By Alyssa Hellman
Most people don’t consider real estate to be a dangerous industry; however, the frequency of crimes against real estate agents – including the horrific murder of Beverly Carter last year – is a chilling reminder of the dangers we potentially face.
In the excitement of meeting a prospective client, agents sometimes agree to meet at questionable locations simply for the sake of the deal. Let me make one thing crystal clear: No real estate transaction is worth risking your safety or the safety of others. As REALTORS®, we must hold ourselves to a high professional standard, and that begins with our safety.
REALTOR® safety is discussed frequently at brokerages across the country, yet most of the discussions center around general best practices, like not meeting a stranger in a vacant home (or any home), making sure other people know where you are going, or getting a copy of a new client’s driver’s license. The fundamental problem with most approaches to safety is that much of the action is only effective retroactively.
Earlier this month, our brokerage, Better Homes & Gardens Real Estate | Go Realty, took a more proactive safety step by creating the #GoSafe Movement.
#GoSafe is a program designed to protect our agents as well as our colleagues at any brokerage in the Triangle (Raleigh-Durham, N.C. area). We have opened our doors and welcomed any agent who is looking for a safe space to meet a client prior to showing them homes. The reality of real estate is that you won’t always have your brick and mortar brokerage location nearby when you’re in the field. Our agent’s don’t have that either. We realize this isn’t a singular answer to issues of safety, but by opening our doors as a safe place for agents to meet clients, we believe it’s a way to contribute to an industry-wide solution.
Go Realty has five spaces throughout the Triangle with locations in Cary, Durham, Holly Springs, Garner, and a new space opening in North Raleigh next month. The offices are designed as spaces that any agent could be proud to bring a client to. Each office will participate in the program during normal business hours. “As a brokerage, we feel it is our responsibility to serve and protect agents. Not just our agents, but agents we work with – keeping each other safe and continuing to serve our communities,” says CEO Kevin Woody.
As agents, we should not only take our own safety more seriously, but we should band together as an industry to protect each other. Our efforts can only impact the areas which we serve. Can you be doing something locally to help this cause?
Learn about Managing Broker Sam DeBord’s open door policy at Seattle Homes Group. He also expanded his proposal to include lenders and title companies. Plus, get more safety tips at realtor.org/safety.
Alyssa Hellman is the director of the Go School at Better Homes & Gardens Real Estate, Go Realty based in Cary, N.C., serving Raleigh-Durham and surrounding areas. You can find Alyssa on Twitter @AVHellman or visit her website, www.alyssahellman.com.