A debate has broken out in the gun-lovin’ U-S-of-A over whether or not property managers and real estate agents – particularly those in more 'dodgy' areas – should arm themselves with guns when showing properties to psychologically-unhinged clients.
And, before you dismiss the claim out of hand, if the article – which appeared on a website entitled Veterans United – is to be believed, there could be good reason for realtors to ‘pack some heat’.
According to the piece, of the 60 fatal injuries reported in the US real estate industry in 2011, exactly half of these involved people being shot dead by their (clearly disgruntled) clients.
The firearms message appears to have been heeded, with 15 per cent of male real estate agents and five per cent of females now carrying a concealed firearm to property inspections in the US.
A Magnum .44 not your thing? Then the article also recommends pepper spray, tasers (43 US states now allow them to be carried without a permit), or a knife (10 per cent of US realtors are carrying them) as options for agents wanting more personal protection.
One fan of the concealed handgun option is Rob Hahn, founder of real estate consulting firm 7DS Associated. Rob was quoted as saying, “Supposing that a realtor doesn’t have the time to devote herself to becoming a martial arts expert in between showings, marketing, family, having a social life … why wouldn’t you advise her to get a gun?”
However, the voice of reason in all this appears to Yvonne Aileen, a principal broker from Portland, Oregon. “Recently I was asked to do an open house at a foreclosed property,” Yvonne revealed. “I didn’t like the look of the property when I arrived. I unlocked the door, peered inside, and then relocked the door and left. Would I have stayed if I’d had a gun? No. No matter how you feel about guns, they should not be used in lieu of common sense.”
Not to be deterred, many comments on the online article were favourable towards the idea, even recommending the best guns for the real estate trade. “I show a lot of foreclosures and distressed property,” wrote 'Sam'. “I carry a 9mm Glock and a Ruger LCP 380.”
Meanwhile, 'Eric' – who carried a Sig 938 which is “small and light” – offered this advice: “If an agent is going to take the responsibility of carrying a firearm, I suggest they take some classes on shooting dos and don’ts and also spend a lot of time at the range”, before signing off “happy selling and be safe”.
At the time of writing, Residential Property Manager was unsure if the practice would become widespread in the Australian real estate industry.