The recent kidnapping and subsequent murder of 49-year-old Beverly Carter, a real estate agent in Arkansas, has settled heavy on my heart. It prompts me to help others figure out how to stay safe in the world today by discussing the importance of real estate agent safety.
Not only does this horrible crime hit way to close to home with me being a real estate broker, but it also reminds me that following safety precautions are crucial in a Realtors® way of life.
Beverly Carter was last seen on last Thursday afternoon before heading out to show an “unknown” client a home that was for sale. She was never heard from again. Even though her husband did know the address of the home she was showing, when he arrived to check on her the front door was open, her car was in the driveway and her purse was in the car. Sadly, her body was later found 27 miles away in a shallow grave.
Breaks my heart.
Obviously, real estate agents meet people on a regular basis that they do not know, but that doesn’t mean caution should be thrown out the window. Realtor.com’s Top 10 Ways to Keep Safe include:
- Be careful with personal info
- Verify customer information
- Enlist a coworker
- Announce your showings
- Scout locations early
- Keep phone in hand
- Keep customer in sight
- Pay attention to exits
- Take a self-defense class
- Trust your gut
Real estate agents can also use several Apps for their smart phone that will immediately call 911 and give their GPS location, among other things. To see an article with six Apps that are great for the safety of Realtors® please click here 6 Mobile Safety Apps for Real Estate.
Technology is a beautiful thing. I found another article on the latest gadgets (i.e. jewelry, charms) that can be used to notify authorities if a Realtor® finds himself/herself in a dangerous situation. These devices also track the location of the agent. To read more about these available safety tools please click here Using Technology for Real Estate Agent Safety.
As a client, please understand when a real estate agent requests a copy of your driver’s license or asks you to meet them at the office first instead of the home you are interested in…these are not sale’s tactics or meant to inconvenience you. They are preventive measures that every Realtor® should take when they do not have a personal relationship with the client.
In the past, I have left a voicemail with a friend or fellow agent with the license plate number of client’s vehicle that I am showing homes to just to let someone know who I am with. Another easy way to identify unknown clients would be to take a picture of their driver’s license and forward to your broker, friend, agent, etc.
Additionally, if you are a listing client never allow someone (including real estate agents) into your home that has not made an appointment or was ‘just driving by.’ Identities should always be verified and it is protocol for agents to call first before showing up on your doorstep.
Listing clients should always require the agents who show their homes to use the Lockbox so that the names of agents who have gone through the home can be tracked.
A few precautions can go a long way and they really are not that difficult to do. In fact, they could save your life.
Please join me in keeping the family and friends of Beverly Carter in our thoughts and prayers during such a sad time.
If you or someone you know is interested in buying or selling real estate, please do not hesitate to contact Mary Lynne Gibbs at 512.431.2403 or firstname.lastname@example.org. It would be a pleasure to earn your business.