Friday, June 24, 2011

For Safety's Sake #2: Does anyone know where you're going?

So you just got a call to show that property out on Old County Road: the empty one with the nearest neighbor ¾ mile distant. Practically salivating at the thought of finally unloading it, you grab a showing folder, jump in the car and start to head out there, hoping to make it before dark. Fellow said he had to see it today, didn’t he? Well, let’s get cracking!

Un-uh. No. Get out of the car. I’m telling you not to do it.

First of all, how many safety rules are you violating here? Before you’ve even left the office?

Think about it.
• Did you ask him to come into the office before you met him at the property? No.
• Did you tell anyone in the office where you were going and/or fill out an agent itinerary sheet? No.
• Did you ask anyone to go along with you? No.
• Did you suggest another day when there was more daylight left might be a better idea for viewing the property? No.
• Has greed gotten the better of your judgment? Yes.

Alright, should you ever meet someone at an empty property? Someone who just called your office? No. Have we all done it? Of course.

My point is obvious, but possibly life-saving. Try not to do that. Really try.

Make sure you sign out with details of where you’re going, who you’re meeting, what time you’re meeting them, etc. Leave this information with someone dependable at your office.

At the very least, tell someone where you're going and give them all the information you can about the person you're meeting. Ask them to call you in 45 minutes and agree on a signal word or phrase to let them know if you're in need of help. It would be great if your office had a code word which you could use when calling for help. Our office has a code which, provided the agent has access to a phone, tells whoever answers, regardless if it's the DB or the FedEx man, that there is a REALTOR in need of help.

Better still, take someone from the office with you. Grab someone who’s not too busy to ride along. There will always be someone who’ll be glad to do it for you, because you will return the favor someday.

Take cues from the caller. Why does he have to see it today? Why did he call so late in the day?

You have the advantage while you're still in the office and calling the shots. You don't have to go out there. Say you'll be happy to show it to him in the morning. Be sure to cover all your bases as far as your safety goes. Suggest, strongly, that he come to your office first. Tell him it's your policy. Your office policy, company policy, something to make it sound firm and official. Line someone up to accompany you. Pay attention to your gut feelings too. If more red flags than normal pop up, don't do it.

Granted, in Maine, most of the dangers to REALTORS come from environmental issues and equipment failures, but problems with people who do not wish you well are on the increase, and no commission is worth it.

Take care.

Mary Kuykendall is a REALTOR with Coldwell Banker Heritage Real Estate in Bangor; and the 2011 Greater Bangor Association REALTOR of the Year

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