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Karen Trolan demonstrates a move that can knock down an assailant.

Karen Trolan demonstrates a move that can knock down an assailant.

At “REALTORS® Training REALTORS®,” a free safety and self-defense training class offered by SILVAR last Friday at the Pacific Coast Academy in Los Gatos, REALTORS® trained in martial arts taught 28 real estate professionals risk awareness, safety tips, and how to protect themselves in a hostile situation.

The instructors were Laura Welch (Century 21 M&M), a jujitsu 7th degree black belt and judo 3rd degree black belt and director of Jujitsu America; Carla Bunch, (Marbella Properties), a jujitsu 5th degree black belt; and SILVAR President-elect Karen Trolan (Alain Pinel Realtors) taekwondo 2nd degree black belt, kenpo jujitsu first degree black belt, jujitsu first degree brown belt, and Shinkendo. The class was sponsored by the Jujitsu Academy.

Trolan and her colleagues were inspired to put the course together because REALTORS® are at risk every day as they meet different people. “In the last decade, hundreds of real estate professionals throughout the country have been murdered, violently assaulted, raped, beaten and robbed,” said Trolan. “Agents can be in potentially dangerous situations, but usually you can avoid becoming a victim by being aware and prepared. All REALTORS® should learn at least basic safety and self-defense techniques.”

During the class, the real estate professionals learned how to get out of dangerous situations, different ways they can hit an assailant, what can be used to defend themselves against an attack from an assailant, and ways to get out of common holds or attacks. These agents were also provided numerous safety tips and ways to be aware.

“It was great to have women, for their first time, learning how to be aware and protect themselves. The group had fun and took away good practice in these basics,” said Trolan.

Studies show 80 percent of women who fought back in an attack situation have gotten away. “We all need to be prepared, follow general safety tips, like being aware of your surroundings, knowing some self-defense moves, and taking personal security precautions,” said Trolan.

REVIEW REALTOR® SAFETY TIPS AND SIGN UP FOR APRIL 21 REALTOR® SAFETY WEBINAR HERE

Real estate professionals practice some self-defense moves.

Real estate professionals practice some self-defense moves.

REALTORSafety2011

One of the most common reasons that people find themselves in dangerous situations is that they weren’t paying attention. Take a few precious seconds during the course of your day to assess your surroundings.

Take 2 seconds when you arrive at your destination.
• Is there any questionable activity in the area?
• Are you parked in a well-lit, visible location?
• Can you be blocked in the driveway by a prospect’s vehicle?

Take 2 seconds after you step out of your car.
• Are there suspicious people around?
• Do you know exactly where you’re going?

Take 2 seconds as you walk towards your destination.
• Are people coming and going or is the area unusually quiet?
• Do you observe any obstacles or hiding places in the parking lot or along the street?
• Is anyone loitering in the area?

Take 2 seconds at the door.
• Do you have an uneasy feeling as you’re walking in?
• Is someone following you in?

Take 2 seconds as soon as you enter your destination.
• Does anything seem out of place?
• Is anyone present who shouldn’t be there or who isn’t expected?

Safety in Just 10 Seconds
It takes just 10 seconds to scope out your surroundings and spot and avoid danger. Make this “10-second scan” a habit in your everyday work as a real estate professional. Then share it with someone else.

(Source: “What You Can Do About Safety,” REALTOR® Magazine, September 2000. Courtesy Night Owl/Vector Security, Landover, MD.) This article is part of the National Association of REALTORS®’ REALTOR® Safety Resources Kit.

The National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) has announced that the new .REALTOR® top-level domain will be available October 23, 2014 to members of NAR and the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA).

With the Internet undergoing vast changes, the creation of over 1,900 new top-level domains, and with nine out of 10 recent buyers beginning their home search online, it has become even more critical for REALTORS® to create a branded space online. The .REALTOR® domain will help REALTORS® stand apart from other real estate professionals, creating a more positive online experience for consumers who are searching for information on buying or selling property. Having a .REALTOR® domain will inform consumers that they are working with a REALTOR®, a trusted real estate professional who subscribes to NAR’s strict Code of Ethics.

The top-level domain will be made available only to real estate professionals who are REALTORS®, members of NAR or CREA. The domain will also be made available to state and local REALTOR® associations, association multiple listing services, affiliated institutes, societies and councils and NAR strategic business partners.

Starting October 23, members will be able to go to http://www.claim.REALTOR to claim their .REALTOR® domain. NAR will provide the first 500,000 members NAR and 10,000 CREA who register for a .REALTOR® domain with a free one-year license. For more information, visit http://www.about.REALTOR.

Mobile technology, the Internet, and social media tools have transformed the home buying process and the way REALTORS® and their clients do business, but these tools still can’t discount the value REALTORS® bring to a transaction.

Findings from the California Association of REALTORS®’ “2014 Survey of California Home Buyers” show 91 percent of those surveyed said they used a mobile device to access the Internet during the course of their home purchase. Buyers used their mobile devices to look for comparable home prices (78 percent), search for homes (45 percent), and take photos of neighborhoods, homes, and amenities (43 percent).

David Tonna, president of the Silicon Valley Association of REALTORS®, says due to advances in mobile technology, most buyers and sellers expect instant response from their agent, preferring to communicate by email and even text messaging. “No other form of communication puts us in constant contact with each other,” says Tonna.

According to the National Association of REALTORS®, 94 percent of REALTORS® nationwide now use mobile devices to communicate with clients. REALTORS® spend a median 44 percent of their time corresponding with, or doing work for their clients via their mobile devices.

Additionally, more than three-fourths of home buyers used social media in their home search, up from 52 percent who used it in 2011. Buyers said they primarily used social media to obtain buying tips and suggestions from friends (44 percent), neighborhood information (44 percent), and to view their agents’ Facebook pages (42 percent). The survey indicates with the increased use of social media, fewer buyers “Googled” their agent (50 percent in 2014, down from 68 percent in 2013), turning to agents’ Facebook pages instead.

REALTORS® see the importance of maintaining an Internet presence and using the new technologies to meet their clients’ needs, but also place focus on forging a personal relationship with their clients. “While using mobile technology to respond to clients, it should never take the place of being personally accessible to your client. A strong, personal relationship is still at the heart of every business,” says Tonna.

Tonna adds, “REALTORS® know their market and are experienced in handling the particular needs of home buyers. A REALTOR® can provide you with invaluable help in identifying homes and neighborhoods, negotiating for the best deal, coordinating the multitude of steps between contract acceptance and close of the transaction.”

Buyers, too, need to be aware that all real estate licensees are not the same. Only real estate licensees who are members of the National Association of REALTORS® are properly called REALTORS®. REALTORS® are committed to treat all parties to a transaction honestly. REALTORS® subscribe to a strict code of ethics and are expected to maintain a higher level of knowledge of the process of buying and selling real estate than other real estate licensees.

The U.S. Census Bureau reports more Americans chose to buy a home during the third quarter of 2011. Home ownership jumped to 66.3 percent during that period, up from the 13-year low of 65.9 percent from the previous quarter, according to the bureau’s report.

“Housing affordability has been at a record high this year,” says Gene Lentz, president of the Silicon Valley Association of REALTORS®. “This is a golden opportunity for people with secure jobs and good credit who want to achieve the American dream of homeownership.”

“Whether somebody is buying or selling a home, finding a good REALTOR® and understanding his or her role should be the first step in what could be the most important transaction in a lifetime,” adds Lentz.

Lentz notes that not all real estate agents or brokers are REALTORS®. A REALTOR® is a licensed real estate agent or broker who is a member of National Association of REALTORS®, the world’s largest professional trade association. The “REALTOR®” designation is used by real estate agents and brokers who must adhere to a strict Code of Ethics and actively pursue continuing education to increase their professionalism and skill. The Code of Ethics sets REALTORS® apart from other real estate licensees and protects all parties to the real estate transaction, not just a REALTOR®’s client. If a local Association of REALTORS® finds a REALTOR® in violation of the Code of Ethics, disciplinary action can be imposed.

REALTORS® must complete ethics training by taking at least 2.5 hours of instruction at least once every four years to keep membership in NAR. For a REALTOR®, living with the Code of Ethics means being honest and dependable, never putting your interests ahead of your client’s, and speaking the truth to all parties.

When evaluating a potential real estate agent, there are certain questions you should ask. First, ask whether the agent is a REALTOR®. Then ask the following questions:

  • Does the agent have an active real estate license in good standing? To find this information, you can check with your state’s governing agency.
  • Does the agent belong to the Multiple Listing Service? Multiple Listing Services are cooperative information networks of REALTORS® that provide descriptions of most of the houses for sale in a particular region.
  • Is real estate their full-time career?
  • What real estate designations does the agent hold?
  • Which party is he or she representing–you or the seller? This discussion is supposed to occur early on, at “first serious contact” with you. The agent should discuss your state’s particular definitions of agency, so you’ll know where you stand.
  • In exchange for your commitment, how will the agent help you accomplish your goals? How will the agent show you homes that meet your requirements and provide you with a list of the properties he or she is showing you?

Visit the Silicon Valley Association of REALTORS® website at www.silvar.org for a list of REALTORS® by location.

 

 

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