every situation with a “trained eye.” Our community of REALTORS® and property managers continues to face unprecedented violence while showing and previewing properties. I’d like to share a bit of my expertise to help prepare you to stay safe as you successfully run your business. Here are five tips to keep you safe in the field.

Tip #1: Keep Your Strong Hand Free
Have you ever left the office or arrived at a listing appointment with a coffee in one hand, tablet or cell phone in the other hand and purse/computer bag on your arm? Specialized training has drilled into my subconscious the concept of keeping your strong hand free at all times. That way, in case of an emergency, one can react instantly, as opposed to a delayed reaction that can cost you your life. In an emergency, time is not on your side and every second counts. The time it takes to lay your phone down, avoid dropping your coffee and clenching your purse are actions that make you more vulnerable to a threat looking for his next victim.

Ideally, less is better. Ask yourself, what do I need to bring? Leave your purse in the trunk of the car or like me don’t even carry a purse on appointments. If you have to carry something, a nice wristlet is perfect. You maintain the comfortability of having your personal items at your fingertips all while keeping your hands free in case of an emergency. If you are one that must bring everything out of your car on appointments, a nice computer bag on wheels may work best for you. The important thing to remember is to always carry any item in your weak hand, keeping your strong hand free.

Tip #2: Observe Your Surroundings
I always wonder what agents are thinking when they hide lockboxes behind a bush or attach it to some water pipe on the ground. Talk about unsafe! After you finally find it you’re down on the ground with your supra key or getting scratched up and dirty by bushes. Your entire focus and attention is directed on opening that lockbox. For that split second you’re no longer observing your surroundings. Instead you’re frustrated because the supra isn’t angled correctly or the combo is the wrong number or the key is stuck in the box. This is the perfect opportunity for a predator to attack. If you’re alone on your appointments or open houses and you know it’s on lockbox, show up early then your scheduled appointment time to retrieve the key, position your body where you’re as close to a 90-degree angle from the lockbox and the street (or whichever direction a potential threat could approach you) and look up several times while opening the lockbox. Remember, your safety is just as important as your clients.

Tip #3: Trust Your Instincts
Everyone has natural intuition that tells you “something just doesn’t feel right.” It can be described as chills running through your body or as subtle as the hairs on the back of your neck standing up. That feeling is your intuition. You can almost tell when a situation is about to occur, but you continue working with that client for fear of losing him or her as a client. The reality is, if more agents trusted their instincts and paid attention to what their natural intuition was telling them, the violent assault statistics involving real estate agents wouldn’t be as high.

Tip #4: Off Set Your Vehicle

How many times have you parked right in front of your listing? Or even parked right in the driveway? By doing this you are making yourself a target. If the house is vacant and the threat is inside waiting for you, you’re telling the threat, “I’m here now” and let’s face it, you’ve advertised this open house for weeks with your phone number and the threat has called you to confirm the property is vacant. So now, he’s waiting for your arrival. By parking in the driveway or right in front of the listing you also just gave the threat your license plate number and with the right resources he now has your home address. Scary right?

Park your car a few houses down on the opposite side of the street facing your listing. By walking up to the listing, it gives you the opportunity to observe your surroundings listening for noises or voices coming from or around the neighborhood. This increases your situational awareness potentially giving you time to respond to a threat if one is presented.

Tip #5: Let The Client Go First
Every house you step foot in is a potential threat. As often as you can, be polite and let them walk in front of you. By keeping the client in front of you, you put yourself into a position of advantage should the need to defend yourself arise.


Marveina is president of Teresa Peters Executive REALTORS®, Inc. a real estate and investment firm out of Inglewood. Today, Marveina manages properties all over L.A. County and Nevada.