Real Estate Investing: Staying Safe On The Job
While it may not be a topic most want to discuss, it is irresponsible to ignore the dangers facing those on the front lines of real estate investing. There are accidental dangers and hazards of being on rehab job sites, and just driving and walking neighborhoods. However, there are several more dangers that need to be taken into account. Some appear to be random, others may even be contemplated. Remember, this isn’t meant to scare you. It is simply a reminder to approach situations with caution. Knowledge is the best tool for keeping yourself and your investment safe.
That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t step up to the plate and leverage real estate to change your life for the better. The big question is how to stay safe when out in the field.
Be a Better Real Estate Professional
Remember that many people have their whole lives on the line in a typical real estate transaction. The thought of losing a house can be unbearable to some. Their families are effected when properties need repairs, closings are delayed, and terms are changed on them. All too often, real estate professionals operate and talk in terms of what will get them sued and thrown in jail, or not. Maybe you can legally get away without fixing the AC in the heat of summer. Maybe you can find extra reasons to withhold deposit money after a tenant moves out. Maybe you can keep making up excuses to cover up the fact you or someone else made a mistake, or hadn’t invested enough in education. What happened to putting yourself in the other person’s shoes? What happened to having a little compassion?
You don’t have to be perfect. No one is. People know when they are being duped and treated badly. When it is their family on the line, emotions can boil over very quickly. Try creating a win-win for everyone involved and you can reduce the stress sellers face.
Don’t be tricked into rushing out of your comfort zone. Is a paycheck really worth going to a place you don’t feel comfortable? That said, it’s so easy to screen people today. If you go into tour a mediocre apartment building, you are normally expected to fill out an application and hand over your driver’s license before a rep will take two steps with you, and that’s on their own property, just feet from a dozen other employees and hundreds of neighbors. Realtors and investors shouldn’t think twice about screening and verifying identities of prospects before showing homes or going to listing or viewing appointments. Make sure you know who you are going into business with before meeting them at a property.
Don’t Go Alone
Whenever you can, go as a team. Have a buddy system with another Realtor in your office or a third party professional you use to inspect properties. Real estate investors might find it wiser just to leverage a professional property management company for everyday management and rent collection to remove themselves from the line of fire altogether.
Let People Know Where You Are Going
If you absolutely must go alone to show or view a property, let someone else know where you are going. Let them know who you are going with, and when you should be back. Maybe even arrange for them to call and check in with you during the appointment.
Real estate doesn’t have to be a dangerous career. If you are smart and stay in front of bad situations, you can not only stay safe, but also make some money in the process.