U.S. Home Sales Dip To Lowest Rate In Six Months

MIAMI, FL – DECEMBER 22: A for sale sign is seen in front of a home as the National Association of Realtors released numbers for November that showed sales of previously owned homes fell 6.1 percent on December 22, 2014 in Miami, Florida. The report showed sales dropped to an annual rate of 4.93 million units, the lowest level since May. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Interacting with the public as part of your profession can be dangerous, especially if you work alone. A profession you might not immediately put into this category are the folks with the big smiles and firm handshakes who show homes for sale.

This story from the local CBS affiliate in St. Louis, Missouri highlights the risk real estate agents place themselves in when they open the door to an empty house for strangers.

Rhonda Galentine, an area real estate agent, said she began taking extra precautions ten years ago when a colleague was held at gunpoint.

“I got my CCW right after that, because it’s very unfortunate that there are people out there that…that’s what they want to do, is harm people,” said Galentine, who added that she carries when she holds an open house.

But it’s not just potential buyers she has to be wary of. “When I take buyers out and I’m showing vacant homes, it’s really important for me to be carrying because you never know who’s in those vacant homes lurking around.”

Though Galentine has made sure to have the proper training and permits, her gun is just one thing she relies on to stay safe. Before she even met with the CBS folks to do an interview, she made sure to check them out and verify that they were who they said they were. She’ll also question buyers to make sure they’re on the level, and she never goes into a basement alone with a stranger.

According to a story on the website of Veterans United Real Estate, the rental and leasing industry averaged 77 work-related deaths per year from 2008 to 2011. Of the 60 fatal injuries reported in the real estate industry in 2011, half were homicides. The story cites the story of Ashley Okland, a 27-year-old real estate agent who was killed inside a West Des Moines, Iowa model home in 2011; and of Ann Nelson, a 71-year-old real estate agent who was killed while showing a Wisconsin home in 2008.

In most situations where a real real estate agent has been killed on the job, they were meeting a client in an empty home—something that real estate agents do every day.

The site also reports that nearly 15 percent of male agents and 5 percent of female agents choose to carry guns on the job to feels safer.