What are some real estate safety protocols that should be used?

To help remind us to know the dangers we face every day, to be aware of our surroundings, and to empower ourselves with precautions and preparations so that we can avoid risky situations, the National Association of Realtors® dedicates September as Realtor® Safety Month.

Last month, the National Association of Realtors® released the 2017 Member Safety Report, which surveyed over 3,000 Realtor® members about how safe they feel while on the job, their personal safety experiences, and the safety procedures and materials provided by their real estate brokerage.

“Thirty-eight percent of respondents reported they experienced a situation that made them fear for their personal safety or the safety of their personal information. Realtors® understand better than anyone the safety risks associated with real estate transactions, so it is imperative to create and share safety protocols with home buyers so they can learn about what they may encounter when working with a Realtor®,” said Natasha Zieroth-Chaumont, President of the Snohomish County-Camano Association of Realtors®. “The Snohomish County-Camano Association of Realtors® is committed to protecting home buyers and sellers and their personal items by making sure they have the resources and education to stay safe and secure.”

Here are some safety protocols and guidelines from the Snohomish County-Camano Association of Realtors® you should expect and keep in mind when working with a Realtor®, which ensure a safe experience for all parties involved.

Meet your broker at their office.

Instead of meeting for the first time at a property, a Realtor® may set-up the initial meeting at their office. “Most people agree that meeting at a real estate professional’s office is much more comfortable and appropriate for the first meeting,” said Zieroth-Chaumont. “Generally speaking, meeting a stranger at an unknown location can be an uneasy notion, and this is no different for that initial real estate transaction.”

Secure your personal information.

Your Realtor® may make copies of your driver’s license and mortgage preapproval letter for their records. This allows the broker to keep a record of your information at their office to be stored in a secure place. So be sure to have these items on hand for your initial meeting. “According to the 2017 Member Safety Report, 66 percent of real estate offices have standard procedures for safeguarding client data and information. Keeping this information safe and secure is a crucial step in maintaining a safe broker and client relationship,” said Zieroth-Chaumont.

Stay away from carpooling.

When viewing a property, your Realtor® may ask you to drive separately. This is a safety precaution for you and your broker – so do not feel offended. Most people don’t pick up hitchhikers so you can understand the importance of not transporting strangers to a property showing. Driving separately is also important, as many times, you or the broker will have an appointment to go to afterward.

Your broker might walk behind you.

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

View a vacant property by day.

Your Realtor® may only show vacant properties by day, so you can see what safety hazards 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.

For more information on Realtor® and consumer safety, visit www.realtor.org/safety. If you are interested in selling or buying a home, please speak with a Realtor®, a member of the National Association of Realtors®.

The Snohomish County-Camano Association of Realtors® is “the voice for real estate in Snohomish County.” If you have questions for The Expert about Real Estate email us at info@sccar.org.

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