10 must-know safety tips for estate agents

Private Property South Africa
Tahir Desai

Safety tips for estate agentsIt’s no secret that crime is a problem in South Africa and estate agents who spend most of the day meeting strangers and showing them around empty properties are particularly vulnerable.

Because of the obvious risks to personal safety, it’s important to take these precautions to minimise risks:

  • When dealing with a new client, arrange for the initial meeting to be at your office so that your colleagues have also seen them. Get as much personal information from them including a copy of their ID or drivers licence.

  • Try and verify a client’s details before leaving for a viewing. You could call their work number or landline at home for instance to check if it’s legitimate.

  • If you cannot meet at your office first and have to meet at the property, call your office before you enter the property and let them know where you are, who you’re meeting and how long you expect to be. If possible, let the office know the details of the car that the client arrives in.

  • Make sure that your manager or colleagues have an itinerary for your day with details of which properties you’re showing and at what times.

  • Trust your gut. If you have any concerns about a client, get someone to go with you. If you arrive at a property alone and feel unsafe, make your excuses and leave.

  • Do not accept a lift from the client. Always drive to the property in your own car and keep it locked while driving there and after you park it.

  • Always follow the client around the property. You want to be behind them so that you can observe them and avoid being taken by surprise. Leave the doors unlocked for easy exit and carry your cell phone with you at all times.

  • Carry a personal safety alarm or pepper spray with you and make sure it you can reach it easily in case of emergency.

  • Use predetermined code words that allow you to alert your office that you need assistance. A phrase like “check the water meter at 11 Smith Street”, will let them know you need help and your location.

  • Try not to hold show houses alone – it’s better to get a friend or colleague to accompany you. Keep your handbag locked in your car and your car keys and cell phone on you. Know where the exits are and have an escape route planned if you need it.

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