Realtors observe safety in wake of colleague's murder

The murder of a real estate agent in Arkansas has Realtors across the country reviewing safety tips. (Source: WAFF)
The murder of a real estate agent in Arkansas has Realtors across the country reviewing safety tips. (Source: WAFF)

The death of a Realtor in Arkansas is bringing to light the dangers of buying, selling or renting a home.

HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) - That story is no doubt on the minds of every Realtor, including those here in the Tennessee Valley.

What's ironic is that the month of September is National Realtor Safety Month. This is the time where many are going over the do's and don'ts, and going through safety training.

Talk around the office at Keller Williams is focused on the death of Arkansas real estate agent Beverly Carter. Susan Baldwin has more than 10 years under her belt as an agent, and the business of real estate can be a risky one.

"It hits home, more than you can imagine. Very gut wrenching, very sad," Baldwin said. "If they are an unknown person and they want to see a house immediately, big red flag right there. Unfortunately for Beverly Carter, that was a red flag. Someone said they were a cash buyer and they wanted to meet her right away. I don't meet anyone like that."

Most agents have their own safety policy, with rules such as meeting potential buyers at the office first, getting their ID and maybe even a license plate.

Baldwin takes it a step further.

"I take steps up-front to Google search, making sure names and addresses match, phone numbers match, look on Facebook to see who they are. I may do a job search to see if they are employed where they say they are," Baldwin said.

But what if your home is your office?

Gregory Ricksecker is selling his home in the Five Points area of Huntsville by himself. With no advertising, he's just relying on phone calls from the sign outside his home. But like most of us, his first instinct is to trust.

"You already have your guard down because you want to sell your home," Ricksecker conceded.

If he was not available, he said he would have quickly offered up his wife to show a potential buyer the home.

"I would not have even given it a second thought, to say 'Hey, honey, can you stop by and meet with this person.' You want to think the best of people," he said.

Ricksecker told us he has since had a change of heart, knowing anyone can be a target.

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