Violence Against Real Estate Agents on the Rise

Images: Real estate agent Sara Trost gunned down while waiting to show a house for rent. Coral Springs police investigating the crime. 

By R. Michael Brown

Real estate agent Sara Trost of Parkland, Florida, couldn't have known that she wouldn't make it home to her husband and three-year-old daughter after she attempted to show a rental home recently. An evicted renter at the property allegedly shot and killed Trost as she was waiting in the driveway to show the house to prospective new renters.

Violence in the real estate communities across the country is on the rise as headlines show recently: 

  • Man Arrested for Allegedly Threatening to Ambush, Rape Female Real Estate Agents in Multiple Miss. Counties
  • A real estate agent was killed by an 84-year-old client in a murder-suicide in Portsmouth, Virginia because the client didn't end up liking the house
  • A former probation officer has been found guilty for her role in the kidnapping and killing of a Minneapolis real estate agent.
  • Broker Hires Couple to Pose as Home Buyers and Kill a Fellow Real Estate Agent
  • Real estate agent killed while showing home, Nebraska cops say
  • Arkansas realtor Beverly Carter believed she was meeting a married couple for one last showing at a rural Arkansas property, but the meeting would ultimately cost the 50-year-old her life
  • Man charged in area real estate agent cyber-stalking case, Lubbock murders, dies in jail
  • Milwaukee realtor James Olsen thought he was showing a rental property, but it turned out it was a setup. The realtor was robbed at gunpoint and pistol whipped while on the job.

The 2021 Realtors and Member Safety Report from the National Association of Realtors shows that 41% of agents feared for their personal safety during showings. In addition, 32% feared for their safety while meeting a new client for the first time at a secluded location/property.

Most attacks occurred against women agents, but men are not immune. Thirty-eight percent of agents said that they have participated in a self-defense class.A growing number of agents are now signing up for self-defense classes.

After Trost was ambushed and fatally shot, others are on high alert.At a brokerage in Palm Beach Gardens, real estate agents are learning how to fight back against a possible attacker. 

"When I'm working with a new client, I will get them pre-approved right away to know who they are," Jamie Garber, of Echo Fine Properties, said in an interview with WPTV5. When she goes to showings, safety is always in the back of her mind.NAR offers safety tips:

Top 5 Safety Action Items for Realtors

  • Plan Your Safety Strategy
  • Tips and Best Practices
  • Training Videos
  • Personal Protection Resources
  • Take the Realtor Safety Pledge

See More [NAR Safety]

Stay tuned to Go Home TV for more news and information about this important subject.

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