More real-estate agents face dangers
The recession has added to the risks agents face when they go alone to a home and meet strangers. Training and applications are designed to keep real-estate pros safe on the job.
You don't think of real estate as a dangerous job, but the increase in crimes against people in the real-estate field has prompted the National Association of Realtors and other trade groups to boost safety training.
In 2010, the last year for which statistics are available, 63 people employed in real-estate-related fields, including property management and maintenance, died on the job. That was the highest number since the Bureau of Labor Statistics began keeping data in 2003.
Of the 60 deaths in 2010, 23 were slayings. An additional 14 people died from falls, nine from transportation accidents and eight from environmental toxins.
Ten deaths were reported among those who worked in sales, up from four in 2009.
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"Anybody who works with the general public faces a higher degree of victimization than somebody who's in the office all day," Andrew Wooten, a safety instructor, told Inman News, which published a three-part series on agent safety last year.
Wooten was called in to conduct safety seminars in Iowa after a real-estate agent was assaulted on the job in February 2011 and 27-year-old Ashley Oakland was murdered in a model home in Des Moines in April 2011. ABC News wrote about five other murders of agents in recent years.
The recession has added to the danger for agents. "A real-estate agent makes a living meeting a complete stranger in an empty home," Tracey Hawkins, who owns a security company, told ABC News. "Agents may encounter squatters, angry former homeowners or even encounter abandoned pets that may be aggressive. These properties are often meth labs or pot houses, and encroaching upon them is dangerous."
Although I'm a licensed Real Estate Agent, I've never worked as an agent; just did it for my own personal understanding of the real estate business.
The books never mentioned the possibility of assault on the job. But yes, that would, to a criminal mind, be an opportunity. Then again, I haven't a criminal mind.
Watch out people. They're always thinking of ways to do evil. Now, what if those same bad people put as much effort in to doing an honest days work? But then again, who knows what goes on in those devious little brains of theirs.
About Teresa Mears
Teresa Mears is a veteran journalist who has been interested in houses since her father took her to tax auctions to carry the cash at age 10. A former editor of The Miami Herald's Home & Design section, she lives in South Florida where, in addition to writing about real estate, she publishes Miami on the Cheap to help her neighbors adjust to the loss of 60% of their property value.