Ohio Safety Series: Fight or flight…consider the best response to a physical attack

think safetyOver the past 10-plus years hundreds of real estate professionals throughout the country have been murdered, violently assaulted, raped, beaten and robbed in the workplace. In fact, tragedy hit close to home four years ago when two of our own — Vivian Martin and Andrew VonStein — were killed in separate incidents on back-to-back days when showing vacant homes. More recently, the industry was shocked by the tragic, unfortunate murder of an Arkansas REALTOR who was similarly killed doing what a real estate professional does — simply showing a home. These incidents illustrate the importance of taking safety precautions in your daily activities. Our Ohio Safety Series is an ongoing effort to provide you with insights to ensure the safety of you and your clients. 


If you were to find yourself alone in a property with a client who indicated they wanted to harm you or rob you, what would you do? Would you put up a fight or try to escape.

It isn’t pleasant to think about, but it’s important to know the facts. Experts agree that when escape is an option, that is the route you should take. Remember, your primary goal in any incident is to escape from the danger and call for help.

When faced with menacing behavior, you should first try to find a discreet way of removing yourself from the situation. Try to avoid triggering the emotion a predator might use to justify an attack. For example, you can say that you need to step outside to make a phone call and then don’t come back inside.

If an attack does occur, trust yourself and stay as calm as possible. Think rationally and evaluate your options. There is no single right way to respond to a confrontation, because each situation is different. Your response should depend on the circumstances: the location of the attack, your personal resources, and the characteristics of your assailant and the presence of weapons. There are many strategies that are effective, but you must rely on your own judgment to choose the best one.

No resistance: Not resisting can be the proper choice in a given situation. An attacker with a gun or a knife may put you in a situation were you think it is safer to do what he or she says. If someone tries to rob you, give up your property, not your life.

Stalling for time: Appear to go along with the attacker. This might give you time to assess the situation. When his guard is down, try to escape.

Distraction and then flight: Obviously you should try to get away, but whether you can depends on many things, including your shoes and clothing, physical stamina, the terrain and your proximity to the attacker.

Verbal assertiveness: If someone is coming toward you, hold out your hands in front of you and yell “Stop!” or “Stay back!” Criminal have been known to leave a victim alone if he or she yelled or showed that he or she was not afraid to fight back.

Physical resistance: If you decide to respond physically, remember that your first response should be to flee the area or the the home. Act quickly and decisively to throw the attacker off guard while you get away. Your personal safety is your first priority. Property can be replaced, but the value of your life and health is beyond measure. Also, you should familiarize yourself with state law concerning self-defense, including the issue of what is proper and improper use of force to defend yourself during an attack.

Observation: Be sure to make an effort to get an accurate description of your attacker. Even the smallest details may give authorities a clue to finding the suspect.

Republished with permission, Columbus REALTORS, In Contract, September/October 2015

Tags: Ohio Safety Series, safety

Community Service Spotlight: Akron Cleveland Association of REALTORS

The Ohio Association of REALTORS Communications Committee Chair Anjanette Frye (left) and Vice Chair Rick DeLuca (right) present the organization’s 2015 Certificate of Merit to Sally Johnson, president of the Akron Cleveland Association, during the Board of Directors meeting at the OAR Annual Convention & Expo, Sept. 22, in Columbus.


The Akron Cleveland Association of REALTORS was honored with a 2015 OAR Certificate of Merit for its involvement in a number of local community service projects over the past year, including volunteering at Rebuilding Together Northeast Ohio (serving both Cuyahoga and Summit counties), Akron Canton Food Bank and Greater Cleveland Food Bank. Additionally, contributions from its foundation, Real Estate Community Cares, throughout the year totaled $6,000, notes ACAR Committee Chair Roger Casale.

ACAR on the immediate results of the project: In July 2015, REALTOR volunteers worked at the home of a Vietnam veteran, repainting the foundation and porch, rebuilding crumbling exit stairs, cleared the yard of overgrown trees and bushes, installed a United States flag and planted flowers.

Several volunteer shifts at the local food banks resulted in more than 8,200 meals being provided to families in need. ACAR also conducted two food drives resulting in the collection of 540 pounds of food and other items to serve 425 additional families in need.

ACAR on the project’s long-range goal: ACAR is committed to Rebuilding Together’s long-range goals to keep elderly, disabled and veteran homeowners in their homes — making them warm, safe and dry. The program also improves property values.

ACAR is committed to the food banks because families no longer visit “emergency food” sources for temporary relief, but rely on food pantries as a supplemental food source. Seniors, who are so often limited by fixed or no incomes are shown to be among the most consistent pantry clients.

Tags: Association news

Ohio Market Watch: First-time home buyer interest increases slightly

By Greg Stitz, OAR Director of Research

More than half (57 percent) of the respondents to OAR’s most recent Ohio REALTOR Housing Confidence survey indicate they have observed an increase in interest in first-time home buyers purchasing their first home. This is an increase of seven percent from the 50 percent indicating so when the same question was asked in September 2014. This year 24 percent of Ohio REALTORS notice no change in interest compared to 36 percent last year.

Survey results are based on responses to a monthly survey, designed to capture the effects of the existing economic conditions and trends on the real estate industry, sent to a pool of 1,500 OAR participants. Click here to participate in future OAR Housing Confidence Surveys. 

Tags: Ohio Market Watch, research

Act now…Today is the deadline to register to vote

By Paul Glass, OAR Director of Political Affairs

An urgent reminder that today — Oct. 5 — is the deadline to register to vote in the Nov. 3rd election. Absentee voting begins tomorrow.

You must either return an Ohio voter registration form to a Board of Election or get it postmarked today.

Questions about voter registration? Click here to….

This year’s ballot includes:

  • Three statewide issues — including (1) implementing a new process to determine how Ohio’s election maps are drawn, (2) a effort to prevent ballot initiatives from benefiting monopoly interests, and (3) legalization of marijuana.
  • Local races and issues.

Click here to access MyOhioVote.com, which offers complete details on voting in the 2016 General Election.

Tags: politics

Will the new mortgage disclosures delay closings?

By Peg Ritenour, OAR Vice President of Legal Services/Administration

Under the new RESPA/TILA rules, the buyer must receive the Closing Disclosure form three business days prior to closing. One of the biggest concerns REALTORS have is that closings will be delayed if a new three day waiting period is necessary because there are changes needed to the form after the buyer initially receives it. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has prepared a quick fact sheet explaining what changes to the form will require that this three business day time period be reset.

As this fact sheet explains, there are only THREE changes that will require a new 3–day review. They are:

  1. The APR (annual percentage rate) increases by more than 1/8 of a percent for fixed-rate loans or 1/4 of a percent for adjustable loans. A decrease in APR will not require a new 3-day review if it is based on changes to interest rate or other fees.
  2. A prepayment penalty is added, making it expensive to refinance or sell.
  3. The basic loan product changes, such as a switch from fixed rate to adjustable interest rate or to a loan with interest-only payments.

While other changes to the Disclosure form after it is provided to the buyer may not require a new 3-day review, the lender will still have to approve such changes and an updated disclosure with the accurate information will have to be prepared. How long it will take lenders to approve such changes may vary by lender and could obviously still result in delays. For this reason it is recommended that all issues be worked out between the buyer and seller seven days before closing so that the likelihood that changes to the closing Disclosure will be necessary is avoided.


Tags: legal

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