First and foremost, you should be sensitive to issues regarding your own personal safety. I do not want to frighten you, because millions of real estate agents show houses all the time without incident. They are careful, however, and you should follow their lead.
Think about it. You are making an appointment to meet a complete stranger in an empty house at a date and time of his or her choosing. You do not know how many additional people will be there. Perhaps you did not think to tell anyone where you would be and for how long. Would you let your son, daughter, mother, or sister do this?
Ideally, two of you should be present for all house showings. You should confirm the potential buyer’s identity in some manner before meeting him or her at the house, ask for a work number and call him or her at work, for example. Never rely on simply a cell phone number for contact information.
If you will have another person accompany you to the showing, be sure to tell the prospect that information. It may encourage him or her to cancel if he or she was intending to do something sinister. Before leaving for your appointment, tell someone where you are going, how long you expect to be gone, who you are meeting, and the prospect’s contact information. Wear flat shoes in case you need to run, and carry something that is legal in your state to protect yourself, such as pepper spray.
When you meet the prospect, make a point of calling someone from your cell phone. Apologize to the prospect for the phone call, but say, “I am required to check in at the beginning of each tour, and again at the end.”
If you are careful and sensible, you can avoid becoming a tragic story on the evening news. Again, I cannot stress too much that millions of agents show homes every day, without incident. Some do get robbed, though, and some suffer far worse.