Local real estate agents have been discussing safety after recent events have grabbed national headlines.
And some have taken their personal safety into their own hands, literally.
Eastern Middle Tenneessee Association of Realtors (EMTAR)President Amy Hamilton said that EMTAR has offered firearms courses for real estate agents. She said that several agents have completed the course and hold carry permits.
The recent murder of Arkansas real estate agent Beverly Carter has cast a grim spotlight on the hazards of the profession. Hamilton said the national news has caused more local agents to be aware of how they deal with new clients.
In a perfect situation, Hamilton said, each client would first come by a realty office, fill out paperwork and leave a copy of their driver's license before being shown a home. Unfortunately, many times in order to serve their busy customers and help them purchase or sell their homes, realtors place themselves in danger.
However, in a client-driven business like real estate, small safety precautions are oftentimes overlooked.
"When someone calls and wants to see a house and can only see it at this time, a realtor picks up and goes," Hamilton, a real estate agent with Keller Williams, said.
Carter, 49, last spoke to her husband on the evening of her abduction. She said that she planned to meet with a new client and gave him the address of the vacant property that was for sale.
When she did not return home, authorities were notified. They found Carter's car still in the driveway and her purse locked inside.
Many would claim that Carter did take steps to insure her safety, such as letting her husband know the address of the home and the time she was showing it, or locking her personal belongings inside her car to avoid theft. Unfortunately, it was not enough.
After a weeklong search, Carter's body was found buried in a shallow grave behind a concrete mixing plant.
"Meeting a new client at the office is the safest thing to do, and then you all ride together to see the home," Hamilton said, noting that her assistant has her schedule and knows where she will be each day. "When they come into the office and have paperwork for a loan then you know it is legit. Someone who is just out to commit crime isn't going to go through the trouble."
Staff Writer Sabrina Garrett may be contacted at email@example.com.