Safety On the Hunt: Safe Showings When Looking at Properties
In the past few years I have noticed many companies using automation as a way for prospective buyers or renters to see a property. This approach can be fraught with potential danger. Here is how you can have safe showings when looking at these properties.
Have you noticed many companies are using automation as a way for prospective buyers or renters to see a property? These properties invite anyone to come in and see the property and provide access with a single phone call. Such an approach is meant to circumvent the need for a real estate professional. But they also circumvent safety. They do not provide safe showings. At the time this blog was written, there were 214 properties listed for sale in the greater DFW metro area by one company using this model. In our modern world of do-it-yourself anything, and the ability to look up data on our phones, this would seem like a match made in heaven. But it is fraught with inherent dangers. Here is how you can have safe showings when looking at homes.
- Lock the door behind you. This seems obvious but easily overlooked. This won’t work for every situation but if you can, do it.
- Don’t go alone. This is the cardinal rule of safe showings because there is safety in numbers.
- Let someone know where you are and when you expect to be finished. Have a game plan and let a friend know about it.
- Keep pepper spray or other easy self defense tools in your hand or readily available. My wife bought cute mace containers that can be put on a key-ring for her and our daughter. But its not enough to simply have it there if you aren’t thinking about using it when you are in a less than safe situation. Keep it handy.
- Be alert and wait until the space is empty. If there is already someone inside or walking around outside, wait in the safety of your car. If you walk in and someone is there, excuse yourself and return to your car. If someone walks in on you, leave.
- Trust your gut. If you feel uncomfortable don’t tell yourself you are being silly. There is probably a good reason the hair is standing up on your neck.
- Don’t go after dark. Seems obvious but we are a busy society with jobs and commitments so we cram in a showing on the way home from work. The temptation is real, but so is the danger.
- Don’t help someone who appears to be in trouble. It seems cold and cruel but to be safe you need to avoid any possible traps. Call 911 if there seems to be an emergency.
- Have your phone ready. In one hand have your mace and in the other your cell phone. Be ready to dial a friend or 911.
- Take your real estate agent with you. The best way to have safe showings is to take your agent with you. They are taught how to be safe and how to defend themselves. As a default they have told someone where they are and when they are expected to be back. They also automatically provide you with safety in numbers.
Situational awareness is critical to personal safety. According to the Personal Safety Training Group, “apathy, complacency and denial are the three primary barriers to good situational awareness.” By being aware of the situation, its potential dangers, and thinking through “what if?” action plans, you will be safer than not. Criminals, according to safety experts, can read out body language and tell if we are complacent or prepared. As famous basketball coach John Wooden once said, “Confidence comes from being prepared.” So be prepared and be safe.