The recent death of a Florida man who was gunned down while looking at a home in Fort Lauderdale last week once again has the real estate community speaking about the importance of safety.
In an industry that requires its professionals to regularly meet with strangers in unfamiliar settings, safety in the real estate business is likely to be a topic that never expires. Despite several tragedies in the real estate community over the last year, a new survey from the National Association of REALTORSÂ®Â found 96 percent of REALTORSÂ® have never been the victim of crime. However, the survey shows 40 percent have found themselves in situations where they have feared for their safety or the safety of their personal information.
The survey showed that the most common scares occurred during open houses, when showing vacant and model homes, or when working with properties that were unlocked, unsecured or in remote areas.
TheÂ survey asked members how safe they feel while on the job and nearly 3,000 REALTORSÂ®Â from across the U.S. answered questions about their personal experiences, and the safety procedures and materials provided by their brokerage.
The survey found that one-third of surveyed members carry a self-defense weapon. Female REALTORSÂ®Â are more likely to carry pepper spray, while male REALTORSÂ®Â more commonly carry a firearm. Many agents, 38 percent, have participated in self-defense classes as a proactive safety measure, and 13 percent use a smart phone safety application to track their whereabouts or alert colleagues of an emergency. Also, before showing a property, the typical REALTORÂ®Â meets about half of their prospective buyers, whom they havenâ€™t previously met, in a real estate office or other neutral location.
Many REALTORÂ®Â associations, real estate brokerages and offices also make safety resources available to agents. Eighteen percent of members have participated in safety courses provided by their REALTORÂ®Â association. Forty-six percent of respondents say their brokerage has standard procedures for agent safety in place; however, 54 percent says their brokerage either had no safety measures in place or they were not aware of them.
â€śWhen I became NAR president last year, I pledged to make REALTORÂ® safety a priority and develop new education and resources for the industry,â€ť says NAR President Chris Polychron, executive broker with 1st Choice Realty in Hot Springs, Ark. â€śIt is important to know how safe or unsafe our members feel, what causes them to feel unsafe, and what steps they are taking to keep themselves out of harmâ€™s way, so that we can respond and provide the best tools tailored to our membersâ€™ personal safety needs.â€ť
See the surveyâ€™s accompanying infographic atÂ http://www.realtor.org/infographics/realtor-safety.