Whether you’re a new agent or you’ve been in the business for decades, it’s easy to get complacent. Incorporating preventative safety measures can sometimes seem like a hassle that eats up your valuable time. September is REALTOR® Safety Month, and it’s a terrific time to renew your commitment to health and safety practices.

The National Association of REALTORS® (NAR®) offers a host of valuable resources to help you reaffirm your existing safety protocols and perhaps introduce some new ones. We’ve compiled some tips and tools for agents, teams, and brokerages to help you kick off September Safety Month!

September Safety Month Resources for Agents

Ours is a people business and your job as a real estate professional is all about building relationships and trust with clients. But at the outset, your prospects are almost always strangers to you. And therein lies the potential for danger.

While NAR reports that 96% of member agents surveyed did not encounter any incidents in 2020, their 2020 Member Safety Report revealed a particular area of vulnerability for real estate pros—open house events.

Open House Sign in Front Yard

5 Tips to Stay Safe at Open Houses

We recently shared 12 tips for staying safe at open houses. Here are a few more for those inevitable occasions when you need to meet clients alone at a property.

  1. Park on the street instead of in the driveway, where someone else’s car can block yours and prevent your escape.
  2. Consider swapping your favorite high heels for flats and wear practical clothing that will make fleeing danger much easier.
  3. Don’t go into a home’s smallest spaces with no point of egress, like basements and closets. Let your clients explore these on their own.
  4. Agree upon a code word or signal that you can say or text to other agents to let them know you’re in trouble.
  5. Share a written record of where you plan to be at all times, including your clients’ names, meeting times, and schedule.

While clients may seem friendly and eager to buy or sell a home, the majority of incidents in our industry are predatory in nature. Predators are motivated by power and control, and their goal is to isolate their victims, according to David Legaz, a retired NYPD sergeant and the NAR REALTOR® Safety Advisory Committee Chair.

“With rare exception, the crimes against agents we have seen reported are predatory in nature and fit the classic predatory behavior patterns,” notes Legaz. With that in mind, he suggests being proactive about politely but firmly asserting your control over all your client interactions.

10 Proactive Ways to Empower Yourself & Be in Control

  1. Ahead of any client meeting, set clear and firm expectations about your arrival time, the location (you decide on it), and the duration of the interaction.
  2. Using a tactic Legaz calls “passive surveillance,” let arriving clients know that your open house will soon be visited by nearby neighbors, other clients, agents, or open house attendees.
  3. In listing descriptions and open house marketing, indicate that the house is easily visible from the street with language like “floor-to-ceiling windows let in natural light.”
  4. Introduce yourself to the neighbors near your listings, and let them know to look out for your car at upcoming showings and open house events. Invite them to attend.
  5. Require sign-in sheets and take photos of arriving guests’ IDs on your smartphone at open house events.
  6. Bring a buddy, colleague, or teammate to co-host your open house events and showings.
  7. If you must go it alone, invest in a portable, cloud-based surveillance camera system. Let clients know it’s on, and someone is tuned in to watch the open house in real time (think: “nanny cam”).
  8. Keep your phone in your hand at all times during showings and open houses or even better, choose a smartwatch or other wearable device with tracking and internet capabilities.
  9. Program emergency contacts into your “speed dial” on your phone.
  10. Attach a personal safety alarm like Birdie to your key chain, and activate its 130-decibel siren and flashing strobe light in case of emergency.

Additional Agent Safety Resources From The Close

Close up photo of a woman using her smart phone

Here’s a collection of recent articles from The Close that may be helpful to you during safety month and throughout the year as you consider new safety strategies and preventative measures.

9 Top Real Estate Safety Apps You Need to Know About

Can Becoming a Local Safety Expert Grow Your Real Estate Business? Yes, It Can!

10 Leading-edge Realtor Safety Tips That Could Save Your Life

5 Realtor Safety Lessons We Learned From the Pandemic

Shock Study: More Than 50% of Realtors Carry Weapons on Showings

NAR September Safety Month Webinars

As noted earlier, whether you’re a new agent or you’ve been in the business for decades, it’s easy to get complacent, and incorporating preventative safety practices can sometimes seem like a hassle that eats up your valuable time.

Having well-practiced safety routines in place can help you to see warning signs and avoid risk. NAR’s September webinars will help you handle the risks that real estate agents face in the course of their work.

It’s an interactive conversation where you can hear from other professionals and their experiences. You’ll come away with some key takeaways like how to spot danger and how to navigate it once it finds you.

Avoiding REALTOR® Danger Zones

Date: September 15, 2021, 1 to 2 p.m. Central Time


Conference Year-Round + REALTOR® Safety Discussion: Avoiding REALTOR® Danger Zones

Date: September 16, 2021, 1 to 2 p.m. Central Time


September Safety Month Resources for Teams & Brokerages

Whether you’re an agent, team leader, principal broker, or brokerage owner, health and well-being should be a consideration throughout the year. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, as the saying goes.

NAR makes it incredibly easy for members to share safety messages with their teams this month and throughout the year using their well-developed series of presentations. Presentations cover safety at home, at the office, and on the road with clients.

REALTOR Safety Broker & Association Toolkit

Using their custom toolkit for associations and brokerages, NAR advocates for organization-wide training sessions of one to three hours, or alternatively, independent study sessions that can be incorporated into your company’s onboarding process for new agents.

They also advocate for expert-led training sessions and offer a list of recommended providers, including Tracey Hawkins, Close Contributor and owner of Safety and Security Source. Tracey will be a presenter at NAR’s annual conference in November. Learn more about her upcoming presentation here.

NAR Downloadable Resources

Finally, NAR offers a host of downloadable resources to assist brokers and associations with safety awareness in September and throughout the year. While this is by no means a comprehensive list, these were our 10 favorite items that should be an essential part of your real estate agency’s safety toolkit.

  1. A Crisis Communication Checklist for Associations
  2. Agent Identification Form
  3. Agent Itinerary
  4. Office Safety Action Plan
  5. Prospect Identification Form
  6. 56 Weekly Realtor Safety Tips
  7. 56 Weekly Tips in Graphics for Sharing on Social Media
  8. Posters, Flyers & Banners
  9. Safety Webinars
  10. Safety Videos

You can begin to lead with safety by sharing NAR’s ready-made weekly tips on your company’s social media channels. Or view their most recent safety webinars at your team meetings this September.

Final Thoughts

We hope we’ve compiled the most valuable, actionable resources for you to use to raise awareness throughout the month, and to keep you and your team safe throughout the coming year. For more, check out our 10 Safety Best Practices to Protect Your Brokerage.

Wishing you good health, safety, and well-being from The Close team to yours!