Realtor Safety when showing foreclosures and short sales

Ok, so I’m still on this safety wave.  I know that tomorrow I’ll be busy all day, and the next day as well.  Before I realize it, the idea of taking deliberate steps to secure my safety will be forgotten.  So, here’s some additional suggestions.

The current weakened economic market and the affect on the housing market has created enhanced occupational hazards for realtors. Selling real estate has always been a job that could be considered high risk, due to the fact that realtors often spend time in unoccupied homes with people they do not know, which could make them targets of robbery, assault, battery, rape and even homicide. With the increased number of foreclosures and short sales realtors not only face the dangers from those they are showing the property to, but also from those that may be squatting in the property they are showing. This is cause for realtors to take more safety precautions in order to protect themselves.
The longer a house stays on the market the more likely that home is to attract crime. Foreclosures have been known to be used by gangs, drug addicts, illegal immigrants and the previous owners that were foreclosed on. In order to stay safe realtors should apply these simple tips.

1. When looking at a foreclosure or short sale always alert someone at the office as where you are going and when to expect you back.

2. Before viewing the property stop by the neighbor’s home and introduce yourself. Let them know who you are and what you are doing. Ask them to watch out for you.

3. If at all possible bring someone with you. If it a high risk neighborhood get a police or sheriff deputy to go with you.

4. When pulling up to the house do not pull into the driveway. Park on the street where you can not be blocked in.

5. When walking up to the house observe your surroundings look for areas where someone or something could be lurking.

6. Perform a perimeter sweep of the house look for broken windows, or broken door jams. Press all exterior doors to see if they just open. If they do open at the touch-do not enter. Immediately call the police

7. Have your cell phone pre-programmed to call 911.

8. If you are working with a buddy have them remain in the car to act as your look out. Should something happen they can get away quickly and get help.

9. Upon entering be observant if you see things like drug paraphernalia, gang signs, items of food or evidence that someone is still in the home. If you see any of these things leave immediately and call the police. You do not want to encounter a squatter.

10. If you do encounter a squatter get out of the house and call the police.

11. The number one thing every realtor should do is put safety first and use their gut instinct. If something does not feel right, do not proceed.

For more information on realtor safety or other security related issues contact Jim McNeely at 919-949-9690 or at

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