Nothing pleases us more than to see the economy of Southwest Florida cooking on all four burners again. From retail and manufacturing to tourism and home sales, 2014 has been an exceptional year for each of the region’s major economic drivers. Moreover, we suspect the sizzle will only intensify as another season of bitter cold and snow—amid drastically lowering gas prices and rising consumer confidence—conspire to bring winter-weary visitors here again in record numbers.
Personal Safety and Security
As our busiest season for home buying approaches, the agents of Michael Saunders & Company look forward to helping you claim your place in the Florida sun; and thus dig out once and for all from winter’s nastier surprises. That being said, events of the recent past have provided a sobering reminder that real estate agents everywhere must begin the New Year by rededicating themselves to matters of personal safety and security during the daily discharge of their duties.
REALTORS® typically earn their living working solo, often escorting people they’ve only just met through properties that are vacant or temporarily unoccupied—and frequently on a moment’s notice. Unfortunately, such circumstances often set them up as targets for criminal activity. This past summer, for example, an agent in Arkansas was reported missing after showing a rural home to someone whom hindsight shows had no intention of buying. Days later, after she was found murdered, her accused killer freely admitted that he seized on the opportunity to attack the woman because he had no doubt she would be alone.
As season approaches and our market continues to attract buyers from all over the world, we have made refresher safety training a number one priority for each of our more than 600 agents. Please help us succeed in this important endeavor by doing your part.
If you are already personally acquainted with your MS&C agent you will likely never notice the common sense precautions he or she is being strongly encouraged to take before engaging new customers for the first time.
On the other hand, if you are meeting your agent for the first time, you may be asked to rendezvous at the agent’s branch office in advance of your first round of property showings. Before leaving on your appointments you will be requested to submit identification in the form of a driver’s license, passport or some other official form of photo I.D. The make and model of your automobile, plus its license plate number will also be requested and verified.
Solo agents are being strongly discouraged from meeting new clients for the first time at a property of interest; or at any other location far removed from the public eye. They are also being advised to alert someone in their office where they are going, when they expect to return; and to not show properties after dark unless there is a very good reason for doing so and a strong level of familiarity with both the buyer and seller.
We believe these to be prudent and potentially life-saving requests for information that any serious, well-intentioned buyer will be all-too-happy to comply with. Such renewed emphasis on safety, however, is also calibrated to provide sellers with an extra measure of security by knowing that our agents are diligently verifying the identity of buyers before they preview your home.
What You Can Do
If you are thinking of selling your home, safety should be as much a priority as price in your discussions with prospective listing agents. There are a number of safety tips your agent should discuss that will help prevent crimes of opportunity from occurring during a routine showing. These include—but are certainly not limited to—stowing your valuables securely for the duration of the listing period; and removing all prescription drugs from your medicine chest before each showing.
At Michael Saunders & Company, our passion for delivering the best possible real estate experience starts with the basics. By keeping you, your family, home and agent safe we all succeed.