Context means everything.  It can change the meaning of a conversation.  It influences the decisions that people make.  It defines the safety of a situation.  For example, to say you’re swimming is one thing; however if you put this activity in the context that you are in the ocean, at dusk, near a fishing pier, it becomes much more dangerous.  Now that is a very specific example.  But the daily activities of a REALTOR® are filled with specific examples and duties.  To the average person, or even to a client, a REALTOR’S routine may seem pretty harmless, but in the correct context there is the potential for danger.  Here are three common situations that REALTORS may find themselves in, and should avoid.

1.)    Driving new or unfamiliar clients in your car.

When you chauffer potentially new clients that you are unfamiliar with in your own car from property to property, you put yourself in jeopardy of being attacked, robbed, having your car stolen, or worse.  You should drive separately, having the client follow you from home to home.  When you arrive, make sure to park in a place where you won’t be blocked in and can get away easily should you need to.

2.)    Entering foreclosed and vacant homes.

Foreclosures, vacant, and other empty properties can pose several different threats.  Squatters, disgruntled owners, damage, poor lighting, and more are not uncommon.  If you are checking out a property like this, never go alone, always bring someone with you.  Inspect the exterior first and ensure that no doors have been forced open or windows have been broken.  You should also visit during the day when more people are around and the lighting is better.

3.)    Meeting unfamiliar people alone at a property.

It’s always a good idea to meet a new client or prospect in a comfortable place where you won’t be alone.  Meeting at your office first is a great way to learn more about them.  This gives you an opportunity for them to fill out a customer identification form, get a copy of their driver’s license and collect more information.  You should also introduce them to a co-worker. 

These are only a few examples of some of the everyday things REALTORS may do that seem pretty normal, but could become dangerous.  It’s important to put your safety first, and by making a few adjustments to your routine you can avoid a lot of unnecessary risk.