Dangerous situations don't only present themselves in person. Criminals can determine whether you're a good target by finding out about you on your social profiles. Here's what to be careful sharing online.
BY JOHN GRADEN
Social media has changed the landscape for everyone. For you, it's made it easier to target clients. And for criminals, it's made it easier to target you.
Any bad guy you would potentially deal with before, during, and after a showing is playing a role. He's pretending to be someone you, the victim, can trust. From the time he first contacts you, he will stay in character until he either executes his plan or bails out. Pulling off that charade is a whole lot easier with free and easy tools online that he can use to create an identity and follow your trail.
On Facebook and other social media platforms, a criminal may be able to find out what college you attended, what sports teams you like, how many kids you have, and where you like to vacation. He can even see highly detailed images of where you work, live, and the place where he is going to meet you for a showing.
A criminal's ability to "pull off his role" is magnified because it's much easier to create rapport with target audiences online than ever before. As convenient as the cyber world has made doing business for the good guys, it's made it a whole lot easier for bad guys, too.
Remember that online communities are comprised of three groups of users: the safest third, the not-so-safe middle third, and the highly dangerous bottom third. When it comes to the highly dangerous bottom third, some are transparent in their aggressive hostility and easy to see and avoid. However, it's the more cunning psychopath that is more difficult to recognize because he is an expert at playing the good guy and gaining favor.
Here are some tips to make it more difficult for bad guys to target you online.
No matter how well you think you know the prospect you’re meeting, follow these guidelines when taking them to a property.
BY JOHN GRADEN
A lot has been said of the practice of meeting strangers at homes, and it’s true that it’s not the smartest way to operate. But it’s been a part of the real estate industry for a long time, and it’s not going to change overnight. So for agents who will still do it, your office may have a certain protocol around safety, but this list can be your Agent Safety Protocol, or ASP, to administer in the field. It’s based on measures developed by people who have experience working in law enforcement.
Before the Appointment
When you’re on the phone setting up an appointment to meet a prospect at a home, tell the prospect that you’ll be arriving with a partner. Whether it’s true or not, this statement plants the seed that there will be more than one person present—and that’s not good news for a criminal.
Arrive at the appointment early, before your client has arrived, and make sure to
Open the windows. If you find yourself needing to make a fast escape but you’re not near a door, a window may be your only exit.
Unlock all doors. You lose precious time if you have to fiddle with locks to get out.
Open the lockbox. The point here is to retrieve the key before your prospect shows up. That way, you won’t have to turn your back to him or her to get the key out.
Wait in your car with the doors locked. The danger here is that your car confines you into a small space, but in some cases, the weather dictates that you take shelter. Waiting in the car is still much safer than waiting in the property.
Send a text to your office. Alert someone to where you are and all of the information you have on the prospect. If you need help, that person will know pertinent information to give authorities.
Keep your head up. Always be aware of your surroundings. Surprise attacks when you’re caught off guard make you more vulnerable.
- At 35 percent, buyers 35 years and younger continue to be the largest generational group of home buyers with a median age of 30 years old.
- First-time buyers made up 32 percent of all home buyers, down from 33 percent last year.
- Sixty-seven percent of buyers 35 years and younger were first-time buyers, followed by buyers 36 to 50 years at 26 percent.
- The most common type of home purchased continues to be the detached single-family home, which made up 83 percent of all homes purchased.
- Eighty-nine percent of Millennials, 87 percent of Gen X buyers, and 85 percent of Younger Boomers purchased their home through an agent.
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