Planning and awareness is vital to keeping property managers safe in the office and on the road according to one digital strategist.
Tara Christianson, who is technology and training director for Century 21 in the US, told the recent Australasian Residential Property Management Conference that many property managers don’t take safety seriously enough.
“One of the reasons for that mentality is because of the fear of missing money, but if you want to beat your competition, you have to be alive to do it,” she said.
“We all get gut instincts, but a lot of the time we don’t pay attention to them because we think it’s nerves or maybe there’s something else going and we’re too distracted to listen to them.”
Ms Christianson also said that some property managers don’t believe they could get into trouble due to overconfidence in themselves and their gadgets.
She advised property managers to pay particular attention to their surroundings in five key situations: when they pull into a property, open their car door, walk to the front door, enter the property and then leave.
According to Ms Christianson, agencies must have office policies, car policies and personal policies to ensure the ongoing safety of staff.
“In terms of an office policy, we’ve heard about the purple folder and red folder, which are keywords and to tip people off,” she said.
“The first time you meet clients, insist that they come to your office. Insist that you get an ID off them so you can scan or photocopy it and have it on file in case something happens.”
Ms Christianson also suggested that property managers bring someone with them to any open homes or vacant properties, particularly at night.
She also advised property managers to take a separate car from potential clients and to take a photo of the other person’s licence plate.
“If that doesn’t work then insist that you get their ID so you can know who’s getting into your car before anything happens,” she said.
Ms Christianson also highlighted various apps that can help keep property managers safe such as Daniel Morcombe Foundation’s Help Me app, Watch Over Me app and Fleetlog.
[Related: Staying safe while working at an unsafe job]