PHOENIX — The recent murder of an Arkansas real estate agent has Valley realtors up in arms. Many real estate agents admit that it is intimidating walking into a vacant home with a stranger.
“When we are walking up to a house that’s vacant, or supposed to be vacant, we have no idea what we’re going to encounter,” PRTeam Realty Svcs agent Pam Andrews said.
Andrews said she does not take any chances when showing homes. That is why she is locked and loaded while on the job.
“I don’t hide the gun,” she said. “I do have it visibly open because my clients know in advance that I carry it with me. I am very fortunate that I’ve never been in a circumstance where I was glad I had the weapon with me.”
Other real estate agents are not so lucky. There have been several cases of realtors being raped, beaten and even killed on the job. It is unfortunate that realtors need to carry weapons, but according to Andrews it is a necessity.
“When people are working open houses and you’ve got strangers walking in the door, you don’t know who’s all coming in,” Andrews said. “I don’t care if there are two of you there, you still have a risk. It is just sad.”
Other Valley real estate agents disagree. Some realtors believe carrying a weapon on the job is just bad business.
“People are kind of uncomfortable around a gun,” Bill Travis of Captain Bill Realty said.
Travis used to carry a side arm with him while showing homes but he stopped the practice a few years ago.
“If I didn’t tell them I had (a gun) and they ended up seeing it then they could be very uncomfortable and if I did tell them than they might not want to go out with me,” he said. “So, I decided to not carry it because I was afraid that I was going to scare or intimidate some of my good clients.”
As a professional real estate agent, Travis agrees that being in an empty home with a stranger does have inherent risks but he takes other precautions.
“I never get myself into a position in a room where I can’t escape if somebody tries to attack me,” he said.
Travis suggested other realtors also meet potential clients at their office before showing a home and lock the front door when giving a tour so other people cannot enter the home rather than carry a weapon for protection.