”We do try to meet with our clients at our office first, but there are some occasions where meeting a potential client at a home is easier or more convenient.”
It’s a sad reality, but real estate agents – especially women – need to be vigilant about their exposure to predators when out showing properties. For that matter, so do their customers. It is fortunately a very rare occurrence, but every year agents become targets of violent criminals. In light of the recent kidnapping and murder of Arkansas real estate agent Beverly Carter, her attacker said, she was targeted because “she was a woman who worked alone” – The Associated Press reported. The motive for the attack remains under investigation though Pulaski County Sheriff’s Office Capt. Simon Haynes said that Lewis “was a stranger to her” who investigators believe saw her as “a target of opportunity.”
We wanted to review some of the safety precautions to take when showing homes to strangers:
Before You Go Out
• Keep a charge on your cell phone.
• Do not use “glam shots” in your ads – I know we are all Fierce & Fabulous but keep it professional.
• Never advertise a listing as “vacant” or “current unoccupied” – most attackers are “right time attackers”
• Do a reverse phone search
Avoid Being A Target in the Field
• Choose your showing time wisely
• Do the driving…. Do not get in the prospect’s car
• Know where the exits are
• TRUST YOUR INSTINCTS!!
• Take a copy of their ID with your cell phone
• Park with leaving in mind.
• Consider carrying mace, pepper spray
Conducting open houses can be tricky: You don’t have the same security options that you do when you are meeting people at the office.
* Go meet the neighbors. Tell them you’re showing the house. It’s a good way to get referrals. It’s an even better way to know you have a safe place to run to if you need it.
* Don’t work open houses alone. You can’t control how many people walk in on you.
* Have an alternate destination.- never go straight home after an open house, you can never be sure if someone is following you.
Apps That You Can Download
ICE Black Box this is different from the ICE app that has been around for awhile. With this app, you can video record events such as dangerous situations, suspicious activity, crime as it’s happening or if you feel you are in danger. The video is then stored on another server so that no can force you to erase the video and even if the phone is damaged, the video has already been stored on
On Call Defender has one solution – a monitored mobile phone application. Tap three times and the police are on their way – all for $6.99 per month for the monitoring service. MyForce is another option.
Beverly Carter, and others were all victims of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Attackers are like predators in the wild, they will go for the prey that are isolated. They are cowards and looking to prey on what they presume to be the weak.
For more information and resources:
ABC News http://abcn.ws/1rGGFT8