The month of September may be significant to you for several reasons, whether it be a birthday, a special anniversary or the excitement of the cooler weather approaching. However, September stands out for a different reason for REALTORS®. Since 2003, September has been designated as REALTOR® Safety Month by the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR).
Serving as a REALTOR® and helping Arizona homebuyers find their dream home is an inspiring and rewarding career, but it can present job-related risks every day, making REALTOR® Safety Month a top priority to ensure protection for everyone on the homebuying journey, improve safety culture in the real estate industry and renew our commitment to prioritizing safety.
Our profession is built on the connections we make and the relationships that we cultivate with our clients, but how can REALTORS® be empowered to keep themselves safe despite the potential risks? This all starts with personal safety protocols that can be implemented in all parts of the homebuying process.
From safety products to smartphone apps, such safety measures can include unconcealed portable home surveillance cameras inside your showings, video monitoring doorbells, smart lockboxes and smartphone applications that can track and share your location with trusted contacts.
With many REALTOR® duties occurring in-person, it can be easy to look beyond the digital communication side of the job, but REALTOR® safety extends far beyond your latest showing or your brokerage location. Be mindful of the personal contact details you share with clients and the access you give to them, especially when it comes to your social media pages.
Apart from technology, other safety precautions to put in place include meeting new clients in your office or a public location, always securing your valuables, taking self-defense courses to learn how you can protect yourself and attending REALTOR® Safety courses.
According to 2021 data from NAR, 39 percent of those who participated in a REALTOR® safety course said they feel more prepared for unknown situations. These courses seek to educate members about the potential dangers you may face on the job through webinars, videos and in-person mentorship, so you are not only aware, but also prepared to keep yourself safe and reduce the risks.
Above all, stay alert! Safety comes before sales, so while you may be excited about a new opportunity, it is essential to screen clients and locations beforehand and trust your gut if you have a bad feeling before or during a client interaction.
And REALTOR® Safety Month goes beyond just us, it also impacts the clients we serve. Part of our role is to keep our clients informed on how they can protect themselves from potential risks during the process, too.
When holding an open house, staying alert is just as important. Ask a fellow REALTOR® to join you so that you are not alone and remind clients of the precautions they should take such as keeping valuables and prescription medications stowed away.
In addition, REALTORS® also encourage potential homebuyers and sellers to be mindful of real estate scams and how to avoid them. From wire fraud demands to unsolicited buyers to rental scams, make sure to advise clients to only work with fellow licensed professionals and always keep their personal and financial information secure.
Just as it is for REALTORS®, clients should never continue with a situation that makes them uncomfortable or could potentially put them in danger, so urge clients to stay vigilant.
By introducing proper safety measures, you can keep yourself and your clients safe while inspiring other REALTORS® to do the same. While we acknowledge the importance of safety during the month of September, the knowledge, empowerment and awareness we glean from REALTOR® Safety Month is imposed year-round and remains top of mind for the Arizona REALTORS®, our brokerages and our members.
Gary Nelson of Realty Executives of Flagstaff is the Arizona REALTORS® 2022 president, serving with President-Elect Eric Gibbs Sr. of Realty ONE Group Integrity in Tucson, First Vice President Shelley Ostrowski of Realty ONE Group Gateway in Yuma and Treasurer Sulinda “Sindy” Ready of RE/MAX Excalibur in Scottsdale.