Arkansas real estate agent’s murder highlights perils of the job. Ashley Okland was a real estate agent in Des Moines Iowa. At only 27 she was young, beautiful, and full of enthusiasm. She was killed by 2 gunshot wounds and the police are still trying to solve her murder.
Selling your own home can be a great way to make extra money, but, with profit potential comes risk. Showing your home to potential strangers can be very risky. However, you can take precautions to improve your chances of success.
Here are some safety tips for selling your own home:
Never Show After Dark
The risks of showing houses for sale and apartments for rent are one and the same. Many property management companies have put policies and procedures in place to protect their employees.
Never show a house or apartment after dark. During the summer months this will not hamper your showing ability. However, during the winter this will cause you to stop showings at around 4:30pm which can be early for both weekdays and weekends. If a person is serious then they can accommodate this rule.
Require an ID
This is common practice in the apartment industry. An ID is required to tour the property and the ID stays in the office while the agent and prospect tour the property. Everyone that drives a vehicle is required to carry a driver license with them. Bringing an ID to tour your house for sale should not be a problem. Tell your prospect about this rule ahead of time when you schedule the appointment. It is very important that you implement this rule consistently. One you do for one you must do for all.
Require an Appointment
Require your prospect to make an appointment. No “walk-in” showings. You should determine ahead of time what days and times work based for your personal schedules. Plan to be doing showing most of the day on Saturday and Sunday. You can then pre-qualify them when they call you and then set an appointment to view the property.
Have a Lifeline
One of the most effective tools we have today is our cell phone. Always have your cell phone in hand during a tour. This will allow you to call 911 in an emergency. Also, you can have a friend call you while on your tour to check-in. This will let your prospect know that someone knows where you are.
This doesn’t mean that you text or chat with your friends during the tour! Don’t lose sight of the fact that your goal is to sell the house.
Bring a Buddy
Avoid showing the house alone. Bring a buddy or your
significant other during showings if the home is vacant. If it’s your primary residence, do not schedule appointments when your significant other is not home.
Have a Code Word If You’re in Trouble
Find someone that you can call and have a code-word that will indicate that you’re in trouble. There is a local brokerage firm that has such a practice in place. The agent just called the office and asks for one of the founders. The founders of the franchise passed away in the 1970’s.
Never let your prospect get between you and the door. Let the prospect enter the doorway first. Generally speaking, you don’t want to have someone behind you while touring. Smile while extending your hand outward and invite them to explore.
Another good trick is to leave the door ajar and extend the deadbolt so the door cannot close. This will allow you to get out quickly if you are attacked.
Never, EVER, enter a walk-in closet ahead of your prospect. This puts you in a serious disadvantage in the event of an attack!
This is an important subject for anyone selling their own home. Generally you should not show your property in a situation in which you feel unsafe. However, you must treat everyone equally and not be reluctant to show your property to a prospect because they are a member of a different race or ethnic group. The key here is consistency. If you decide to require an ID from your prospect to show your property then you must require an ID for all prospects with no exceptions. It’s easy to fall into the trap of making the assumption: “they look like a sweet couple I don’t need to ask them for an ID”. What you do for one you must do for all.