Safety for Real Estate Professionals

Real Estate Professionals

McCormick has developed and taught Realtor Beware programs to enable these professionals to conduct their tasks in a safer environment. He teaches prevention skills to avoid potential problems, particularly when showing homes and physical skills when the best prevention has not worked. Shelly, 35, a realtor in Ontario, was holding an open house by herself late one Saturday afternoon when a lone male came through the front door, paused, scrutinized his surroundings, locked the door and entered the living-room where Shelly was seated behinda desk. Her intuition set off an inner alarm as she pushed the emergency button on her phone and pretended to speak to her office. The 911 operator picked up on Shelly’s clues, kept her on the phone while the intruder stood in front of the desk waiting for the call to end. The 911 operator knew the address from the telephone connection. Within minutes, Shelly saw the police approaching –so did the intruder. He exited by the rear of the house with the police in pursuit. Shelly credits her quick thinking to a Realtor Beware program she attended.

Home Security

Is your home your castle? Whether you live in rural or urban North American, your needs and circumstances are the same: you want to feel safe in your home. The following checklist of home security ideas addresses those needs. Most products, including security systems, are available in your community. Peruse the following home security ideas and see how your castle fares.

Exterior Security

Installation of motion lights is easy and inexpensive, and will illuminate strategic areas around the house. A yard light comes on automatically at night and illuminates a considerable area. Light systems are available from light fixture and hardware stores from $20 to $50.

Keep shrubs near your house trimmed short to discourage hiding places for thieves.

Lock up ladders so they can not be used to break into your home.

Have an automatic garage door opener for easy access. Open the door after you are in your vehicle and close it before you get out of the car in your garage. Doors leading from the garage to the house or the outside need dead-bolts.

Never leave notes for friends/repairmen or hide a key outside. Arrange for repairs with a neighbor or for when you are at home.

Interior Security

Dead-bolts are a must on all outside entry doors, including garage and basement. These should be kept locked whether you are at home, in the garden or away from the house.

Solid interior locks/levers should secure all windows. Key locks for interior windows and doors are hazardous in emergency exiting.

You can not prevent entry but you can make it more time consuming and therefore less inviting –the thief will try another house more vulnerable.

Sliding windows and patio doors need dowels placed in the tracks to make the window impossible to slide open. As with windows, key locks are not recommended.

Install a peep hole in all solid exterior doors to allow the person inside to identify callers before opening the door. Ask for identification from repairmen –through a locked door, and do not hesitate to call the company for verification.

Put timers on lights in high occupancy rooms so that when you are away, the lights will illuminate at different times, making it appear as though you are moving from room to room.

Answering machines are a good security measure. Keep your message simple, give just your phone number, not your name, and imply that you are occupied elsewhere in the home –not out of the house. For women living alone, just as it is prudent to have only your initial on your mailbox and in your telephone listing, it may be a good idea to have a male friend or relative record your message. Do not have a child do it. Remote access to your machine is an excellent feature for when you are away for several days. Make sure you turn off the ringer before you leave.

Consider a dog, any breed or size. Barking draws attention the thief does not want. Or, consider an electronic barker that attaches to the inside of an exterior door-knob. Have a safe-room, preferably a master-bedroom. The door should be solid wood or metal and have a dead-bolt (not key variety). You should have a portable phone with emergency numbers and neighborhood watch neighbors phone numbers programmed( a cellular is preferred). Have your address written next to the phone and your house number visibly displayed on your home’s exterior. The room needs an escape route to the outside –such as a window. This is the room in which the family gathers should an intruder break through your exterior security. Practice your routine so all family members know what is expected of them.

Security systems vary in complexity and cost. Carefully consider your needs, obtain several quotes and check each company with the Better Business Bureau. Ask friends who have a system. Make sure the company has a reasonable maintenance policy and have the system checked yearly.

I prefer a system that incorporates both motion detectors and glass breakers, a battery back-up and a system monitor. Your smoke detectors can be monitored as well.

Community Cooperation

The Neighborhood/Block Watch philosophy is simple: watch out for each other. The program begins with a call to the police. All interested neighbors are interviewed and background checked by the police and a coordinator is chosen. An officer with come to a home meeting and offer suggestions such as: Know your niehgbors. Advise them if you will be gone for an extended period of time. Record suspicious occurrences and report them immediately. Assist vacationing neighbors by collecting newspapers, cutting lawns, parking a car in their drive-way, checking doors and windows periodically.

How did you fare? This is your castle. Keep it safe and your moat full.