Over the years there have been numerous reports concerning the problems faced by real estate agents, when showing properties. Obviously, safety is a major factor and is covered in considerable detail in the training of home sales professionals. And while many other industries face the same potential problems, when it comes to lone working with members of the public, real estate seems to be the one profession that really worries people.
Regularly, single agents will find themselves in the company of complete strangers. They may be showing empty properties, with little or no previous knowledge of the person they are meeting. And over the years there have been enough tragic stories to make even the most relaxed realtor cautious.
Many agents will be aware of the ill-feeling being directed at them by some less stable members of society, in the wake of the housing crisis. Unable to come to terms with a foreclosure or inability to sell a property, they may well hold housing professionals to blame. But not only do agents need to be aware of bogus clients, but the rise in unemployment and homelessness in some parts of the country, has seen an increase in the numbers of squatters moving into empty properties.
Many predatory attackers single out women, and female real estate agents can easily find themselves the targets of sexual, or serious physical, assaults. Sometimes the aggressors are robbers, taking advantage of an opportunity, but from time to time, planned attacks are committed, occasionally resulting in murder.
As homes become increasingly difficult to sell in some areas, there may be the temptation to hold more open houses, and therefore potentially increase the risks involved. Unfortunately, as aware of the risks involved as most agents are, it seems that little can be done to change the situation. Most agents agree that there is pretty much only one way to do business, and it usually involves being in the company of people with whom they have to put their trust. Thankfully the majority of agents are routinely trained in personal safety, and are aware of the signs to look for.
Thankfully, when one considers the sheer number of home showings that take place around the country in any one day, the statistics are mercifully in favor of the vast majority of agents never having to face anything even remotely threatening. That said, no individuals should ever allow themselves to be put in too vulnerable a position. Precautionary measures are best adhered to, and some agents even make a point of photographing clients’ cars, license plates included, and even the property viewers themselves. They then forward the pics and details on to an email address. A brief explanation of why the agent just did this, will be met with full understanding from bonafide househunters, and may well deter potential muggers or attackers.
Ultimately, every one of us, whatever our professional role, should seek to ensure our utmost safety when working with strangers, and we should all be aiming to eliminate these menacing attacks once and for all.
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