Hamilton Herald Masthead


Front Page - Friday, September 16, 2022

Safety protocols when working with a Realtor

The National Association of Realtors last week released its 2022 Member Safety Report, which surveys Realtors around the nation about how safe they feel on the job, their personal safety and their brokerage’s safety procedures and protocol.

The NAR publishes this report each September as part of Realtor Safety Month. Yet safety is a focus for Greater Chattanooga Realtors all year long.

In previous years, a small but noticeable number of respondents reported they experienced a situation in which they feared for their safety or were concerned about their personal information being comprised. Realtors understand the safety risks associated with real estate transactions, so it’s imperative to create and share safety protocols with clients to learn about what they might encounter throughout a real estate transaction.

Greater Chattanooga Realtors is committed to providing consumers and Realtor members with the resources and education to stay safe and secure. In addition to providing members with safety-related training, the following protocols aim provide a safe experience for all parties involved.

Meet your agent at their office

Instead of meeting for the first time at a property, a Realtor might set up the initial meeting at his or her office. Most agree that meeting at a real estate professional’s brokerage is more comfortable and appropriate for the first meeting.

Generally speaking, meeting a stranger at an unfamiliar location creates additional tension, which is not helpful when initiating a real estate transaction. But meeting at a Realtor’s office allows for introductions and also offers the ideal time to outline the processes and procedures for preparing a buyer to purchase a home or land.

Secure your personal information

Some real estate offices might make copies of your driver’s license and mortgage preapproval letter for their records during the initial stages of your home search. This step allows the agent to keep a record of your information at their office, where it should be stored securely, so have these items on hand for your initial meeting.

As Realtors, we safeguard our clients’ data and ensure it stays away from prying eyes. Keeping this information safe and secure is crucial in maintaining a safe agent and client relationship.

Avoid carpooling

Even though people are returning to a pre-COVID world where carpooling was common, don’t expect your Realtor to drive you to a property unless you’ve discussed it ahead of time. Driving separately is a safety precaution for you and your Realtor, so don’t feel offended.

Most people don’t pick up hitchhikers and understand the importance of not transporting strangers to a property showing. Driving separately also enables both parties to depart individually from the showing and attend to other business, such as returning to the office or picking up the children from school.

It’s still common to spend an afternoon seeing properties, but busy schedules and the ability to remain flexible has made driving separately more common in our market.

Your agent might walk behind you

Realtors typically let buyers take the lead when exploring a home. This safety protocol is common and allows you to view each room on the property first and form your own impressions.

A well-trained Realtor will always be engaged with their client, and using a simple phase like, “After you,” is a polite way to remain out of the way.

View a vacant property by day

Your Realtor might only show vacant properties by day so you can see any safety hazards that exist, such as loose floorboards or any other defects. So, when viewing a vacant or even an occupied, property, expect to view it during daylight hours.

Concealed carry permits

Realtors have been the target of many crimes over the years. Even agents who have done everything right have still become victims of crime.

An increase in crime over recent years has caused many Realtors to become responsible gun owners as an additional measure of protection. Others carry less lethal means of protection, while some choose self-defense training.

Another commonly used safety tactic is the buddy system. Realtors might ask another Realtor to tag along on a showing to provide additional support.

As a consumer, please consider the risks Realtors encounter daily and be understanding when asked to provide identification or to schedule a meet-and-greet in advance of an impromptu showing.

Safety is our priority year-round. I urge other Realtors to check www.gcar.net/realtor-safety-month-2022 for the many courses Greater Chattanooga Realtors is offering this month.

Realtors are focused on protecting our clients and ourselves. That’s Who We R.

Founded in 1912, Greater Chattanooga Realtors is a regional organization with more than 2,500 members servicing Hamilton and Sequatchie counties in southeast Tennessee and Catoosa, Dade and Walker counties in northwest Georgia. The association is one of approximately 1,100 local associations and boards of Realtors nationwide that comprise the National Association of Realtors. Greater Chattanooga Realtors owns and operates a multiple listing service that’s one of approximately 600 MLSs in the country and services more than 2,700 users.