Safety Concerns And How Recent Events Are Changing How I Do Business

Safety Concerns And How Recent Events Are Changing How I Do Business

So I have been in real estate sales for 4.5 years!! Crazy…time has flown by and in this time I have completely changed how I interact with new clients in the last 6 months.

A few months ago the cruel murder of Beverly Carter, the Arkansas real estate agent scared me. I, like so many other real estate agents thought, “That could have been me.” And that is a scary thought…but it could have been.

I can’t tell you how many times I have met complete strangers in homes…empty homes. I shake my head as I type this. Foolish. I have not done this now for months.

Meeting complete strangers at homes is scary!! And since the murder of Beverly Carter I have not met new clients in homes unless I meet them first in a public place. I usually meet people either at a local coffee shop or at my Pelham, New York office.  

Don’t get me wrong I have always told people where I will be. I put my appointments on a calendar with the client’s name and contact info for my husband to see.

I also Google people. HAHA. Typing this up I feel it is silly because sometimes I find the people and sometimes I don’t. And regardless of what I find I have never changed my mind about taking a client on. 

What I Do Now

For months now I keep my initial phone conversations short and to the point. I just want to get a broad picture of what a potential buyer is looking for in a home or what a seller’s home is like. The objective of that call is to schedule an appointment in a nice relaxing comfortable place.

To my surprise I have not really had any trouble with this new strategy. I even tell people I don’t meet strangers in homes due to safety reasons and I tell them we need to sit down anyways to ensure we get on the same page. I tell them one of three things will happen after the appointment.

  1. Both of us will want to work together, which will require an exclusive agreement with them and me.

  2. They will want to work with me but I will not want to work with them…and the reason is typically I don’t feel I am the right agent for them. I tell them if that happens I will refer them out to someone in my office who’s specialty is aligned more towards their real estate goals.

  3. And lastly, on occasion, I will want to work with a new client but the new client does not want to partner up with me. And if that happens I will try to refer them to someone in my office but if that does not work I’ll kindly and professionally wish the person well.

I feel like I am part of a growing trend amongst real estate professionals. I have spoken to some other agents that are either doing what I am doing or thinking about doing what I am doing. Having this initial consultation is smart. It is smart for the new client and for the agent. It gives both parties’ the opportunity to vent one another.

Something I feel I should be doing but don’t

There are other things I should be doing…but I don’t. I wonder if others are doing this…

For instance, looking at or checking a new client’s identification.

But if checking identification enough or appropriate…I think it is. I actually used to work in Alabama as a leasing consultant for an apartment community and we always used to collect a new client’s identification and make a copy of it as we sat down with the new client for about 20 minutes consulting with them.

And I have never done this since doing real estate in New York. I think about this all the time. Why isn’t this done? Why isn’t this the norm? Why isn’t this required? I just don’t know.

A second thing I have been doing more aggressively and consistently is to ask potential buyers for a pre-approval. I even call and meet mortgage professionals for coffee more now or at least call and speak to them about the pre-approval I receive.

Now I think people who don’t want to sit down with me for an initial consultation or provide a pre-approval before showings starts is not worth my time. I know….harsh….right? Well, no…not really.  This is what I do and this is what works for me. This is how I want to run my business. And it does not matter if you are a new unknown lead or a referral.

This New Standard Of Mine Is For Everyone’s Good

If you are a seller, I am sure you would be thankful to an agent that vents a potential buyer prior to booking an appointment, right?

If you a buyer, I am sure you want to be comfortable with the agent you hire to help you purchase such a large investment, right?

And as an agent, I want to know I am working with someone who is motivated to either sell or buy. And if an initial consultation is turned down that is a red flag for me now. And for working with buyers I want to know the buyer is ready, willing and able.

In conclusion

Physical harm as a real estate agent is possible, as seen with Beverly Carter, and I am trying to do what I can to ensure my safety, which in the end I feel benefits all parties.  And I appreciate new clients who understand and agree to meet and provide me with documentation I ask for during this meeting.


Valerie Martinez-Friedberg Headshot
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Phone: 914-839-0459
Dated: February 1st 2015
Views: 1,503
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