The Scariest Thing About Being a Real Estate Agent

So my mom is a member of a bunch of different realtor groups on Facebook where they get together, share ideas, swap referrals, etc. Well earlier this week, an agent in one of the groups posted asking for prayers and positive thoughts on behalf of another agent in her market center who had gone missing. The last time anyone had spoken to her was the night before around 5:30 when she told her husband she was heading out to show property. When her husband turned up at said property, they found her car, her purse and the front door of the home open. They still haven't heard from her.

My mom called to tell me about it and it freaked us both out, because, in reality, that could be any of us. As a real estate agent, that's typically one of the main components of the job, showing empty houses to people who are sometimes complete strangers. My profession shows up repeatedly on lists for the most dangerous jobs in America for that very reason.

On our team, we always try to have potential clients meet at the office first and fill out an information sheet, but sometimes that doesn't happen. Sometimes, the client "just wants to see that one house" or they live closer to the home in question than our office and don't want to make the drive. And because we don't want to lose the sale or alienate the client, we meet them. More times than not, everything ends up fine. We establish a relationship with the person, meet the family maybe, and we continue to take them out until we find the perfect home.

But the whole situation with the unfortunate agent in Arkansas got me thinking. Because that's our standard business practice, the odds are against us. If we continue to meet complete strangers in empty homes without first gathering information or even employing the buddy system, sooner or later, we'll run into someone that doesn't have good intentions. Statistically, we have to.

Later this month, my team is getting to together for a safety meeting to talk about implementing safer business practices like making sure someone else on the team has contact information for the person we're meeting, having a husband/ wife or coworker accompany us on a showing, etc.

And I encourage you, when you call to check out a home and the agent wants to meet at the office. Try to give them the benefit of the doubt. We're not trying to trap into a 45 minute presentation you didn't ask for or force you to sign anything you don't want to sign. Nor do we want to inconvenience you. We may ask you questions that feel a little invasive (your lender's contact information, your full name and email address, maybe even your current address, etc.) and that's for our safety. We're trying to do our jobs as safely and efficiently as possible. At the end of the day, your agent has whole life outside of her profession; asking these kinds of questions and taking extra precautions can sometimes mean the difference between life and death.

UPDATE: They found her body in a shallow grave. The "client" has pleaded not guilty.


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