Staying Safe While Selling Homes

Most of the country has heard of Beverly Carter, a REALTOR® from Arkansas who was targeted because she worked alone and was killed when showing a vacant listing. Did you know more than 70 REALTORS® are killed each year, with thousands more experiencing attacks, robberies or rape when showing homes?

As a full-time REALTOR®, I frequently receive calls from individuals asking to meet for a showing at a property I represent as the seller’s agent. This is a safety concern for REALTORS®. It is important for potential buyers to understand that real estate agents make their living meeting complete strangers, many times in empty homes, who may or may not be legitimate buyers. For that reason, REALTORS® must take precautions.

The National Association of REALTORS® has created a number of safety tools for REALTORS®, and many firms are adopting policies and safety training for REALTORS®. Here are a few practices you may see if you are meeting with a REALTOR® to look at a property.

If you want to see a home as a potential buyer, be prepared to meet with a REALTOR® at their office or in a public place and expect to have your identification copied and to provide documentation that you have a lender or proof of funds.

Though open houses have become less prevalent with technology, a safety-conscious agent will likely ask you to sign in and provide identification. Their safety and the protection of the homeowner and their possessions are worth a small inconvenience for you to view a home.

To prevent thieves or home tour hobbyists from posing as buyers, many sellers require proof of funds be submitted before allowing access to a home.

The best solution for buyers who want smooth access to homes on the market is to engage the services of a buyer’s agent. This keeps REALTORS® safe, protects homeowners and provides you with concierge services and expertise throughout the home buying process. Usually there is not a cost for a buyer’s agent. The seller pays the REALTOR® commission at closing through a cooperative agreement with the listing agent or commission is negotiated during the purchase of a home sold directly by an owner.

Utilizing a REALTOR® to represent you as a buyer can save you time and hassle trying to set up showings individually, and you’ll be prepared to make an offer on the right home immediately. In our competitive market, preparation is critical. A REALTOR® can help you find the perfect place to call home.


Sher Powers is president of Greater Nashville REALTORS®. A REALTOR® is a member of the National Association of REALTORS® who subscribes to its strict code of ethics. Contact her at 615-430-6861 or