September was officially REALTOR® Safety Month, and there was an abundance of news stories, blogs and social media posts filled with tips and tactics to help keep brokers and agents safe.
But let’s face it: agent safety is something that’s vital all 365 days a year. So here is a collection of the best resources we found to help keep you safe year-round.
There’s a safety app for that
Your computer in your pocket is more than just a communications tool; it can be your best safety device. Many safety apps require a monthly subscription, but there are some that are free or low cost, all available for both Android and Apple smartphones.
Bmonitored is a free download. This safety app allows you to start a meeting time and set safety alerts, prompting you to enter a PIN to confirm you’re okay. If you don’t respond, the app automatically notifies your emergency contacts.
Homesnap Pro, free for agents whose MLS offers the app as a member benefit, has a Safety Timer that agents can set when showing a property. If the timer expires, emergency contacts the agent pre-selected are instantly notified. Agents can also send a distress alert to emergency contacts with a single tap.
The National Association of REALTORS also provides members with the Trust Stamp app for REALTORS®. Agents can almost instantly confirm the identity and trustworthiness of a stranger before a meeting or before letting them into their car or a home to show.
What’s your safety strategy?
The NAR publishes an extensive library of safety information for real estate professionals online and adds to it regularly. Among the current offerings:
- How to plan your safety strategy
- A list of “56 Safety Tips for REALTORS®“
- A reference section that features articles on agent safety
- An Action Plan (Word doc) template to help map out office safety procedures and responsibilities
- A collection of safety videos, and
- On-demand webinars about REALTOR® safety issues.
All of this content, and more, is online at www.nar.realtor/safety.
Last month, the NAR also released its 2018 Member Safety Report. The good news is that the report shows many safety trends are heading in the right direction. For example, there’s been a 25 percent improvement in the number of times Realtors have met prospective clients that they’ve never met before at their office or a neutral location. Fewer real estate professionals this year have experienced a situation that made them fear for their personal safety or safety of their personal information – 33 percent in 2018, down from 38 percent in 2017. Plus, more agents are using smartphone safety apps: 47 percent in 2018, up from 44 percent in 2018.
More than just personal safety
Being safe and secure in today’s world involves more than just one’s own safety; you also need to be sure that your personal data and privacy – and that of your clients – are protected as well. Last year NAR published a “Data Security and Privacy Tool Kit” to aid in that effort. Created by NAR’s Legal team, this handy booklet (available in a PDF for download and printable) includes a great “Information Inventory Checklist,” another highly detailed checklist for “Protecting Personal Information,” and several other terrific checklists that will help you create a document retention policy, a data security program and help you draft a “Breach Notification Policy.”
Always be prepared
In addition to the resources at nar.realtor/safety, many state Realtor associations have produced safety content for members. Andy Tolbert’s “Safety First” video from the Florida Realtors is a great primer that can help anyone become a safer agent. The Arkansas REALTORS® Association offers many safety videos, including one on “Fight or Flight.” And the California Association of Realtors® “Safety First” video showcases one agent’s personal safety story.
For the last ten years, the NAR has promoted Realtor Safety each September, and while technology is helping to give agents and brokers new ways to be safer, in the end, it comes down to all of us making smart choices and continuously being aware – and prepared.
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