How unsafe is too unsafe? Is it time to forget about door-knocking, or can real estate agents still make it work effectively?

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I recently read an article about the safety of real estate agents and how that fear connects to door-knocking and the idea of a gun behind the door. I have searched in-depth for a statistic where a real estate agent was shot for door-knocking, and nothing is to be found. However, I know personally of an incident where an owner shot and killed an unsuspecting home inspector.

The idea of a Realtor being shot and the incident of the home inspector losing his life was not because of door-knocking in the community as much as it was a family dispute.

With only anecdotes to go by, can you say door-knocking is not safe?

The local sheriff brought the real estate community together to discuss safety and protecting ourselves. Many have decided door-knocking is not for them, and others have followed the advice of being aware and protecting oneself while on the job. Door-knocking is a choice and requires taking precautions for safety. 

Hiding behind technology

We have so much technology out there that many say it isn’t necessary to door-knock, but doesn’t technology keep us behind the scenes in place of being among our community? Have we lost our communities?

Are we losing the days of old in being a part of the community and meeting and greeting each other? I know one real estate team that turned door-knocking into a fact-finding mission in the community and now is the name brand that holds several community events for holidays and even a Strawberry Festival.

They are so well known for their events that people come out to speak with them while walking around the community. 

Door-knocking is not just about a name, but a face and being present and, yes, being a part of the community. I had one door-knocking incident that turned into a long conversation with an elderly person who truly enjoyed the visit and asked me to come back for coffee. In that case, it was about being present and just being there for someone who is otherwise alone. Door-knocking can mean so much more than marketing.

Other door-knocking risks

Does being present come with risks, such as guns? Yes, but there are so many risks other than just guns. I personally have had to jump a fence — thank goodness it was a short fence — from a dog that came screaming from the front door as I entered the walking path.

I have had people watering their lawns and thought how fun it would be to turn the hose on me, all while yelling to get off their property. But in the many years of this, I have learned that when canvasing a neighborhood, it’s best to study the area and know the community.

We all know there are those certain houses that everyone in the neighborhood talks about, and we all avoid, but isn’t that just part of the community and being in the know with your neighbor? 

What about getting out and about around the community to say, “Hello, I’m your local Realtor. Let me know if there is anything I can help you with as I have a list of service people who are always looking for extra work.” Some of our older community members would probably appreciate the help. 

Now let’s compare our door-knocking to religious door-knocking. I read an article about how this old door-knocking method of churchgoers has picked up and some are welcoming them into the neighborhood.

So how is a real estate agent offering tips and assistance different? Seriously, I welcome your thoughts in the comments below. 

Safety first

NAR has put out several statistics about Realtor safety to which we all have access as NAR members. When you visit the site and review the stats, nowhere do I see door-knocking.

But many will agree the showings are pretty scary when we go out on a lead call and meet someone for the first time, with a 41 percent rating in the polls in 2021 and 32 percent at a scheduled showing in the same poll. 

So I ask, is door-knocking so unsafe we should hide behind technology, or maybe should we revisit some of these tried-and-true door-knocking ways?

Wendy Legerton serves San Ramon, California and beyond by referral. Legerton is a retired aerospace defense contractor who worked with the Air Force for 23 years in the missile defense and rocket launch business. Connect with her on Facebook and Linkedin.

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