Hi All -
It has recently come to my attention that it may not be the safest route to do a showing solo. I am a petite female which leads some to believe that I may not be able to defend myself in an unfortunate situation - forgive me as I was raised by a Police Officer - these thoughts are simply ingrained in me. Regardless of my build or ability to 'defend myself against an attacker,' (as my Dad would say), doing showings is simply part of the gig.
So my question is this, to all of you that must take this into consideration like myself - how do you go about doing a showing or open house in the safest way possible? I would like to believe in the good in people but the fact is that you really never know. Is this a common concern for other females in this industry, or even males? Or am I the product of a paranoid father of a daughter...
Advice please! :-)
It's true... you never know who you're dealing with.
There was a male real estate agent that was killed about 30 minutes from me a few years back.
There was only one time I got a little nervous while showing. The dude just acted weird, had a cane (but didn't seem to use it), and his eyes would wonder. Freaky.
Anywho, back to what you're asking, especially in open houses where you don't know the people, don't lead the prospective buyers around.
Never-EVER go into the basement. There was a local agent (before I got into real estate) that was holding an open house. Right when she was starting to close up, a guy walked in and asked her to show him around. He asked to see the basement... Well, he attempted to rape her and the only thing that saved her from getting raped and her life was the guy left the open house sign up in the yard, so a couple saw the sign and wanted to see the house. Once they knocked the guy heard them and ran away.
Tell your office where you'll be and ask them to call you at a certain time. Don't be shy about picking up your phone or making a phone call. It's better to be nervous and make a phone call than to end up dead.
Be aware of your surroundings. Let people know where you're at. And, if something smells fishy it probably is. Don't be afraid of calling the cops either if you get nervous. It's better to be safe than sorry.
Almost all of the time, I hold showings by myself. I generally do "open house" showings where people can come any time during the range of an hour. So either there are more than one person there at once, or people know that others may be coming.
Otherwise, I can hang out by the front door after letting them in and telling them, "Feel free to look around, I don't want to hover over your shoulder!" Keeps everything friendly.
I am not an agent, yet I will be taking my exam this week. I am also built like you...small and petite. My current pre licensing teacher told us that we (females) should take a self-defense class, carry pepper spray in our purses, when showing a house ALWAYS walk behind the individuals looking inside of the house, never allow individuals to get inside of your car, always meet individual at the office or a place where you feel comfortable. Lastly, if you feel sketchy tell the individuals to take a walk through with you standing outside of the house.
Just a few tips which ive learned from my licensing teacher. Good luck!
I keep the front and back patio door wide open and let them walk around themselves.
I leave all the doors open, schedule showings open house style and let everyone who comes in know that i am expecting others to show up any minute now. I stay near an open door, and I don't go upstairs with them unless it's an occupied house, and I need to watch them closer. I make sure I never have someone between me and the door, though. I don't manage properties in parts of town I'm not comfortable being in. I also have a taser.
" It's true... you never know who you're dealing with. "
I totally agree100%
I just listened to Podcast 083. Marcia mentioned always letting someone know where you are and when you should be done. Additionally, I would encourage every person to LEARN how to use a firearm for self defense from a proessional firearms defense training center. We have second Amendment rights for a reason so that law abiding citizens can defend themselves. If you think that you are at risk, then you should have an adequate defense. Pepper spray is not a defense mechanism, as there is a large percentage of people who are not affected by it, I've witnessed it in my law enforcement training. Counting on being able to physically fight someone is not an adequate defense, as there is always somene more capable than you. A firearm is not always an adequate defense mechanism, but most times it is the best option only second to...... Being wise and trusting your gut. If the situation feels wrong it probably is, if it is a bad situation or area, don't go there. There are professional predators in our world, just like there are professional tenants, that are out there to do harm. Every person should be prepared.
Yes, I definitely worry about safety. In addition to everyone's responses above, my partner and I have a system where I text/call him every 30 mins to let him know I'm ok when doing an open house or showing. I also use a safety app called B Safe You (I'm not an affiliate) that enables you to broadcast your location at all times to your friends/family and has an alarm feature that, when pressed, sounds an alarm, immediately calls your #1 contact, and records video & audio of what's happening. The video and audio recording is saved on the app's cloud storage so you can access it later if necessary for dealing with police.
Lastly, don't be afraid to be "rude". If you're uncomfortable about someone, listen to your intuition. One time, my open house had finished about 30 mins earlier and I was putting the lockbox on the house when a couple pulled up. The wife kept the car running in the street while the husband got out to ask if they could take a look at the house. I told them I was sorry, but the open house had ended and I could not let anybody else in (I was alone). He kept insisting and explained that they drove from a few hours away just for this open house. I kept telling him I was sorry, but there was nothing I could do that day and if he'd like to set up a showing appointment, I'd be happy to do so for him. He insisted more, I told him I couldn't and the owners would be home soon and expect to have the home to themselves. He then said, "Oh, it's not vacant?" I told him no, offered my card so he could set up a showing appointment, he turned it down and left. There will always be another buyer. Your safety is more important than being accommodating.
Kelly O'Quinn, Real Estate Agent in CA (#01958085)
Join the Largest Real Estate Investing Community
Basic membership is free, forever.