Violence is a problem in the field of real estate, even in Saskatoon real estate market. As Saskatoon REALTORS® we make our living by meeting strangers and sometimes in empty homes. It can be scary for a woman but even for a man as some of the crimes are against men. About 42 percent of female REALTORS® and 18 percent of male agents have said they have occasionally felt unsafe. I think that stat is low.
Below are 6 crimes against real estate agents in the US, I will follow up with Canada.
- Ohio – Andrew VonStein was shot dead by a disgruntled client. He was lured by a client who was upset about a sour deal that resulted in his wife losing her home.
- Ohio – Vivian Martin was found dead in a home that was lit on fire. She was robbed $56 and strangled by men claiming to be home buyers.
- Texas – Sarah Anne Walker was hosting an open house when she was stabbed 27 times by a felon on parole.
- Tennessee – Brenda Wilburn was found bound inside the closet of her own home. Murdered and robbed. Likely followed home.
- Orange County – an agent was raped and bludgeoned by a man claiming to be a buyer. He found her photo online. She survived by pretending to be dead.
- Other – Anne Nelson was 71 years old and was robbed, strangled and beaten with a fireplace poker while showing a home to a prospective buyer.
Here are some things that make it easier to be attacked:
- Advertising your open house online. Social media is increasingly becoming a tool for criminals to track their prey as we are all guilty of leaving a Web trail on places like Facebook and Twitter
- Putting your face on your open house signs as that is an open invitation to a stalker
- Putting your name on your open house signs as a creep may be driving around and see a woman’s name on the open house and decide to pay her a visit
Here are some things you can do to protect yourself:
- Trust your instincts
- Call 911 if your instincts speak to you, police officers would rather come to a false call than a crime scene
- Bring a friend or colleague to your open houses
- Meet ‘prospective buyers’ at the office, criminals don’t want witnesses
- Ask for ID and send their information to a friend or colleague along with the address of the house you are showing
- When advertising open houses advertise as a team of agents or don’t put who will be hosting it
- Take a self defence course-or 10! There is never too much training for self defence
- Carry a weapon if it is legal to do so
- Carry pepper spray if it is legal to do so
- Always keep your cell phone on your body
- Always keep your car keys on your body
- Upon entering a home quickly scope out an exit plan
- NEVER let your client follow you into a home or down stairs, always make them go first even if it is a female as sometimes they work in pairs
- Keep your client in your eyesight at all times
- Have a code with a colleague if you are in a potentially unsafe situation like calling them and mentioning the ‘red file’ or something less obvious
- Always tell someone where you are going, leave a list of homes you are showing with someone or on your desk
Those are just some of the things you can do. I know there are more. Please comment if you have any additional points to add!