Question Details

Gary De Pury, Real Estate Pro in Pasco County, FL

Real Estate Agent Found Dead in Home She Showed to Client Earlier in Day

Asked by Gary De Pury, Pasco County, FL Thu Mar 20, 2008

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,339651,00.html

Folks, please be careful and pay attention at all times.

Gary De Pury
Director, Florida Association of REALTORS

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Hello Gary: I have been a Realtor for 20 years 3/18/08. I was attacked in an exclusive neighborhood early in my career. I received a floor call, received basic information and away I went. The home was vacant, contemprary style, one level with a basement. As trained, I got there early, turned on all of the lights, upstairs and then in the basement. When I came back upstairs to await my "potential client" I was grabbed from behind in a choke hold. I managed to break his hold after he flipped me onto the living room floor, ripped my blouse open and proceeded to try and get my skirt up. The only thing that saved me was my being flat on my back and my mind telling me to take his eyes or his groin. I did both. Enough for him to be caught off guard to release his hold. I ran for the front door and found it WAS CHAINED AND LOCKED. I did not chain the door. I ran across the street and an elderly couple would not answer the door because they saw this crazy woman banging on their door. I was screaming for them to call the police and they just stood there and looked at me with fright in their eyes. Needless to say, I broke their front window to get their attention to call the police. The individual was not apprehended that day, however, he was apprehended by DNA 10 years ago. Today, 20 years later here is what I do. I do not, under any circumstances meet anyone at a property w/o them coming to my office first. Show I.D. or move on. Not one person or couple has ever said I will not come to your office or show ID. I sit new construction: I always have an out. I have been trained to protect myself, I have an alliance with many homeowners, and if I have a gut feeling about the potential customer as a threat, I lock the door. Education is key for safety. Everyone, please, think before you act. It could very well be life or death. Obviously, you need not be terrified of your profession. I am living proof. Just be aware of your surroundings, talk to your broker about "safe words", take a class on self defense (armed or unarmed). Just be aware. I love my profession. So should you. Be safe.
7 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Mar 20, 2008
Indeed. In what other business would a human being agree to meet a complete stranger in the middle of no where, in the middle of the night at a vacant house???? Only Real Estate, we are a rare breed to be sure.
My wife just got her license and I would be very concerned in such situations. However, I also know of stories where a REALTOR got murdered at an open house. I guess it should make us reflect that perhaps we shouldn't work 7 days a week.....maybe we should even enjoy our lives a little and spend a day or two a week with family....in those final moments, one more commission really doesn't seem so important. We live a fast paced life (full timers) and sometimes forget what is important.

I remember in Real Estate school, the instructor suggested a code to use on the phone and that agents should always make sure the office or someone knew where they were. Regarding the code, the idea was he/she could call up office and say "hey do you have that yellow file I left in my bottom drawer?" Meaning "I am slightly concerned and nervous with the buyer I am with". All the way to a red folder, which meant "I think I am in serious danger". etc. Hope that helps and hope everyone has a system like this set up for safety....carrying some mace couldn't hurt either folks, let's try to stay safe as we do lead a vulnerable profession.

Brendan Murphy
Broker, CRS, GRI, ePro
Raving Real Estate
Laramie, WY 82070
2 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Mar 20, 2008
IN case anyone missed the Update.....The man was caught and I believe he has confessed.

Bless her family on this Easter Sunday...
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun Mar 23, 2008
God Bless her family, and that's why I let my office know where I am going, get specific info and Google the person and I carry a .22 in my pocket. Forget the gun laws I rather be alive and have a misdemeanor on my record than be dead
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Mar 20, 2008
I'm so sorry for her family. This is a reminder to be safe, check in with your office, let them know if you are showing without coming to the office etc. etc. If you have a funny feeling, for heavens sake, listen to your head...or stomach. This is the 3rd one recently that I have read about.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Mar 22, 2008
Roger,

It is so sad that you have to break the law to comply with the law (2nd amendment)

IN Florida, we respect the 2d amendment. If you ever decide to move to Florida, I will be so glad to welcome you with a packet for our CC license and congratulate you on your choice of leaving a city that doesn't like the US constitution. The current case in the US supreme court "Heller v. DC" may change all of that and then in Chicago, you will not be breaking the law just to protect yourself.

I agree with you and carry all of the time. ( a 22 is a little to small for me). I also have extensive training and have taught a few classes myself.

Anyway, when I saw this case, I just wanted to publish it where I might help make one more person aware of their surroundings.

Gary
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Mar 22, 2008
My condolences to her family, friends, and clients in the time of sorrow. This is not an easy way to exept her passing. Cynthia Noggles
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Mar 22, 2008
I have never been of the opinion that agents should work open houses, or go with male clients alone. We like to go in teams (Los Angeles) we feel safer that way. My heart goes out to her family.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Mar 20, 2008
That is terrible. Our thoughts & prayers go out to her family.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Mar 20, 2008
Gary,
Thank you so much for this information. It's scary and sometimes people think I am too paranoid when I leave the address located in a map with directions, who I am meeting with, at what time, and at what time I will return back.
I don't take anything for granted, safety comes first. I am truly sorry for and give my condolences to the family and friends of Mrs. Ann B. Nelson
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Mar 20, 2008
Hi Gary!

Very sad indeed. Thanks for bringing this to our attention. An incident like this is a reminder to us all about how dangerous this profession can be. For your safety, always get a customers information and let someone know who you are meeting with, what time and where you're going to be. It's a good idea to have a time frame to follow up with your office or family contact person to both confirm the appointment is over and to let them know you are ok. If possible, bring someone along with you as a back up.

Our prayers go out to his family.

Rudy
Social Media Guru at Trulia
Web Reference: http://www.truliablog.com/
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Mar 20, 2008
This is aweful. We had a similar situation here in Seattle about 6 years ago. Everyone is aware of the dangers and yet the nature of the business puts you at some risk. In my office we are happy to go on appointments with other agents. We have also allowed agents to tell prospective clients that we have an office policy that they need to come in and leave a photocopy of an id at the office for security reasons. Still it is good to have a reminder of the risks involved so we stay vigilant.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Mar 20, 2008
Gary....

Thank you so much. Sometime we are so eager for business we forget about our own safety. Thanks for posting this link.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Mar 20, 2008
Pam Winterba…, Real Estate Pro in San Ramon, CA
MVP'08
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