The anniversary of the death of an Arkansas sales rep, who was kidnapped while showing a home, is a reminder to all agents about the importance of safety in the workplace, especially when it comes to open houses.
“On the one-year anniversary of the tragic death of Beverly Carter, we must re-commit ourselves as an industry to the need for safety awareness and practices among real estate agents, colleagues and clients,” said National Association of Realtors president Chris Polychron.
“One of the most important things Realtors can do to protect themselves is to always meet new clients in their office and introduce them to a co-worker,” he added. “Realtors should keep their phone charged and with them, make sure someone always knows their location, be careful with sharing personal information and always trust their instincts.”
Carter’s son, Carl Carter, Jr., who is now studying to become a real estate agent, told HousingWire that while there have been many positive changes in the real estate industry, more can been done, especially when it comes to open houses, which he says invite all sorts of potentially dangerous people with no identity verification process.
Canadian agents are wise to the same safety concerns and the need for due diligence.
"Would you meet some unknown date at a vacant location or his home?” Barrie, Ont., agent Farida Jones said. “It is time that we set the bar a little higher. Obtaining ID or pre-screening are not enough. Men should not assume we are always available willing and able....to show a property. CREA needs to launch a public campaign of awareness so the public does not have this expectation of us...and male realtors can also be vulnerable.”
Still, all Realtors have a story about the odd or frightening things that happened at an open house,” Carter, Jr., says. “There are just weird people out there and you never know what people will do. The industry needs to take a hard look at the true benefit of open houses.”