If you own rental property and interact with prospective tenants, you need to know how to stay safe while showing your rental houses.
Safety is important.
It’s important in all aspects of life. We grow up hearing it from our parents and we teach it to our children…especially when it comes to strangers.
Think about all the great advice our parents gave us about strangers:
- Don’t talk to strangers
- Don’t get in a car with strangers
- Don’t take candy from strangers
The list could go on…
And if your parents knew you were meeting a stranger at an empty rental house…well, they may be pretty upset!
It’s impossible to predict situations you might encounter but with a little time preparation and awareness, you can help make your mom happy by staying SAFE!
Most of the tips I’ll share with you today are common sense but it’s interesting how much common sense can leave us in stressful situations. That’s why it’s important to review your “plan of escape/defense” and always be prepared.
Key Safety Tips
1. Be prepared – Before you step out of the office or house to show a property, you need to be prepared. Let someone reliable know your schedule…especially when you should be back from showing property.
2. Dress for rental success – As much as we want to look nice and professional when we’re meeting new people, it is best to dress down when showing properties to potential tenants. Wear modest clothing, shoes for escape, if needed, and avoid flashy jewelry. Understated is always the best route to go.
3.Develop a Code – Another way to prepare is to develop a code with a trusted contact to call when police or help needs to come but you aren’t in a position to call. An example call might be to call your contact and say “Hey, this is (CODE NAME) I’m at (address of your rental property) and I’m supposed to meet Mr. /Mrs. (Use the sex of the individual with you) Brown, White, Green (with corresponding race that you have predetermined with your contact) in 15 minutes and it looks like I’m going to be late. Will you call them and let them know?”
This gives your contact the information they need to call authorities to get help to you with your location and a general description of who you are uncomfortable with. Many times this can diffuse a potential situation because then the suspicious person knows others are aware of your location.
3. Secret Weapons – Another option that has recently been introduced to the Real Estate market are pieces of jewelry, necklaces and bracelets that are programmed by you to contact certain chosen people of your location, some of these will also call 911. These pieces of jewelry can be activated very discreetly…kind of like James Bond.
Building a good working relationship with local police is also a good idea. In some less than desirable neighborhoods police will patrol more often if they know you and know when you’re normally in their neighborhood.
4. Get to know the neighbors – Most times agents don’t live in the neighborhood so meeting and greeting neighbors can make residents less nervous when you go to show the properties. Assure them that you are working hard to get them the best neighbors possible. Gain their trust and they will watch out for you and your properties.
5. Be aware – When arriving at properties BE AWARE. Learn to be a good judge of your surroundings and always trust your gut. Have an escape plan in mind each and every time you enter a neighborhood, street or house. Never block your way out both in the house and the driveway. Before getting out of your car go ahead and put in the address of your next destination. Always be ready to leave.
6. Have your getaway vehicle ready at all times – Keep plenty of fuel in your car, battery maintained, tires correctly inflated, water and general vehicle maintenance performed regularly. This one it is always reliable and you lessen the chance of being stranded.
7. You might want to pack some heat – Some agents carry guns with them to ensure their safety. In my personal experience the self-knowledge that I have that protection available has given me peace that I can protect myself in most situations.
If carrying a gun is not something you want to do, other options would be mace, taser guns, or off the wall weapons. Off the wall weapons can be as simple as putting your keys between your knuckles, wasp spray, and a broom to “sweep” can become a club. Off the wall weapons are only limited to your imagination!
8. A simple safety kit – Having a good preparedness kit is a must. Items to include are: flashlight, batteries, water, paper towels, broom, umbrella, work shoes, rain gear, hand sanitizer, a change of clothes, duct tape, hammer, and the list can be what you think you might need.
In conclusion it boils down to a few key points – Be Prepared, Always be Aware, Be Confident
And if you see something unusual or illegal say something, the life you save might be your own.