REAL ESTATE SAFETY – HOME AND AWAY
Arkansas Realtors® Association’s Safety Task Force
We are very blessed to live in the great state of Arkansas, however, over the past decade we have seen an increase in crime regardless if you live in a city or small town. Unfortunately, this has also affected the real estate industry.
It is imperative Realtors®, buyers, and sellers all take additional precautions to reduce the risk of theft or physical injury to all. Many Realtors®, have risk reduction training and are members of the Beverly Carter Safety Certified Office Program. The Arkansas Realtors® Association’s Safety Task Force has put together this article to help our members and consumers remain safe in all real estate practices.
Sellers: Before listing your home and having photos taken move all valuables to a safe location(s). Items that are most at risk are jewelry, medications, electronic data, mail and firearms. Often homeowners will keep these items in a very common location; such as keeping jewelry on the bedroom dresser or in the top drawer, or medication (especially pain medications) are kept on the kitchen counter or in a cabinet near the kitchen sink, while firearms are often in or under the night stand next to our bed. The bad guys know this and are looking to grab and go. It’s a good idea to have these items hidden, your computer shut down, and any mail hidden from view during showings. Realtors® attempt to keep buyers together during a showing, however it’s not always possible. When you return home after a showing it’s a good idea to make sure all doors and windows are locked. We also encourage you to speak to your Realtor® about the pros and cons of having only allowing pre-qualified buyer come to showings of your home.
Realtors®: The real estate business is a high risk business; in fact, it is the eighth highest risk business according to the Department of Labor Statistics. Many Realtors® and firms have safety protocols in place to protect themselves as well as their buyers and sellers. The Arkansas Realtors® Association’s Safety Task Force has developed and encourages all Realtors® to take the Safety Pledge and become a Beverly Carter Safety Certified Office which has safety resources for the benefit of Realtors®, buyers, sellers and the general public.
Buyers: Please know that your first meeting with a Realtor® should be at the agent’s office or a “Safe Harbor” location. It doesn’t benefit anyone to run and look at a property without an initial meeting where you can share your home requirements, locations, price ranges, and where you are at in the loan process (pre-approval status). This is a great time for your Realtor® to explain the home buying process. Even if you are not a first time homebuyer, things are constantly changing in all aspects of the home buying process. As a part of the Realtors® safety protocol, you may be asked for a copy of your driver’s license, pre-approval letter, and client intake sheet. Sellers and Realtors® want to know who is entering their homes and vehicles. Another safety precaution is to only show homes during daylight hours, especially vacant properties everyone’s safety.
The items listed above are just a small sampling of the potential risks and precautions in today’s world so please be sure when you are discussing all the other aspects of marketing, selling, and buying a home that safety is an important part of that discussion.
House to House is distributed weekly by the Arkansas REALTORS® Association. For more information on homeownership in Arkansas, readers may visit www.ArkansasRealtors.com.