It’s been said that the chances of a real estate agent being attacked while showing a home is statistically very low. That may be true, but if you are among the unfortunate few who become violently assaulted or even murdered, that probability for you then becomes a 100% certainty.
There are many arguments against carrying a gun. However, I think it boils down to a few fundamental questions.
- Are you willing to let a stranger determine whether or not you get raped, assaulted and/or murdered?
- Do you think that someone who is a drug addict, a cold-hearted thug or a sexual predator, will listen to your pleas for mercy in the moment he is about to attack you?
- Do you think that as a woman, you will be able to physically overpower a determined and violent male criminal?
- If you are alone, showing a home to a prospective male home buyer who ends up threatening to sexually assault or kill you, would you rather have a gun available to you (knowing that you have trained regularly to use it) or would you prefer to have no means with which to protect yourself?
The surprised criminal, when faced with imminent fear of death, will typically (especially if being shot at) run away from you to save his own pathetic life.
Female Real Estate Agents Targeted by Criminals
Increasingly, it seems female real estate agents are being targeted by criminals. Most criminals who would seek out a female real estate agent for robbery, rape and/or murder is a special breed of criminal. You shouldn’t expect them to have any empathy for their victims and they obviously lack any moral compass, which is why they commit these violent criminal acts in the first place. Unfortunately, we must all recognize that real estate agents (particularly female agents) have increasingly become targets of violent criminal offenders. If having a gun (concealed carry) could prevent you from being bludgeoned, stabbed, raped or murdered, would that be a bad thing? If not having a gun resulted in you being bludgeoned, stabbed, raped and murdered, would that be a good thing?
Here is one recent (2014) and notorious example of a female agent being targeted for kidnapping and ransom:
Arkansas Real Estate Agent Beverly Carter Targeted Because She Was ‘Woman That Worked Alone
Here are several more stories about real estate agents being attacked:
California realtor attacked at open house, September 2019
Iowa Realtor Gunned Down at Open House, April 2015
How a Real Estate Agent Survived Attack By Man She Was Showing a Home to
(Below is the video for the above Realtor attack story)
Snohomish County, WA realtor attacked at open house, June 2018
Man beat, bit, stabbed Sarah McKinney real estate agent to death, September 2006
Ann Nelson, 71, Wisconsin real estate agent, murdered while showing a home, March 2008
Dottie Lanier,70, Mississippi real estate agent shot, homeowner killed showing home, June 2006
Real estate agent Troy VanderStelt shot/murdered by former client, July 2008
2 Ohio Realtors killed at showings, September 2010
Sales agents found murdered in model home, November 2003
Real estate agent assaulted in vacant Napa Valley home, June 2006
Real estate agent, Kate Hanni, fought off man armed who attempted to rape her, July 2011
Real estate agent, Julie Robert, attacked and robbed while showing home, March 2006
Why Carry A Gun?
Critics may argue that having a gun, in and of itself, does not make you safer and it could possibly be used against you. But that can easily be refuted. As a responsible “concealed carry” gun owner, if you regularly train with your gun, exercise situational awareness and have a plan, I believe that you are more likely to maintain the upper hand in such encounters. One of the things that may be in your favor, unlike with police officers, is that a criminal who attacks you, does not typically expect his victim (particularly a female) to be carrying a firearm concealed. The element of surprise is what should give armed citizens the “tactical” advantage when under attack. The surprised criminal, when faced with imminent fear of death, will typically (especially if being shot at) run away from you to save his own pathetic life.
A modern, well-maintained firearm will not typically just “goes off”.
Like any new experience, it can be frightening to handle a gun for the first time. To some, this may even be unimaginable. But like learning to drive a car, once you practice using it regularly, it becomes more familiar and the initial fear should dissipate. That’s not to say that you should not have a healthy respect for a gun. To the contrary, you must understand that a firearm is a tool that when used, can result in serious harm or death of a person.
By the way, a modern, well-maintained firearm will not typically just “goes off”. I say this because there have been some news reports over the years where a person (usually inexperienced with handling guns or simply not exercising good trigger discipline) who “accidentally” shoots someone or himself or herself, claims that the gun he or she was holding “just went off”. Guns are inanimate objects that don’t shoot on their own. What instead likely happened is that the person unwittingly pulled the trigger. That’s because a modern, quality gun, made by a reputable manufacturer, generally won’t shoot unless the trigger is pulled (or there is an unexpected mechanical failure or inherent design flaw).
Of course, there are other ways to pull a trigger besides using your finger. There have been incidents reported where someone re-holsters his or her firearm into an old, well-worn leather holster (which is why I prefer to use a Kydex holster) where part of the leather holster folds into the trigger guard as the firearm is pushed back into the holster. Or, part of a shirt or clothing gets lodged into the trigger guard when re-holstering which ends up pulling the trigger.
As a responsible gun owner, you should learn and train when to keep your finger on and off the trigger and make sure that when holstering your gun, it is free from any obstruction that might result in a negligent discharge.
For female real estate agents considering the purchase of their first gun, you may want to read this article.
CCW Class for Real Estate Agents
It seems like more and more real estate agents or REALTORs are taking a CCW (Concealed Carry Weapon) class and there are even some CCW classes specifically offered to Realtors. That may be no surprise considering a survey (of 2,804 respondents) by the National Association of Realtors published in their 2015 Member Safety Report which found that 40% of real estate professionals experienced a situation that made them fear for their personal safety or safety of their personal information. And within the same report, 12% of real estate agents stated they carry a firearm.
Here are a few safety tips for real estate agents when showing a home to a new client:
- Meet at your office first while other agents are around (don’t do this after hours when no one is around).
- Ask for identification.Tell all clients that this is your company policy that all clients’ driver’s licenses must be photocopied.
- Introduce your new client to a coworker. Criminals don’t want others to have seen them for identification purposes.
- Do instant background checks. There is an app by a company, Forewarn, which among other things, they say can perform instant background checks on potential clients.
- Never go alone on an appointment for home showings. Always bring another person with you when you meet a client at a home showing, especially if your new client is a man (if he claims he’s married and shopping on behalf of himself and his wife…see if he has a wedding ring on). If your male client claims that his wife couldn’t make the showing appointment when you arrive, reschedule the appointment. DO NOT GO INTO THE HOUSE ALONE WITH HIM UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES. NO COMMISSION IS WORTH YOUR LIFE.
- Let someone know who you will be with, their contact information, where you will be and at what time.
- If you have an iPhone, set up the Find iPhone app and make sure someone you trust has access to it so your phone location can be tracked and available to law enforcement if necessary.
- Follow your gut. If for any reason you feel uneasy when speaking to your client on the phone or in person, again, DO NOT GO INTO THE HOUSE ALONE WITH HIM UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES. NO COMMISSION IS WORTH YOUR LIFE.
- Have a plan. You should always have a plan as to what you will do should something nefarious occur with your client. That can include carrying concealed, mace, a taser, or better yet, a firearm.
- If you do end up showing a male client a home, let him walk in front of you at all times and keep your weapon (mace, taser, firearm) concealed on your person. Never, Ever let a male client walk behind you.
- Never go into confined places where you could be trapped, i.e. avoid basements, wine cellars and attics.
- Whenever possible, drive in separate cars, particularly if your client is alone and male. Have your new client follow you from listing to listing.