Brown Belt Needed?

Real Estate Agent: Brown Belt Needed? Are you thinking of entering the real estate world? Have your sights set on meeting new people in a glamorous new-to-you profession? Excited about flexible hours, touring homes, and a new found independence? Did you know that some of those very things are what can make you a target for foul play?!

As a person interested in joining the ranks of brokers in Colorado, safety was not my first concern while investigating education and licensing requirements. Nor has it come up during my coursework so far.  It was, however,  one of the first and only things out of my husband’s mouth when I asked him what he thought about me becoming a broker – “Always let me know where you are, and take your gun.” Well, that was a bit sobering to say the least, and since then I’ve been keeping my antenna tuned towards safety issues around real estate and doing Internet searches.

Top take away: real estate is one of the few professions that typically requires meeting with strangers in purposefully empty, sometimes remote, locations.

Safety

I recently had the opportunity to interview a newly minted agent, Kristie Parker (name and website posted with permission), so I thought I’d use one of my five allotted questions to ask about safety practices. To prepare the interview questions for Kristie, I first trolled the Internet to see what I could find just knowing her name and occupation.  Because real estate is a licensed profession in her state, Virginia, it was easy enough to find her license record online. There I found her name, license type and level, and her employer’s info as well. With that information, I was able to find employer’s website, then Kristie’s web site, picture, and phone number.

All in all, nothing too scary in the world of ever-increasingly available information. The first words of her response to the safety question I posed, however, echoed my husband’s concerns:  “Safety is a huge issue for Realtors.”

She went on to state that her broker encourages them to alert the receptionist when going on showings. Unfortunately, the receptionists are not on duty on the weekends which are when most showings take place.  Kristie has a personal policy to not meet with a single male at a property for the first time, prefers to not meet couples the first time alone, and is least worried about single females. Generally, her husband goes with her on showings, but when he can’t make it she lets him know where she’s going and  has backups – pepper spray, a brown belt in Karate, and lots of training in self-defense. She does not drive clients around in her car and mentions that most agents don’t do that anymore these days.

“Before I started,” she adds, “I didn’t give safety much thought.”

Me either, until hearing my husband’s response. Perhaps safety is something that should be touched on more during the educational requirements. Should agents – of the real estate variety, not spies – need a brown belt in Karate? Training in self-defense? A gun? The answers to those questions would be up to the individual person, but my opinion: it sure can’t hurt.

At the very least, please take the time to become aware of the potential dangers. A quick internet search will net you much more information and training options. Here are a few quick references: