Being a realtor is a great career. Most great rewards can come with great risks. When working closely with strangers in any field, we assume some type of risk, but because realtors often times meet with strangers in private homes we wanted to talk directly with realtors to find out what risks, if any, they have come across during their career.
A great self-defense tool is to envision different dangerous scenarios that you could possibly be in and how you would deal with them. If you are a realtor, new to the profession, read the following stories and ask yourself what you would do if faced with the same situations.
Jessica Nelson, a broker with Liberty Realty in Hoboken, New Jersey had a potentially very scary story to tell. About four years ago, Jessica was in charge of leasing out a building in West New York, when a potential client called to view an apartment. She met him after work and instead of it being just him, he showed up with two other men. The electricity wasn’t even working yet in the new building either.
The three men were from three different countries and were all going to live together. This set off red flags for Jessica, but she finished the showing unharmed. Later on, she found out the men were on the national terror watch list!
Another time, Jessica showed an open house and instead of the one man who called to say it was just for him, eight people showed up together. She immediately was on high alert, knew where all of the exits were and left straight out the back door.
Denise Rogers of Element Realty on Long Island, NY, has been in the business for twenty-two years. She recalls a story of a man who stalked her over the period of a few months. Denise had an open house about nine years ago when a man showed up alone. He came in an older car, which he would leave on the street and he stayed at the open house for about two hours. She definitely thought it was strange.
At the next open house she had, he came again and started to act more comfortable by sitting on the couch for a while. Later, he began calling the real estate office and asking which open houses Denise would be giving and when. Denise alerted the rest of the realtors about him and when a colleague of hers had an open house and he showed up, she called the police to have him arrested because they found him in a closet. The cops couldn’t arrest him because he didn’t actually attack anyone, but they scared him off enough so that he never came back.
PJ Kennedy, a certified property distress expert, has been with Keller Williams Realty for five years in Charlotte, North Carolina. He has come across squatters using drugs during a viewing. Another time a man who was most likely on drugs threatened him, and he felt the need to protect his client who was pregnant at the time. He was able to get them out safely. PJ knows that this particular area has a high rate of crystal meth use and realizes that can be dangerous when going into certain properties. He encourages everyone to know how to protect themselves.
Lori Rowe has been working for 31 years as a realtor in North Barrington, Illinois. During one open house, Lori recalls a man showing up who she says, didn’t fit the part. He was too scruffy looking for the high-end property she was showing.
He then began invading her personal space and that is when her intuition kicked in. She called her boss at the office and used a code word they had set up prior to the incident. He asked if she was scared and he continued to call her and check on her. The third time he called Lori, the potential perp ran out the door. She thinks realtors are in a vulnerable situation in open houses and knows of two stories of women realtors who were bound and gagged while robbers stole from the home.