‘The Prepared Agent’ workshop teaches real estate agents how to stay safe on the job

Virginia Beach

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — It’s been almost three months since a local real estate agent was killed on the job in Portsmouth.

The tragedy motivated two local experts to take action. Now, they’re on a mission to keep other agents safe.

Their new workshop is called “The Prepared Agent.” However, it’s not a traditional self-defense class. It’s about being aware of your surroundings, thinking about safety, and taking steps that could save your life.

“There hasn’t been a year that I’ve been in real estate that I haven’t heard of somebody losing their life, unfortunately,” said Tomasina Tatterson, a real estate broker with Keller Williams Realty.

It’s a reality for real estate agents: a business that’s often glamorized can also be dangerous.

“In the beginning, you don’t want to think that it’s something bad, so you’re like, oh I wonder who is trying to get in,” said Tatterson. “Is it the inspector? Is it someone coming to clean the home? But then you realize that it’s not and that’s when your heart drops to your feet and in that split second, every emotion you could possibly think of goes through your body.”

Tatterson has been in real estate for more than 15 years. She says she barely took steps to protect herself until she met local self-defense expert Hank Hayes.

“These real estate agents, they are going into harm’s way,” said Hank Hayes, who owns Intuitive Self-Protection in Virginia Beach. “So they need to be armed with the right way to think about it, with the tools to put together a strategy and then be able to learn to execute that strategy.”

Hayes learned about the dangers of real estate through Bill Crespo, who came to him eight months ago to improve his own personal safety.

Now, they are on a joint mission.

“We’re in a business where we want to be really liked, and being really liked is causing some things to go wrong for these real estate people,” said Bill Crespo, who owns Path2PRO Coaching for real estate agents.

Together, Crespo and Hayes are developing training for these agents to protect themselves.

“This is about situational awareness, know how to talk, ask questions,” said Crespo.

Last month, they hosted a workshop in Virginia Beach called “The Prepared Agent.”

Hayes said, “I’ve had the distinct pleasure and honor to train DEA agents, FBI agents, fugitive recovery agents, but never real estate agents.”

They worked with a packed room of real estate agents to talk about strategies, safety and situational awareness.

“If you can change your mindset and make a decision to do something different, you can make the rest of your life from today the best of your life,” added Hayes.

The class started with conversation clues.

Crespo said, “How aware are you of that person that you’re talking to on the phone? Because remember we don’t see that person sometimes and they want to go straight to a home?”

The class then moved to topics like where you should stand in a home.

“If you’re in a house that’s vacant and you’re in a room that’s isolated, you are in a kill box,” said Hayes. “And, you are in a secondary location, which is a bad guy’s dream.”

They also talked about tools you can use, like a Taser, but emphasized those tools require training.

“Know that you will not be successful in a vacuum,” said Hayes. “Action needs to be taken but the first action is realizing that there’s a problem, I’m in that problem, but I need to do something. I need to flip the switch and take ownership of my safety.”

Taking ownership is what Tatterson hopes her fellow agents will do, to keep themselves safe.

“The biggest piece of real estate that they own and need to protect is themselves and I hope they walk away knowing that,” she said.

According to the National Association of Realtors, 72% of real estate agents have a safety plan in place. Hayes and Crespo want to see that number become 100%.

You can find more information on The Prepared Agent by clicking here.

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