Brokerage

Arkansas Realtors developing safety measures in wake of agent’s murder

Backers hope measures could serve as model for national standards

Responding to the kidnapping and murder of real estate agent Beverly Carter, the Arkansas Realtors Association has formed a safety task force headed by former association President Karen Crowson, a broker for Crye-Leike Real Estate Services in Benton.

“We are going to be really working on specific things that we can put into place in Arkansas now and hopefully take it nationwide,” Crowson tells KTHV.

Ideas being considered include not allowing agents to show homes alone, and having them vet clients by photographing their license plates and driver’s licenses.

While the safety of real estate agents has long been of concern — Inman News explored the issue in depth in a series of stories published in 2011 — Carter’s death has sparked calls for the industry to implement uniform standards.

“MLSs and Realtor associations should work closely with broker members to create a set of agent-consumer ‘rules of engagement’ for their marketplace,” industry consultant Travis Wright wrote in a Sept. 29 Inman News guest piece. “Those rules could include standardized protocols for the identification and registration of all parties interested in property listings — before they go see homes with an agent.”

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Commenting on another, unrelated incident, last month broker J. Philip Faranda said in a guest piece that not only do brokerages “need to adopt safety procedures and policies, and strictly enforce them,” but that a public relations push is needed to “explain to consumers why we need to know if they are qualified before we meet them at a home. The public needs to understand why we can’t meet them on a moment’s notice just to earn a possible commission.”