• Safety is a common concern in real estate.
  • The Des Moines Area Association of Realtors (DMAAR) has developed a program and pledge to protect both agents and their clients during the buying and selling process.
  • The program includes an optional seller/broker contract to only allow homes to be shown to serious sellers.

Working in real estate means interacting with strangers on a semi-regular basis. While this is true for many industries, most careers don’t require the one-on-one interaction — often in someone’s private abode — that real estate involves.

Given the nature of the job, safety is a common concern, which is why the Des Moines Area Association of Realtors (DMAAR) has developed a program and pledge to protect both agents and their clients during the buying and selling process.

These initiatives follow the murder of Ashley Okland, a 27-year old agent, which occurred four years ago at a showing in West Des Moines. The DMAAR hopes their programs will set forth nationwide safety standards that prevent harmful and life-threatening situations for both agents and clients.

3-step program

The DMAAR outlines its safety program in three different steps. The first and second steps are pledges from local real estate companies and agents to work toward safe showing and open house practices.

The third step is an optional contract between sellers and brokers to only allow their home to be shown to people who have been previously identified. Sellers can make rules against allowing strangers in their homes during listing periods, which may diminish the number of leads but should also provide a sense of security during the selling process.

Broker safety pledge

The Realtor Safety Pledge allows agents to commit to safety when conducting business with strangers. The pledge states, “Because I owe it to myself, my family, my colleagues and my clients to implement safe showing practices, I pledge not to show any home to a stranger without first meeting them at the office or a public place and asking them to submit identification.”

imtmphoto / Shutterstock.com

imtmphoto / Shutterstock.com

Listing safety form

Finally, the DMAAR offers an optional Listing Safety Form allowing sellers to demand their homes be shown to previously identified buyers only. Although not required, the DMAAR expects many sellers and agents to adopt the form.

The optional form states, “I hereby request that my property be shown only to prospective buyers who have been properly identified and desire to include the following language on my MLS showing instructions. Seller requests showings only to identified buyers.”

Dylan de Bruin, Chairman of the DMAAR Safety Committee, says, “Iowa is safe and Des Moines is safe; it’s one of the things that makes this a great place to live. However, this is a need that our industry has recognized for some time, and we believe this is the first-in-the-nation effort of this kind. And, like with many good ideas developed here in Iowa, we fully expect the rest of the country to follow suit.”

As of July 17, DMAAR Realtors are asked to sign the optional Realtor Safety Pledge via the website DMAARSafetyPledge.com. Since July 20, all DMAAR brokers have access to the new Listing Safety form, which they can provide to their agents to share with clients

An ongoing campaign to educate Realtors and sellers about program benefits and general safety standards is in action, prompting many Iowa agents to prioritize security over sales.

September is Realtor Safety Month, and the NAR is hosting a Safety Webinar on Sept. 9 to celebrate. Registration for the Safety Summit is free.

Email Jennifer Riner.

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