Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Safety & Real Estate

As you may know, I am a Real Estate Representative.  As such I find myself meeting new people all the time.  Striking up a conversation on the street, in a store on the phone or via email and most recently through text messages.  Have I ever been concerned about who I'm speaking to ?  Who I will be meeting at a property ? You bet I have, and I will always take some form of precaution.
Technology has brought about a feeling of anonymity for many.  How brave some folks are, kids even, sitting at the screen of their computer or smartphone in the safety of their home.  Some people simply have too much time on their hands.  This is when the, less than average "Joe", stirs up trouble.
We have all heard the stories of respectable Real Estate Representatives being lured, assaulted or killed in the big cities.  We never really believe something like that will happen here.  I hate to say it could happen here and  it has happened here and all Representatives should look at implementing a safety plan.
As a Real Estate Professional, our faces, contact numbers, listings, open houses and often vehicles are public information.  We're in local and regional publications and on-line, that is a potential for a lot of  people seeing us and our listings.  This is great for business, but is there a personal cost too ?
For the most part my interactions, via email or phone, with the public and potential clients have all turned out fine.  I am contacted to provide a professional service to lovely couples or genuinely good people.  However, there have been a couple of incidents that were not all professional.  This is when I implemented my safety plan and learned to actually listen to my gut, it is NEVER wrong.
Back to technology and the less than average "Joe".  Most recently someone picked up a lot of female Real Estate Rep's contact info and began texting us.  Some started out business like, wanting to see property others immediately received texts of an inappropriate nature.  Quickly these texts increased in number and in their explicit nature.  Here is where a personal toll is paid by us.  It is not fair, it is not expected it is not professional.  It makes us uneasy, uncomfortable and worried that the last person we are showing a property to could be this "Joe".  Set out your safety plan and always follow you gut instinct, it will never steer you wrong.
I sure hope they catch this texting fool.  It is a cowardly approach to harassment, but harassment it is.