Monica Donetti-Ross

Real (estate) Vulnerability – by Monica Donetti-Ross

realtorReal Estate Agents are vulnerable to robbery, potential sexual assaults, and crimes of opportunity. 

Although we have been advised by our Brokerages to have an introductory meeting with potential clients, in a public place or our offices, it often does not happen. We have been advised to get proper identification and to document by law on our Fintrac forms. 

The Brokerage is right, and it is advisable to do so, but we often receive an email or a phone call from a potential client requesting information on a home or wanting to set up a showing. Typically these clients are legitimate but might be on a tight time schedule and we often set up showings by only qualifying them over the phone.

Every time we do so we potentially put our lives at risk.

Safe2Show is program tailored to fit with our profession. It is TM in North America.  Unlike any phone apps, this is a very much” hands on” service which enables a realtor to show up with another agent to a showing.  This will enable the agent who made the call for assistance to safely conduct her showing, knowing full well that the agent on call will be sitting on the sidelines monitoring the situation, and will ensure that the other agent is safe. Unlike a phone app, any suspicious activity can be recorded immediately, and can be acted upon in real time.

Phone apps can be effective; however they are not as responsive as needed. Once the panic button is deployed the first alert goes out … usually the first contact is the spouse…it might trigger a call to the police who will be then be potentially dispatched. it still does not help the realtor in a panic situation. Furthermore if the perpetrator confiscates the phone, the realtor is in an impossible situation. And time is precious during these moments! Unfortunately, a phone app might be leading the police to a crime scene instead.  Pocket calls could also be a problem; we simply do not have enough police presence and officers on duty to respond to false alarms. 

Not to mention what I experienced first-hand in my situation — when I ran into a problem with squatters — my client asked the police for assistance on my behalf.

He is a realtor himself; I was selling his mom’s home, so the concern for my safety was very real. The house was vacant and the squatters kept coming back. I was afraid for my life as I did not know what could have happened to me if I ran into them again. This situation was extremely stressful on everyone.

We had many showings and no one knew what to expect when showing the home. to say the situation was unnerving is a mild statement, the police informed us that they could not attend unless I was in distress, which at that point I think it is too late for anyone in a similar situation.

Furthermore, it is has been proven that criminal activity can be prevented when there are witnesses present. Any suspicious activity can be “called in” in our centralized call centre, and we will immediately fan out any information regarding a potential safety hazard to all our members within minutes from receiving the facts.

In essence we will be creating something similar to an amber alert for the membership. Suspicious individuals have twisted minds. They are mobile and they will often move to a different area if they have made their mind up to commit a crime. A car description, a licence plate, can be easily recorder by the agent on duty and once received, can be easily passed on to everyone.

Safe2Show is very effective.

Agents that sign up for this program are grouped in geographical quadrants. On a monthly basis each agent will be placed on a roaster to serve as a back-up “buddy agent”. Based on the number of realtors in each area the times will vary and we are trying to keep it as close to a couple of hour’s commitment for each shift.  We do anticipate that as the service grows the time commitment will diminish. Ideally each quadrant will need a minimum of 20 to 25 realtors to work. We expect each agent to be responsible with their shifts. We require 48 hrs notice of cancellation. The service operates from 8 am to 8 pm, seven days a week. This is strictly for private showings, and does not accommodate a service for open houses at the moment. 

This program will be particularly attractive to new realtors/ and any realtor who might have a limited support system. It is voluntary and the administration fee is $ 25 monthly.  I can’t see anyone not wanting to sign up for the service. For less than a dollar a day, you can have assurance that someone will be with you when requested. The first two months are free to anyone who will join.

Family members will be relieved someone is watching over their loved ones.

Safe2show will be donating a portion of our monthly proceeds towards women shelters throughout the Lower Mainland. Many realtors have taken a pledge to end violence against women.

As our urban centres grow, so does crime. As we go about doing our business, we often forget how dangerous our job can be. Having a Buddy with you, might be a better option as opposed to a phone app that might not be as quick to stop the crime or the assault from happening to begin with.

The most disturbing issue is that we have no way to protect ourselves from a faceless stranger. They are invisible to us, yet they have all the information about us at their fingertips. Our websites and social media have made it possible for anyone to know our whereabouts at all times. We have no warning signs or protection against them other than Safe2Show.

This might just be the safest way to show homes to complete strangers from now on.

 For further information regarding this program don’t hesitate to contact me at 604-868-SAFE (7233 )

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