PHOTO: Photo: Supplied
The real estate industry is grappling with unprecedented safety concerns following the disappearance of Yanfei Bao, leaving professionals across the country on edge. Erum Ali, who handles residential and lifestyle sales with Bayleys in Auckland, expressed her shock and the impact on the industry, stating that family and friends now caution agents to exercise caution while showing houses and engaging with clients.
For Ali, who previously felt secure in her work, the incident has sparked a realization that changes must be made in how real estate agents operate, particularly during door-knocking activities. In response, her company has mandated that agents work in pairs when conducting business.
However, the nature of the job often demands irregular working hours, making it challenging to adhere to set schedules. The need to promptly respond to offers regardless of the time further complicates matters, leading to concerns about safety for agents, especially for newcomers to the industry.
Bhethnee Kaur, a seasoned real estate agent and owner of Century 21 Excellence Real Estate, shares the same apprehension. She advocates for stricter rules and laws from the Real Estate Authority to ensure the safety of agents, particularly women.
Belinda Moffat, CEO of the Real Estate Authority, acknowledges that safety is a top priority for agencies and emphasizes the implementation of precautions and protocols. However, some agents, like Deep Kaur of Harcourts, still feel vulnerable while continuing their work due to financial responsibilities.
Aishwarya Kaushal, another real estate agent with Harcourts Topline, echoes concerns about safety during door-knocking and working outside regular business hours. Despite personal discomfort, agents often feel compelled to accommodate such practices to seize business opportunities.
The disappearance of Yanfei Bao has profoundly impacted the real estate community, prompting a collective call for more robust safety measures and support from the industry’s regulatory bodies. Agents now navigate their roles with a heightened sense of caution, aiming to strike a balance between serving their clients and safeguarding their well-being.