NEW YORK, Oct. 31, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- According to Punctuated Publishing, if your real estate agent won't meet you at a property before conducting an initial in-office consultation, or won't lead the way down to a house's basement, don't take it personally. Recent violence against real estate agents is changing the ways REALTORS® do business, and two new murder mystery novels, actually written by REALTOR®/authors, are underscoring the industry's inherent dangers in a more subtle and entertaining fashion than recent horrific newspaper headlines.
Much of the focus on dangers facing real estate agents was instigated by the murder of Arkansas-based REALTOR® Beverly Carter back in 2014. That's what inspired Bernice Gottlieb, an associate broker with William Raveis Legends Realty Group in Irvington, NY, to pen her somber murder mystery, Havoc-on-Hudson. In her author's note, citing the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics, Gottlieb says an average of 70 to 80 reported incidents of rape, robbery and homicide take place each year with real estate professionals. Moreover, since 2008, the number of real estate homicides nationwide exceeded those of police officers killed in the line of duty in that same period, she said.
Expired Listings, a second, more satiric and kinky real estate murder mystery, was published this past September. Its author, Dawn M. Barclay, an associate broker for Keller Williams Hudson Valley Realty writing as D.M. Barr, says she completed the book's outline long before Carter was murdered, specifically "as a warning to my fellow agents because I realized the risks inherent in this industry when I first become a REALTOR® back in 1999." She voices those concerns in the following quote between a fictional agency owner and the detective investigating the 'Realtor Retaliator' serial killer in her novel: "Most agents are women, usually very attractive women. We post glamour shots on our signs and business cards and then list every possible way to reach us. Then, how's this for brilliant, we advertise that we're going to be alone in an empty house for hours on a Sunday afternoon. We have strangers join us in our cars, or we ride in theirs. We eat food at open houses supplied by God knows who. If we're not asking for trouble, then I don't know who is."
With both actual and fictional dangers highlighting the vulnerabilities of real estate agents, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) has published a number of safety guidelines for its 1,500,000+ members. In addition, in an award-winning, consumer-based video titled, "Real Estate Safety and You," NAR explains to property buyers how agents might interact differently with them than they have in the past. Such precautions include:
- Agents initially meeting new clients at their office, not at properties for sale
- Agents requesting to see identification (Driver's License) and mortgage prequalification letters at first meet
- Agents driving separately from buyers to see properties (which is also more convenient if one or both parties have appointments directly afterwards.)
- Agent walking behind buyers at showings, and allowing buyers to inspect attics, basements and garages on their own
- Agents only showing vacant houses during daylight hours
- Buyers required to sign in and show identification at Open Houses, which may be staffed by more than one agent. (In fact, Barclay indicates that instead of traditional Open Houses, she hosts 'Traveling Home Shows,' where buyers meet several vendors, such as interior decorators, lawyers, contractors, etc., ensuring her safety along with a one-stop shopping experience for buyers.)
As both Gottlieb and Barclay are well aware, real estate violence is far more palatable in thriller novels than in their day-to-day business routines. By educating the public as to why new safety precautions have been put in place, both real estate agents and their clients can enjoy a more pleasurable and safe buying and selling experience.
Havoc-on-Hudson is available at Amazon or other fine book retailers.
For more information, contact Dawn M. Barclay at 845-893-0173.
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SOURCE Punctuated Publishing