Realtor Safety – It’s Not Just a Concern When Going to Meet Prospective Clients
I’ve been thinking about writing this post for months but, for some time just couldn’t bring myself to relive something that happened to me last November. Realtor safety discussions often revolve around the risks involved when we go to meet someone to show a house. I think that’s the most common risk and likely the biggest one we face but, last year I experienced a different kind of safety concern. I wasn’t prepared when another agent’s client showed up at my office and proceeded to threaten me.
It started off like many mornings do, just me and my assistant at the office. I was in the back in my office and heard the door chime, she works at the front and greets everyone that visits our office. I heard a disgruntled male voice and walked up to see who was there. I was greeted with you real estate agents are crooks and you will change the language in the lease now. I knew immediately who he was, his agent had told me she was having trouble with him wanting to change the language of the lease to accommodate him if he wanted to break it early. I introduced myself and explained that I wasn’t able to talk with him because he is represented by another agent and I don’t believe in violating the Code Of Ethics. That only fueled his anger so I offered to call his agent and put her on speaker so that she could be a part of the conversation. The situation was growing increasingly volatile with him pacing, refusing to sit down, getting in my face and tossing insults left and right.
He was former military and used to leases that allowed him to move at any time due to his military orders. Due to no longer being military that wasn’t an option anymore. I was ultimately able to think of a way to add wording to protect my client in the event he wanted to break the lease while still giving him the option to end the 1-year term early. Not before he threatened me and tried to force me to make changes without my client’s approval. The line that really sticks with me was – my parents must be proud I steal money from people for a living, he was about 2 inches away from my face when he said it. He was out of line in every way but, I knew with his anger spewing I couldn’t go the confrontational route. I was genuinely scared for my safety which is a very rare occurrence for me. I am a very observant person and carry a gun when I feel circumstances are unknown. I don’t take chances in anyway when it comes to my safety but, I was not prepared for this situation at all. No gun, no pepper spray, nothing. The only thing I could do was try to diffuse the situation.
I didn’t realize it at the time but, my assistant had slipped into a spare office and grabbed something I could use to defend myself if needed. She was poised by the phone to call the police. As it was happening I knew it was dangerous but, it wasn’t until it was over and he left that I started shaking and crying realizing how badly it could have ended. She was completely shaken too, it was hard to even process what had happened. It was also a huge wakeup call that we’re vulnerable even if we’re just in our office.
I am completely fine and only wanted to share my experience to raise awareness that as Realtors we aren’t just at risk when we go show homes. Taking the time to think about our daily routines and identifying times and places we could be at risk is important. I hope that everyone will take the time to do that, we all have different routines but, each one of them carries risk. We owe it to ourselves to do everything we can to minimize those risks.