Real Estate Crime Levels are Rising – How to Protect Yourself

Strangers are posing a threat to more than just children these days. You may be at risk, as well as your coworkers and clients. The real estate business has seen plenty of crime over the years, and the rates are only getting higher.

Being in the real estate industry means you are always meeting new people in unfamiliar locations. For this reason, real estate agents are learning ways to protect themselves and their clients against crime.

Feeling unsafe on the job

Data from the National Association of Realtors reveals that 40 percent of real estate professionals have reported a situation where they feared for their own safety. Usually, these incidents took place at open houses, during a home showing, in model homes or remotely located properties.

Research also shows that over one-third of all real estate professionals have taken a self-defense course. 13 percent use a tracking app on their phones to share their location with families or coworkers.

Sellers fear for their safety too

In addition to real estate professionals, crimes against homeowners with property for sale is on the rise. An open house is an invitation for potential buyers as well as potential criminals to come into their home.

Posing as interested buyers, thieves can case a home and return later to steal valuables such as jewelry, art and even medications. They may also lift a keyless entry code from an agent while viewing the home.

Tips for homeowners

  • If you are showing your home, keep your valuables in storage or safety deposit boxes
  • Hide your medications
  • After a showing, check your home to make sure there isn’t anything missing
  • Hide any weapons, including kitchen knives

Tips for real estate agents

  • Don’t advertise your photo unless necessary
  • Use a tracking app on your phone and share with others
  • Take a self-defense course
  • Carry mace
  • Reprogram keyless entry code after each showing
  • Keep your purse or wallet locked in your car
  • Meet clients at your office whenever possible

General safety tips at open houses

  • Do not show a property after dusk
  • Drive yourself to homes, do not accept a ride
  • Avoid going alone if possible
  • Park your car in the street instead of the driveway
  • Make sure your phone is charged
  • Check all rooms when first entering a home
  • Plan possible escape routes
  • Have clients walk ahead of you instead of behind you
  • Avoid showing attics and basements
  • Make clients register online with a verified phone number and email