Yesterday was a rough day in the REALTOR community as we awoke to find out that Beverly Carter, a REALTOR in Arkansas that was missing for days after meeting a prospective buyer at a home for a showing was found murdered in a shallow grave.
“She was just a woman that worked alone — a rich broker,” said the man charged with her murder, Aaron Lewis, in response to questions about his motives.
This tragic and senseless murder has rocked the real estate community and brought a public light via traditional media and especially social media the dangers that real estate agents face while on the job.
While I never met Beverly, I feel like I lost a friend or a sister in arms because I understand the life she was living and the work she did. I watched the reporting of her disappearance with hope in my heart and a prayer on my lips….how many times could the very same thing have happened to me?
Hearing the news of her death and seeing the outpouring of emotions in the real estate community forced me to really take stock of how we do our business and what changes I think should be made. We can’t bring Beverly back, but we can use her memory to fuel a sea change in our business that is long overdue.
We should all take personal safety measures and our offices should band together to create strategies, but what I am talking about is a community wide, global change in the way we all approach the business. REALTOR community, it is time to band together to make a change in our level of professionalism, degree of respect we give each other and how we perform the job.
Why are we running out to show a home to a client we don’t know? What other professional would do such a thing? When is the last time your hairdresser came running to your house, what about a mechanic? Does your attorney or doctor make house calls? No. They all require an appointment and for the most part demand that you attend that appointment at their place of employ. If consumers expect that we will and should drop everything to run out and open a door for them then I argue that we have created the problem by allowing and perpetuating that expectation.
Next up the agent cries, “But if I don’t go open the door for them they will simply call another agent who will!”. This is my point….we need to bond up together and agree that the standard needs to rise for all of us. Agents, STOP IT. Stop taking unsafe risks to be the “gung ho go getter”. You are putting yourself and everyone in the profession in danger.
WE NEED STANDARDS.
I am not going to get into what best practices I am setting into place for my safety moving forward because we all have different thresholds by which we feel safe. I am simply stating that every real estate agent needs to make it standard that we will not run out to show a home to a total stranger. At the very least we need to meet at our offices or a public place and obtain a picture ID and share that information with a loved one or our office. We need to make the public respect our time and safety and that will only work if we all agree that this is a necessary measure.
Take a stand agents. As for me, if a client won’t work around my safety guidelines then I will let them loose and pray that they don’t find an agent who has no standards to protect themselves and our industry.
RIP Beverly. You are not forgotten.