Desert Real Estate Agents Issued Safety Guidelines
Tatiana Sanchez, The Desert Sun
Realtor associations in the desert are reminding real estate agents to remain alert on the job after two recent attacks, most recently in Southern California.
The California Desert Association of Realtors released a series of safety tips to its 3,000 members Monday, which include scheduling initial meetings with clients in an office and scouting destinations before meeting with potential buyers.
The desert association also has started selling pepper spray.
The tips could prove invaluable for realtors, whose job puts them face-to-face with strangers on a daily basis.
Sharon Rogers, president of the Palm Desert-based association, said it's also brainstorming a "long-term safety plan" to keep real estate agents safe.
"Safety isn't always our first thought," she said. "We never know what we're going to come across.
"For the moment, we took the steps that we can take immediately. and as we look into this, we'll have those safety plans implemented as quickly as possible," Rogers said.
Rogers said the long-term safety plan will most likely include a self-defense element.
Becky Bowles, president-elect of the Palm Springs Regional Association of Realtors, said the association discussed safety tips at their meeting a few weeks ago after an Arkansas agent was killed on the job.
"What we talked about is also educating the public, so that the public knows that these things are for the safety of the realtors," she said. "They should expect to provide identification if they don't know the realtors."
"If someone is a real buyer, they will understand," Bowles said.
The organization contacted the state's realtor association and suggested they launch a media campaign on the issue, she said.
Recent attacks have left realtors on high alert.
A 55-year-old woman was attacked Saturday outside a home she had listed in Laguna Niguel, an affluent community along the coast of southern Orange County.
The real estate agent was put in a chokehold and punched by a man she didn't know as she secured the lockbox. The man fled after the woman screamed, according to police.
The attack took place just weeks after an Arkansas woman was kidnapped and killed while showing a house to a prospective buyer.
Beverly Carter's body was discovered in a shallow grave about 25 miles north of the home a few days later.
Police arrested Arron Michael Lewis, 33, on suspicion of Carter's death. Lewis has pleaded not guilty to one count of capital murder, kidnapping and robbery as well as four weapons charges.
The California Desert Association of Realtors sent the following safety tips to its 3,000 members Monday after two recent attacks on real estate agents.
- For the public: If a prospective buyer or unknown agent shows up at your door unannounced, politely request they call your agent to schedule an appointment. Think twice about opening your door to a stranger.
- For realtors: Whenever you schedule an appointment, make sure your colleagues know where you're going and who you are meeting, including the client's name and phone number. If you are self-employed, make sure a family member or friend has a copy of your calendar schedule
- It is best to schedule first meetings with new clients in the office. There you can verify their identity and introduce them to a colleague
- Scout your destinations before your meetings. Arrive early and take a few seconds to observe your surroundings. Note any suspicious objects or people in the area. If something feels off, cancel the meeting or reschedule to a different location
- If you are representing a seller at an open house, have them place all valuables, including jewelry and prescription drugs, in a secure location.
- When showing homes, let prospects lead the way throughout the home. Never enter a confined space, such as a basement or bathroom
- Always keep a charged mobile phone with you. Pre-program emergency numbers in your speed dial settings
- Enter and leave your car with caution. Be aware of your surroundings and lock doors when you are safely inside your vehicle. If your key controller has a panic button, be prepared to activate if needed
- Keep an emergency kit in your car. Include first-aid supplies, basic tools, a flashlight with backup batteries and bottled water
- Create a distress code with work and family members. Establish a secret word or phrase that can be worked naturally in a conversation and alerts others that you feel you are in danger
- Protect your identity. Never give personal information to strangers, only shop on secure websites and shred personal papers
Here are a few things you need to know to be ready:
- The look and functionality will be the same as they have always been.
- The fields you need to fill in when you input a listing will be greatly reduced.
- You will need to redo your security questions the first time you log on, but only once.
- DAMLS has adopted the California Model Rules as the DAMLS MLS rules including the citation policy. (The MLS committee is currently working on a new citation policy that will be more education based and less punitive).
- We are expecting to receive in excess of 300 emails per day for the first few days as members get used to the new database.
- We are expecting extremely heavy phone traffic for the first few days.
- If you have questions – please, please come to the MLS Launch on Wednesday (tomorrow) the 27th at Agua Caliente, 9-11.
- Please attend one of the training sessions on Thursday or Friday (all training sessions are the same and cover the same material – you only need to attend one).
- Look at the member page of the CDAR website. We will be posting answers to the most frequently asked questions there.
- If you still have questions and/or:
- you need MLS technical support please call Rapattoni 1-866-730-7114
- if your question is not imperative you might consider waiting a couple of days before contacting CDAR staff.
- If you do email or call us, please know that we will be diligently working through emails and phone messages just as quickly as we can, but it may take us a couple of days to get back to you depending on the total phone/email traffic. Please be patient.
- Rapattoni will be automatically sending client portal invitations out to your clients on your behalf starting this morning at 9:00 a. m. By end of day all of your clients should have received the new client portal invitation.
- And YES Auto-prospecting will continue to run and will not require anything from you.
- You can find a complete list of what will transfer over and what will not on the member’s homepage of our website . Great News! Most everything will transfer over this time.