When I first began working as a leasing agent, many people asked me if I ever got worried about showing vacant houses and being alone with strangers. Actually, I’ve been asked the question by a number of people looking to rent, which made for a couple of somewhat awkward situations. As a matter of fact, I had never considered my personal safety until someone mentioned it. I tend to think I am a decent judge of character and would certainly know if I was in a dangerous situation. However, I no longer rely on my intuition alone to protect me from an aggressive or angry person looking to do me harm. This is not because I’ve ever found myself in a threatening situation, but because I definitely want to avoid that possibility.
There are many ways that realtors and leasing agents (or anyone, really) can protect themselves and be defensive. Realtor.org provides a list of 56 safety tips for realtors which are very helpful and informative. These tips range from learning self-defense, to protecting your personal identity, to making sure you don’t get blocked in when you park your car. These are all important tips to learn and follow if you or someone you know is a realtor or leasing agent. And, in case you need proof that realtors and leasing agents get into uncomfortable situations, RealtorMag has an article with stories and suggestions for prevention.
Our job as realtors and leasing agents require that we present ourselves as courteous and professional, and I find that establishing that manner right off the bat is very important. This way, I set the tone for future interactions, and it helps me to notice when someone is “off” or if the situation feels uncomfortable. I never give out personal information or talk about my weekend plans, or where I live. At showings I go to an open, central area of the house and “direct” the showing from there, pointing out features and rooms as the potential clients move about the house. I never enter a room before someone, or let them stand in the doorway, blocking my way out. If done confidently and smoothly, most people will recognize this as a personal security measure and will not take offense, or they will just see it as the way you handle showings and not even think twice about it. If I do need to go into a room to address a specific question or concern, I always have my purse with me, on my person – I have a small knife in there and a little can of pepper spray, just in case.
I think it’s important to note that I do not feel afraid at showings. This is due, in part, because I am prepared, and I’ve taken precautions to ensure my safety. I’m aware of my surroundings and I am probably more familiar with the house and the area than the people I am showing it to for the first time. The point is not to work yourself into a frenzy of defensiveness, but to feel confident in your preparedness and to take precautions to ensure your safety.
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