Tuesday, September 8, 2020 - by Brandi Pearl Thompson, president, Greater Chattanooga Realtors
Every year, our industry recognizes September as Realtor Safety Month. With COVID-19, we’ve all learned that there are risks that we face every day, seen and unseen. This past week, the National Association of Realtors released their 2020 Member Safety Report, which surveys Realtors around the nation about their personal safety experiences, how safe they feel while on the job, and the safety procedures and materials provided by their real estate brokerage. Although this report is released each September for Realtor Safety Month, safety is a focus for Greater Chattanooga Realtors all year long. Over the next few weeks, I’ll explore different aspects of safety – for our members and their clients.
In 2020, 23 percent of Realtors surveyed nationally reported they experienced a situation that made them fear for their personal safety or safety of their personal information. Realtors understand better than most the safety risks associated with real estate transactions, so it is imperative to create and share certain safety protocols with buyers so they can anticipate what they may encounter. Greater Chattanooga Realtors is committed to protecting buyers and sellers and their personal items by making sure they have the resources and education to stay safe and secure.
In addition to the COVID-19 mandates, there are some safety protocols and guidelines that potential buyers should expect and keep in mind to ensure 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 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. 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.
Stay away from carpooling. When viewing a property, your agent may ask you to drive separately. This is a safety precaution for you and your Realtor – so don’t 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 agent will have an appointment to go to afterward.
Secure your personal information. Your agent may make copies of your driver’s license and financing preapproval letter for their records. This step allows the agent to keep your information at their office and stored in a secure place. So be sure to have these items on hand for your initial meeting. According to the 2020 Member Safety Report, 67 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 agent and client relationship.
Your agent might walk behind you. Realtors typically let buyers take the lead when exploring a property. 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.
Safety is our priority year-round. Realtors are focused on protecting our clients and ourselves. That’s Who We R.