No commission is worth your well-being. Tips and tech for agent safety

Despite the expectation of assumed trust between two parties in a business transaction, even those met at previous showings, real estate agents are always at risk when in the act of doing their job.

This April, one of Inman’s most popular recurring theme months returns: Back to Basics. All month, real estate professionals from across the country share what’s working for them, how they’ve evolved their systems and tools, and where they’re investing personally and professionally to drive growth in 2022. It’s always smart to go Back to Basics with Inman.

Despite the expectation of assumed trust between two parties in a business transaction, even those met at previous showings, real estate agents are never at risk when in the act of doing their job.

Agent safety should be a constant priority for all stakeholders, including sellers.

Make sure that listing clients understand that you will do all you can to sell their home, but at times lines have to be drawn. Don’t agree to show a home after, or before, a specific hour of the day.

If someone is going to be home during a showing, which isn’t typical, find out who, and why they’re there. Don’t be pushed by an over-eager client.

How’s the mobile coverage at the property you’re listing? As often as we’re staring into our phones, we’re almost as often complaining about a “lack of bars.” It’s more common than you may think, and it pays to be aware of when you might not be able to make or receive a phone call.

Buyers are moving rapidly today, relocating across the country and into smaller, more rural communities. Don’t underestimate the intent of desperate people to say they’re one of them.

For a comprehensive list of safety tips, review Jay Thompson’s 61 Safety Tips Every Agent Should Read. After that, consider downloading and subscribing to one of the following technology products that emphasizes or includes agent safety as a feature.

Forewarn
The product of publicly traded Red Violet Company (RDVT), Forewarn provides almost instant background checks using a person’s phone number.

Users can review the person’s property ownership history, tenure with that particular phone number, vehicle ownership history and, of course, any criminal history, from violent felonies and sex offenses to drug busts and misdemeanors.

Forwarn was recently selected by the Realtors of South Central Kansas as a software partner for its more than 2,500 members.

PeopleSmart is another fast and easy way to verify identities.

HomeSnap Pro

CoStar-owned mobile app HomeSnap Pro uses a timer to help agents automatically alert friends, family or co-workers on an emergency contact list if not turned off before it ends. The app is available for both iOS and Android.

Noonlight
Consistently the highest-rated safety app across all use cases, Noonlight even integrates directly with Tinder.

The interface couldn’t be more simple. To activate the app, hold down the single large button on the screen and wait for a pin number. Upon release, enter the number if safe, don’t if you’re not. The app will notify police and share your location.

Agents can especially benefit from its Timeline feature, which uses a note, day and time to document activity, perfect to use before a scheduled showing.

Smartphones and smartwatches

Don’t forget about your most accessible safety tool, your smartphone. (Of course, coverage issues may apply.)

On your later model iPhone, simultaneously holding down the power and a volume button will display a slider to automatically dial 911 after a five-second countdown.

Your Apple Watch has the same functionality. Simply press the side button to see the 911 slide appear.

Android phones vary but will allow location sharing through Google for specified amounts of time, something you can also do on an iPhone. On Samsung phones, swipe up to reveal the lock screen and enter 911 on the dialpad. Also, don’t forget to add names to your emergency call list, because those folks will be listed on that screen, too.

Remember that no technology product can replace sound judgment and experience. No commission is worth your well-being. Ask a friend to accompany you, tell your seller “no” if needed, and lastly, know that it’s okay to cancel.

If agent safety is something you’re passionate about (and why wouldn’t you be?), Consider donating, volunteering or in some way supporting the Beverly Carter Foundation. And, don’t miss Inman’s Essential Guide to Agent Safety.

Email Craig Rowe

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