It makes my heart sad to think that a woman…a wife, a mother, a friend, was murdered simply because of her profession. The alleged killer was quoted as saying, “She was a woman and she was alone. A rich broker.”

Every day Realtors have a decision to make….do I jump in my car and take a chance on meeting a stranger at a home? Or do I risk losing the caller as a client when I ask them to meet me at the office first?

I know there’s been plenty of times over the last 15 years when I’ve simply “trusted my gut” and was willing to meet strangers at a property. However, there have also been plenty of times when I’ve “trusted my gut” and called someone else to join me at the house….like my husband or a friend. 

One time, many years ago, I remember receiving a call from a buyer that was very pushy over the phone.  He was adamant about seeing a home on a Friday evening and unfortunately, the home was way out in the middle of no where. I scheduled the appointment for him, but I just didn’t feel good about it. So a few hours later I called him back and apologized that I wasn’t going to be able to make it. He proceeded to cuss me up one side and down the other. I always remember that and am glad I followed my instincts by not meeting him.

In an ideal world, the “strangers” we meet would be referred to us by friends or past clients, people we trust. And I am so thankful that after all these years, those are most of the people I’m working with.

But what happens when you get that phone call from someone you’ve never met before and they’re anxious to see a home. What do you do?

  1. The best choice is to always have them meet you at the office first. And in light of this recent situation, I think it would be OK to say that your office has adopted a new office policy and now we are required to meet all prospective buyers at the office first.
  2. Get a photo copy of the buyer’s ID. Car salesmen require a photo ID of someone before they get in the car with a stranger…..why shouldn’t Realtors?
  3. Tell someone the address of where you’re going and tell them the name of the person you’re meeting and give that friend the buyer’s phone number, as well.
  4. Tell someone when your appointment is, when you expect to be finished, and tell them you will call them when you are finished.
  5. Take a friend with you….preferably a big, strong burly man. But if you don’t have one of those on hand, then at least take someone with you.
  6. If you meet a buyer at the home and they just don’t give you a good vibe…..stay outside on the front porch, excuse yourself and make a phone call. I’ve done this before and I’ve made sure that I spoke loudly enough for the suspicious buyer to hear me tell the person over the phone the exact address of where I was and that yes….I would be finishing up in about five minutes.

I know some of these may sound a little over the top, but wouldn’t we all agree that it’s better to be safe than sorry? I bet Beverly’s family wishes she had a chance to do things differently.

R.I.P. Beverly Carter . . . and may the rest of us learn a valuable lesson from this tragic experience.