Hamilton Herald Masthead


Front Page - Friday, March 27, 2015

REALTOR ASSOCIATION president’s message

Safety is a priority for consumers, too

Spring is upon us, which for Realtors is the start of a busy season. In juggling listing appointments, showings, phone calls, texts, emails, and paperwork, we tend to overlook taking certain precautions. In addition to reminding my fellow Realtors to look out for their personal safety and well-being amidst the busy season, I urge buyers and sellers also to consider their own expectations when it comes to real estate transactions.

In a recent survey by the National Association of Realtors, nearly 100 percent of Realtors surveyed reported never having been victim of crime. However, regarding being in situations in which they feared for their personal safety or personal information, 40 percent of Realtors responded affirmatively. Situations in which Realtors tend to be fearful include open houses, showing vacant properties or ones in remote areas, and properties that were unlocked upon their arrival.

When NAR President Chris Polychron took office, he pledged “to make Realtor safety a priority and develop new education and resources for the industry.” Polychron feels it’s “important to know how safe or unsafe our members feel, what causes them to feel unsafe, and what steps they are taking to keep themselves out of harm’s way, so that we can respond and provide the best tools tailored to our members’ personal safety needs.”

The NAR survey results included statistics on proactive safety measures taken by Realtors, including:

Pepper spray is more common among female Realtors, while firearms are more often carried by male Realtors.

Thirty-eight percent have participated in self-defense classes, with 18 percent taking advantage of classes offered at their local Association.

Three percent use a smart phone safety application to track their whereabouts or alert in case of an emergency.

Realtors meet about half of their prospective buyers, whom they haven’t previously met, in a real estate office or other neutral location.

Forty-six percent said their brokerage has standard procedures for agent safety in place.

It’s unfortunate that while helping others achieve the American dream, Realtors have to always be on their guard. Thus, consumers are asked not to be taken aback when asked to make a copy of their photo id or to meet at a neutral location.

And let’s not overlook the everyday opportunities fellow Realtors and clients have for adding to those dangers. Something as seemingly innocuous as our expectations for immediate results and responses can lead to harmful behavior, such as talking, texting, or emailing while driving.

Whether discussing an offer with a fellow Realtor or answering questions for a client about a transaction, Realtors do their best to give that other person their full attention. And when it’s yourself on the other side of that communication, you appreciate that attentiveness from the Realtor.

Yet, when a Realtor doesn’t respond within a matter of seconds or minutes to a phone call, text, or email, we quickly forget they might be providing that same attentiveness to someone else. To a seller in presenting an offer, to a relocating buyer who only is in town for a few hours, or to a title agent conducting a closing. Or, they simply might be driving to the next appointment and opting not to text or talk while driving.

So as we embrace the busyness of spring, let’s take a moment to enjoy the excitement of it all – budding new listings and a growing inventory. But let’s also maintain practical expectations for all that Realtors do to serve their clients and customers and refrain from making unreasonable demands in an already cautious climate.

The Greater Chattanooga Association of Realtors is “The Voice of Real Estate in Greater Chattanooga.” The Association is a regional organization with more than 1,500 members, and is one of more than 1,400 local boards and associations of Realtors nationwide that comprise the National Association of Realtors. The Greater Chattanooga Association of Realtors services Hamilton and Sequatchie counties in southeast Tennessee and Catoosa, Dade, and Walker counties in northwest Georgia. For more information, visit www.gcar.net.