Arkansas REALTORS® Make Safety a Priority
We may not like to think about it, but real estate transactions can pose risks for REALTORS®, buyers and sellers. Vacant houses can be tempting targets for trespassers and thieves. Burglars and home invaders have used open houses and home showings to case properties for thefts.
Buyers also can be exposed to risks from unsafe conditions at properties, not to mention the dangers of just driving between showings. And since real estate sales involve the sharing of personal financial information, data security is a growing concern.
A tragic reminder of these risks came in September 2014, when Pulaski County REALTOR® Beverly Carter was abducted and murdered after showing a home to someone she thought was a potential buyer.
The Arkansas REALTORS® Association has responded to these concerns by establishing a Safety Task Force that takes a holistic approach toward keeping the buying and selling of real estate safe. While the task force’s leader, REALTOR® Bill Tobias of Conway, Ark., acknowledges that safety can be a boring topic, he also stresses that safety “needs to be out in front constantly.”
Tobias says REALTORS® have a fiduciary duty to keep their clients safe, and he practices what he preaches by making safety a topic of discussion at his office’s weekly staff meeting.
To help promote safe practices for everyone, the Safety Task Force has posted safety training materials on the Arkansas REALTORS® Association website. Included in the materials is a list of smartphone apps that can be used to make a fast call for help in an emergency.
The website also has short videos on safety topics, including best practices for open-house safety, automobile safety and social media safety. Local REALTORS® developed the videos, which show actual real estate professionals practicing procedures that will help keep them and their clients safe. Buyers and sellers will also find helpful tips to ensure their safety.
“Safety education is not about reinventing the wheel, but it is about validating the best practices to be followed,” Tobias says. “Safety should be a part of everyone’s routine.”