The month of September is observed as REALTOR Safety month and it is important that we take a moment each day to reflect on keeping ourselves, our agents and our home buyers and sellers safe.
Unfortunately when the economy has a bit of a depression people who normally would not be inclined to do illegal or immoral activities indulge in them. We must be very diligent in protecting ourselves and our property.
Normally I do instruct my homeowners during the market review and general home selling experience to make sure to put away any small items which someone could put in their pockets or pocketbooks as well as removing from sight and mind any other items of great value including jewelry boxes, computers, cameras and such. Also any medications, no matter how benign - even for the dog or cat - be put away or better yet remain on their person during the home sale process. Some people who are stealing medications don't even have any clue as to what their street value is or medical use. And finally any household which has guns on site should remove them or secure them in a locked closet or safe. The local police department will usually hold any guns for a homeowner during the sale process.
No one wants anyone to be disturbed by the thought of having their personal space invaded by a party who takes their property. We spoke above to homeowners but real estate agents now carry much technology with them on a regular basis too, the GPS in the car, the smartphone, ipad, laptop, bluetooth, cameras and such - I think we have listed well in access of $2000 worth of technology here which is useful to a thief for resale but how many times do we leave our vehicles unlocked or laptops out on a countertop during the open house while we show people the property. Agents leave laptop bags and pocketbooks within site of all. Please if possible lock your items of value in your vehicle during your open houses and showings. Do not think those seconds to lock your vehicle are wasted time. And another caution is the jewelry worn at open houses, with gold bringing such a high price, think twice about your accessory items on your person at your open house.
Personal safety at an open house is a big priortity, we are a trusting profession. We expect that all of those people who show up for the open house or showing appointment are truly interested in buying a new home but that may not be the case. Please let's use care when showing a property, go with your gut, if you are at all uncomfortable with a party at a property take action, remove yourself with a phone call or more. Always try to have the party you are showing the home to infront of you, especially on stairwells and hallways. Basements may be best viewed by the individual without you as well as some other remote areas of a property. Teaming is the best way to protect oneself during showings. No longer can we ask people for their information and anticipate that it is accurate. If at all possible always confirm an appointment via a return cellphone and email address (google both and see if they match the information provided to you), maybe send them information prior to the showing with a comment, question or concern which requires a response back to you. Give your team mates your location and schedule if you are the least bit uncomfortable. And of course a class on personal self protection is always a plus.
Keep your cellphone on you at all times, no matter what and another quick safety precaution may be keeping your car keys in your hand and knowing where the panic button is on your keypad for the car alarm, that loud noise may be enough to un-nerve a would be attacker.
September and every month is Safety month for Realtors, stay safe!
MaryBeth Mills Muldowney, Massachusetts Real Estate Broker and Licensed Auctioneer
"The pessimist complains about the wind. The optimist expects it to change.
The Leader adjusts the sails." -John Maxwell
Founder and President, TradeWinds Realty Group LLC
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781-681-9959 Norwell office 508-746-5559 Plymouth office 781-910-7294 cellular