Real estate agent safety has been a concern for years, as the job requires showing empty homes or homes occupied by others, and meeting new people, often alone.
As September is Realtor Safety Month, the National Association of Realtors has released its 2020 Member Safety Report.
According to the report, 31% of Realtors said they feel unsafe during an open house or showings, and 27% said they feel unsafe when meeting a new client for the first time at a scheduled location or property.
Those fears are not unfounded. Just this week, NAR reported that a real estate agent in Draper, Utah, was showing what she thought was a vacant house for sale to a potential buyer. Behind one locked bedroom door in the basement, however, they found a man holding a rifle, according to police reports. The man allegedly told the agent and potential buyer to get off the property.
Realtors also have to contend with the people they allow into house. While conducting an open house, 3% reported theft of prescription drugs and 32% reported theft of opioids. While giving a home tour, 2% reported theft of prescription drugs and 16% reported theft of opioids.
Thirty-five percent reported they encountered a crime after receiving a threatening or inappropriate email, text message, phone call, or voicemail, and 17% said they encountered a crime during an open house.
Fear for their personal safety or safety of their personal information was a common concern, with 35% of female Realtors in suburban or metro/urban areas saying they had this fear.
This year, more female Realtors are carrying self-defense weapons or tools than last year – in 2020, 50% of women are carrying a self-defense weapon or tool while 46% of male Realtors do the same. In 2019, it was 49% of female Realtors and 45% of male Realtors.
Seventy-two percent of Realtors said that they have personal safety protocols in place that they follow with every client.
More agents are sharing their whereabouts with others than last year in total – 58% of members said they use a smartphone safety app to track where they are and share their location with colleagues. Most commonly, 36% used the Find My iPhone feature. The report said that 64% of women are more likely to use an app or safety notification procedure, compared to 47% of men.
NAR offers a Realtor safety course, which 29% of the Realtors said they have participated in. Women were more likely to take the course, at 33%, while 21% of men took it. Of those who have taken the course, 79% said they feel more prepared for unknown situations after taking it.
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