Forewarn is an agent safety app that provides immediate background checks for showing prospects when you provide their phone number.
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Forewarn is an agent safety app that provides immediate background checks for showing prospects.
Platforms: iOS, Browser and Android
Ideal for: Any agent who shows homes, specifically agents who work heavily with online lead sources or unrepresented buyers.
Top selling points
- Easy to use
- Available for all mobile operating systems
- Quick reporting
- First-adopter cache
Agents may forget or grow complacent with its use, which happens often with apps. The company also reports that it can only accurately track 80 percent of all prospective buyers.
What you should know
Forewarn is a very easy-to-use app. (And it has a super cool name.)
Entering a phone number into the interface produces a categorized report of the person associated with that number.
Users can review the person’s property ownership history, tenure with that particular phone number, vehicle ownership history and, of course, any criminal history, from violent felonies and sex offenses to drug busts and misdemeanors.
The highest and best use of the app is for pre-showing due diligence with new and unrepresented buyer leads.
Instead of ending up at a property and relying on an emergency alert app, self defense skills, mace or something larger and louder, Forewarn is designed to prevent its user from ever visiting the listing in question should the person waiting not be there with the same intentions.
I can relate well to the value of this approach. In outdoor education and wilderness travel, risk management practices are focused on preventing a problem from ever occurring, as opposed to managing a situation that’s already gone bad.
Forewarn’s parent company, data aggregator Cogint Technology, conducted research that showed 40-50 percent of agents show homes to unrepresented buyers. The scary reality is that agents take a lot of risk showing homes, more often than they probably should.
The very tragic case of the murder of Beverly Carter should have brokers thinking seriously about how to offer more training and insight on showing safety.
The company also believes that real estate agents, like banks and law enforcement, should have a higher level of access to personal data. After all, the entire industry is based on a sales process that involves its licensed practitioners being alone with relative strangers in unfamiliar places.
It is by no means only the responsibility of a broker to offer safety measures, and Forewarn representatives stressed to me that their app is merely another tool agents should consider using to protect themselves, along with street smarts and a lot of questions.
The company also shared with me research demonstrating that 50 percent of all violent offenders have a record of other crimes, meaning that their criminal records are available, and would be reported by the app.
From a purely technical standpoint, Forewarn appears simple to use, boasting a clear, single-column user interface free of distractions like in-app purchase banners or other visual hindrances.
Not taking anything away from what the app offers, I think some additional features could create even more value.
For example, the ability to auto-run its research on current contacts every few weeks, like a credit check. And maybe a rating system of sorts to help users judge if a pot bust 20 years ago (assuming its on the record) is worth not taking the meeting.
Granted, always err on the side of caution, and do your best to know all you can about a person before showing property.
Have a technology product you would like to discuss? Email Craig Rowe.