Recently my daughter, a real estate agent in Virginia, told me of a scary incident she was involved in showing a house to a prospective client. She had an appointment to meet the client at the house. She got there a few minutes ahead of the client and went in to check things out.
She was making her way around the house when she thought she heard a sound. Instinctively she called and got her pepper spray out of her purse.
As it turns out the house was being rented out but the lease expired 3 weeks prior. The tenants were still there! Surprise! Heather wasn't sure if she or the tenants were more frightened. When she showed the pepper spray to the tenants they backed off. She was lucky.
Think of all the times real estate agents put themselves at risk by meeting complete strangers often in remote locations by themselves either showing homes or hosting "open Houses". That is an accident waiting to happen.
I'll admit the number of assaults, rapes, and even murders is small statistically speaking but they do happen. Do you want to take a chance? Not that you should become paranoid but much better to be safe than sorry. Some precautionary steps and good old common sense could prevent you from becoming a police statistic.
1. Always carry some non lethal self defense weapons with you. Stun guns and pepper sprays are easy to conceal in your car, office and purse.
2. That gut feeling-called intuition-follow it. If the situation doesn't feel right to you-get out!!
3. Meet a new customer at the office and introduce him/her to some coworkers. Make a copy of their driver's license or get the plate number off their car. Explain it as office policy which it should be for security reasons.
4. Never meet a new customer at the property especially if it is vacant. Ask the customer to follow you in his/her car. If that is not possible insist on driving your car.
5. Ask if your office offers any safety training even an informal session will do.
6. Never turn your back to a stranger. When showing a property let the customer lead and you follow keeping yourself between the customer and a door.
7. Keep your cell phone with you at all times.
Chances are if you are reading this that crime has touched your life in some way or you consider yourself at risk. Take the next step and do something to protect yourself. Your life and safety is worth far more than the cost of a stun gun or pepper spray.
Stun guns, tasers and pepper sprays are not legal in some states. Check with your local police department first before you get one.