REALTOR® Safety When Meeting Strangers: 12 Tips

It’s unfortunate, but as a real estate professional you put yourself at risk when you meet someone for the first time. That’s why you should always meet a new customer at the office, not at the property. It’s also why you should let someone in your office know where you’re going, with whom, and when you plan to return.

These are basic safety tips and there are plenty of resources for you to become your own best safety advocate at You’ll find pages of resources, including safety apps you can add to your phone. Did you know there is also GPS-enabled jewelry? This is a discrete way for you to let someone know exactly where you are without you having to make a call. If you find yourself in a threatening situation, it could make a difference in the outcome.

For 2015, NAR President Chris Polychron has made safety a priority. Look for more on safety in the months ahead. And, of course, every September is REALTOR® Safety Month.

To help you right now, REALTOR® Magazine has produced a short video that walks you through 12 steps you can take to reduce the chance of something bad happening to you when you meet a new customer.

To be sure, the vast majority of people you meet just want to look at a home. But for that one exception, when a stranger’s intent is something else, you’ll want to be armed with a few things that can help you out. The video is intended to be a place to start.

Watch it on REALTOR Magazine’s YouTube page.

NAR safety resources.

More safety coverage.

Robert Freedman

Robert Freedman is director of multimedia communications for the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®. He can be reached at

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  1. Last night I received a late evening call from a male potential client. He asked to meet me at a home that was across the street from one of my listings. I stated he owned the home through an investment company and wanted me to list his property. He stated he had just flown in from Russia to liquidate several of the investment company’s properties and gave me his name. He seem to know quite a lot about real estate and I asked if he was an agent or broker. He answered no. The call made me feel a little uneasy so, I researched the firm, with no results about the LLC and his name and a photo did come up as an agent in North Carolina. This morning I text the phone number he provided and requested he scan or text me a photo of a photo ID per my Brokerage policy prior to our meeting this afternoon. At 10:32 a.m., I was in a Closing so, my assistant answered the phone and a female caller stated the male client was out of town so, they had to cancel the appointment at 1 p.m…when asked her name the caller hung up. I’m OK with losing the listing if they do not provide the photo ID.
    Thank you for your article.

  2. Thank you for this good information, I will pass this on to my Realtor friends.

  3. Never show ANY homes to someone not pre-qualified and identified.

    Know WHO they are first, and have agents check-in during showings.
    Would you meet a stranger from a phone call in an empty house alone?
    You wouldn’t do that in your personal life, DO NOT DO IT IN BUSINESS!

  4. Ask questions and verify information prior to meeting using Google, FB, LinkedIn, etc. Request to see a mortgage pre-approval. Offices are often empty on weekends and without admin staff; meet at a public place where you can excuse yourself if you are not comfortable. Try to hold off on showing appointments until you have met; most people don’t wake up, see a house online and buy it that day; it is a process. Most important, if it doesn’t feel right don’t do it. Follow your gut!

  5. Stacey McCarthy

    Great advice hopefully taken by ALL agents.

    The only thing I would have changed about the video is that it features a female agent meeting the “stranger” and I would have also showcased a male agent. If male agents keep feeling that these safety tips are just for women, based on the imagery, then it makes it harder for women to heed your sensible advice. The undue competitiveness in this industry between male agents who feel able to run and show as a competitive advantage handicaps women using safety sensibilities. And this disproportionate competitiveness keeps breeding the Realtor culture of putting strangers requests over our own safety.

  6. Thanks !! Good information.

  7. Very nice article, it’s always crucial to have a plan when meeting any new potential buyers and sellers. Now days, you never know what will happen. I also recommend this article for more information: