Forty percent of the million-plus REALTORS® in the country say they’ve experienced a situation that made them fear for their personal safety or the safety of their personal information, most commonly during open houses or while showing vacant or rural properties, according to the report. The most likely practitioners to experience such a threat are females and those working in suburban areas, the report notes.
The good news is only 4 percent of REALTORS® say they have actually been a victim of a crime. That could be because many take safety precautions seriously, according to the report:
- Forty-six percent of REALTORS® say their brokerage has standard procedures for agent safety.
- Thirty-eight percent say they have participated in a self-defense class.
- The typical REALTOR® meets 50 percent of prospective buyers they don’t know in a real estate office or neutral location before viewing a home.
Because of the sometimes unpredictable nature of real estate, NAR launched its REALTOR® Safety Program more than a decade ago to educate members about risks on the job. But a renewed industry focus on safety — and a promise by NAR President Chris Polychron to make it a priority during his tenure — is giving rise to new program changes and updates. Coming this year, the safety program will extend to include:
- A reorganization of the realtor.org/safety site to enhance the user experience and make it easier to locate resources. The site’s content will also be updated to reflect current resources.
- An Association’s Crisis Communications Checklist, compiled by REALTOR® association executives and the NAR Public Affairs team, which will offer steps that can be added to any current crisis communication plan.
- New marketing materials to be published this spring that associations can use to promote a message of safety to members. This will include Web banners, posters, print ads, and flyers that can be posted online, in newsletters, and around the office.
- Image-based safety tips that NAR will begin posting on its Facebook and Twitter accounts this spring. You can easily share these tips on your own social profiles, or use them in e-newsletters and post them on your website.
- A three-hour safety course to be offered on Tues., May 12, from 12:30 to 3:30 p.m. during the REALTORS® Legislative Meetings and Trade Expo in Washington, D.C.
- Webinars hosted by NAR in April and September, which is REALTOR® Safety Month.
- A safety booklet compiling safety tips submitted by REALTORS® to be published in the fall.
- New safety articles and videos to share with members throughout the year.
Reprinted from realtor.org, March 2015, with permission of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®. Copyright March 2015. All rights reserved. http://www.realtor.org/