How to Prepare a Home For a Safe Showing

If the property you are showing is your listing, spending a little time introducing yourself to the neighbors and checking out the neighborhood is an excellent strategy for getting additional business, however it is also and extremely valuable safety strategy.

 

While introducing yourself to the neighbors take the time to find out the following information:

  • Is there a neighborhood watch? How active is it?
  • Are there any law enforcement officers living on the block?
  • Is it an active neighborhood? Do the neighbors know and socialize with one another?

This is all important information that you could use in an initial conversation to not only impress a prospect, but also deter am possible predator or opportunistic thief.

 

Additionally, look for any abandoned houses in the immediate area. Even if the house you are showing is not abandoned, neighborhoods with abandoned houses may be more attractive to someone intending to commit a crime.

 

Predators Vs. Thieves

Motive is an essential part of any crime. Most crimes committed against Real Estate agents have one of two motives: Profit and Power.

 

How Predators Work

Typically an agent that has been a victim of a crime has been targeted by the criminal who committed the crime.  Having a basic understanding of behavioral patterns will help you to make calm reasoned decisions should you ever find yourself in the midst of a crime.

Violent Predators
• Very Rare
• Very Dangerous
• Typically commit violent crimes such as rape or murder
• All crimes are premeditated
• Typical Motive is Power

 

Professionals
• Theft or kidnapping for ransom is how they earn a living or fund an addiction
• Much more common than Violent Predators
• Typically non-violent unless resisted
• Typically commit theft, either from agent or items at property
• Will likely target the property, will target an agent if profitable
• Crimes are almost always premeditated

 

Opportunistic
• Uncommon in crimes against agents
• Almost always a crime of property, usually theft of item in home
• Did not come to the appointment with the intent to steal
• A low risk, high reward opportunity may trigger the theft

 

In addition to the violent, professional and opportunistic types of criminals there are two additional types of individuals you may run into that are worth mentioning; and in both cases the meeting is premeditated, however the crime (if it occurs) is not.

 

Obsessed Individuals

  • Individual has specifically targeted you as a result of an obsession
    • Is likely having fantasies about you, typically romantic in nature
    • Will typically exhibit stalking behavior
    • Fantasizing about you and stalking you provides a “high”, meeting you takes the “high” to the next level.
  • Will likely come across as more interested in you than the property

 

Social Outcast

  • Individual has chosen you at random
    • Social interaction is the motivation for the meeting
    • Will likely be socially awkward
    • The meeting will likely be uncomfortable, but appropriate
  • Very rarely results in any type of crime

 

What is the timeline of a crime?

 

If you understand all the steps involved in the timeline of a crime then you can take steps to deter or prevent the crime from happening in the first place.

 

    • Initial Focus
    • Superficial research
    • Personal research
    • Fantasy
    • Choose a site
    • Devise a plan and isolate victim
    • Stage setting
    • ATTACK!

 

Social Media Safety Tips

In today’s day and age, social media is an important marketing tool for the real estate agent.  Unfortunately, it is also an important tool for predators and those who stalk.  Remember, if you catch the attention of a predatory or obsessive individual, your best chance of having them lose their interest is to give them little or no material of interest to them.


Social Media Do’s

 

• Have separate personal and professional pages 

• Eliminate or Abbreviate your last name on your personal pages

• Use different images on your personal and professional pages

• Periodically, use Google© to search for yourself to see how difficult it is to find your personal pages

• Use the social media site’s security to help ensure your personal site information is hidden to all who are not your direct friend or contact


Social Media Don’ts

 

• Don’t use location tracking

• Don’t post your habits (i.e. “I love this coffee shop, I come here every day”)

• Don’t post information that could be used to identify your children’s school, spouse’s workplace, etc.

 

The Neighborhood and the Property

 

Learning as much as possible about a property and neighborhood is an important part of the sales process, however it is also an important step in assessing the risk of an appointment as well as deterring a possible predator.

 

The Neighborhood

 

If the property you are showing is your listing, spending a little time introducing yourself to the neighbors and checking out the neighborhood is an excellent strategy for getting additional business, however it is also an extremely valuable safety strategy.  While introducing yourself to neighbors take the time to find out the following information:

 

  • Is there a neighborhood watch?  How active is it?

 

  • Are there any law enforcement officers living on the block? 

 

  • Is it an active neighborhood? Do the neighbors know and socialize with one another?

 

This is all important information that you can use in an initial conversation with a prospect to not only impress a legitimate prospect, but also deter a possible predator or opportunistic thief.

 

Additionally, look for any abandon houses in the immediate area. Even if the house you are showing is not abandoned, neighborhoods with abandoned houses may be more attractive to someone intending to commit a crime.

 

The Property

 

Just as you take the time to learn about the property and evaluate it so you can market and price it correctly, you can do the same to determine the risk level of the property:

 

  • Vacancy – Is the property vacant?  A vacant property will increase risk

 

  • Cell Signal – Do you have a strong cell signal?  If the signal is weak or non-existent ALWAYS BRING SOMEONE WITH YOU ON AN APPOINTMENT! 

 

  • Exterior Lighting – Is the exterior of the house well lit? 
  • Interior Lighting – Is the interior of the house well lit? 

 

  • Windows – Are there plenty of windows? Do they provide an unobstructed view from the outside of the house to the inside and vice versa?  Ideally, you’ll want to make sure that you and the prospect are always in view of the outside. 

 

  • Stories – How many stories does the house have?  One story houses are the safest because they generally have the best escape paths.

 

  • Garage – Does the house have a garage? Is it attached? Can you open the door easily?  The existence of a garage can increase risk if it’s attached and the garage door is closed. 

 

  • Basement – Does the house have a basement?  Basements are a huge risk, and if a predator has targeted you there is a good chance that a basement will be a factor in choosing the house in which to commit the crime.

 

Active Listening helps us uncover red flags that indicate if we should take someone on an appointment.

What is active listening?

  • Pay full attention
  • Focus on the prospects needs and wants, not your own
  • Open ended, probing and clarifying questions:

Ask why and what questions

Ask them to clarify ambiguous terms

“peel the onion to look for inconsistencies”

Watch this short video to learn how to use the best sales tool in the world, active listening, to help determine red flags prior to meeting with a prospect.

 

How often do you meet a prospect at the office prior to an appointment?

 

Contradictory to popular belief, meeting at the office and getting a copy of the drivers license doesn’t deter a predator. Getting a drivers license may actually play into a predators plans by helping to put you at ease. 

 

Always meet at a 3rd party location, use active listening to find their specific needs and possible red flags, and stay vigilant while showing the property.  

 

How often do you as an agent research the neighborhood you will be bringing your prospect to? It’s good practice to meet neighbors and be knowledgeable of the neighborhood so you can use property and neighborhood information to look for red flags that your prospect may be dangerous.

 

Watch this short video for what neighborhood information may help keep you selling safely!

 

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