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Real estate viewing safety precautions for clients and agents

RE/MAX Southern Africa shares safety tips for real estate agents and clients when house viewings are in progress.

Real estate ventures involve various interactions, often with unfamiliar individuals and in diverse locations, making it essential to implement robust safety precautions.

There are also large sums of money involved in these transactions, which makes it even more important to properly vet all parties involved. By keeping best practices in mind, everyone can remain safe, from the client through to the agent.

Adrian Goslett, regional director and CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa notes that in recent years, the real estate industry has witnessed an increase in potential risks and possible scams associated with property transactions. “From open houses to property showings, the need to establish a secure environment for both clients and agents has become paramount,” he notes.

To help keep everyone safe, RE/MAX of Southern Africa shares the top three safety habits to employ in every real estate transaction.

1. Screen all parties.

You can never be too careful when it comes to vetting anyone and everyone who is involved in the transaction – real estate agents included. Ask your chosen real estate professional to show you that they have a valid FFC, which licenses them to work in the industry.

It can also be worthwhile to look them up on social media to confirm that they are who they claim to be. As a final precaution, it is also a good habit to make sure that your chosen agent does appear on their affiliated real estate brand’s official website.

Similarly, agents will also screen clients to protect themselves and their clients against theft, fraud and criminal behaviour. To do so, they can request a copy of your ID and a pre-approval certificate to show that you can qualify for the required home financing.

2. Be vigilant at viewing appointments.

Agents should never allow access to your property without a representative present. For their own safety, an agent should also partner with a colleague or share their live location with a friend or colleague.

It is also best practice for the agent to walk behind the client and stay toward the door. Both the homeowner and the agent should double-check the premises at the end of an open house to make sure no windows were jammed open or security features were tempered with.

Before any viewings, sellers are advised to lock away valuables and any personal items, such as letters or bank statements, to avoid any chances of identity theft. Remove any personal photos, especially of children to avoid targeted kidnappings.

3. Verify all banking details.

Before making a payment into any account, you must verify that the money is going into the correct account. Typically, all money payable during the transfer process should be paid into the transferring attorney’s account.

They will then handle the payments of the agent’s commission and transfer duty fees, etc. Make certain that you are dealing with a legitimate attorney firm before going ahead with any payments; look them up online and visit their offices if you can verify that they are who they claim to be.

“Buying or selling a property is an exciting endeavour; however, amidst the thrill of it all, there are very real risks involved. These risks can be avoided by keeping in mind and following best practices around safety precautions.

Not only will these precautions safeguard the well-being of clients and agents alike, but they will also ensure that every property transaction is both successful and secure,” Goslett concludes.

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