Due to the public nature of the job, being a realtor can often be risky and even dangerous. Showings and open houses put real estate agents in vulnerable positions with people they hardly know (or don’t know at all), and sometimes, things take a turn for the worse.
This article is about four of those tragic situations—all of which will leave you speechless.
Covering these realtor horror stories is important because it shines a light on the field’s safety risks and provides an opportunity to share preventive strategies that will help keep them from happening in the future.
Female Realtor Fends Off Attacker During an Open House
In 2020, a Colorado realtor named Dawna Hetzler found herself in a life-threatening situation with a man posing as an interested client.
She was hosting an open house at a two-story home, and after showing the man the downstairs area, Hetzler led him upstairs to finish the tour.
As she was showing the master bedroom, he pulled out a knife, a rope, and a can of bear spray and told her to get in the closet…
But little did he know, Hetzler was carrying a concealed firearm.
She was in shock and couldn’t believe what was happening, but she had trained for situations like these. She drew her gun and pointed it at the attacker, but it didn’t stop him from spraying her with bear spray.
Her skin and eyes were on fire, but luckily, she still managed to get a shot off in his direction. Whether he was hit or not is unclear, but it was enough to scare him off for good. The lingering effects of the bear spray made it difficult, but Hetzler was able to find her phone downstairs, call 911, and escape unharmed.
Female Real Estate Agent Suffers Skull Damage After Open House Attack
Lenora Farrington, a realtor operating out of Bedford County, Virginia, was conducting an open house one Saturday in 2020 when the unthinkable happened.
A man arrived and toured the home as you normally would, giving Farrington his personal information before he left.
But soon after, he came back with a wrench and began assaulting the real estate agent with it, trying to hit her over the head.
Farrington is a practicing second-degree black belt, so she was able to put up a fight. But unfortunately, the attacker still struck her with the wrench over ten times, causing severe, permanent damage to her skull.
Thankfully, Bedford County police arrested the man later that day and charged him with aggravated malicious wounding…
And her friend set up a GoFundMe to try and cover her extensive medical bills.
To this day, in an incredible display of generosity, almost three thousand people have donated over $168,000 to support Farrington on her recovery journey.
Realtor Narrowly Escapes Sexual Assault at Open House
A realtor was putting on an open house by herself in Tinley Park, Illinois, when a man showed up to tour the home. He was the only potential “client” that showed up that day, so she had no one else in the house with her.
The agent showed him a few rooms in the home, and then he asked to see the basement, so she turned to lead him there. At that moment, she felt a strange vibration in her back.
When she turned around, she saw that the man tried to immobilize her with a stun gun, but as luck would have it, the weapon didn’t work effectively. He tried to prevent her from leaving, but she managed to get away and call the police.
When officers arrested the assaulter (an ex-convict), they found an unused condom in his pocket—undoubtedly something he planned to use if the situation played out differently. Police charged him with aggravated battery/great bodily harm, unlawful use of a weapon by a felon, and attempted aggravated criminal assault, and set his bond at one million dollars.
Realtor Fatally Shot During Robbery at Model Home
Of all the realtor horror stories we’ve covered today, this one is by far the most tragic.
In 2018, Steven Wilson was doing business from a model home in suburban Maryland when a robber attempted to break in through the back door. When that didn’t work, he entered through the front door and confronted the realtor.
The robber immediately shot him and then stole his phone, laptop, keys, and power cables.
Despite being severely wounded, Wilson was still able to reach for his phone and call 911. But he could hardly speak.
The dispatcher could make out that he needed an ambulance, but other than that, all they could hear was heavy breathing and then the shooter’s voice in the background asking, “Where is the money? Who are you talking to?”
By the time the police arrived, Wilson had died from his wound.
Luckily, however, with the help of the local community, the police captured the murderer within thirty-one hours. In 2020, he was sentenced to life in prison.
Your Complete Guide to Realtor Safety…
Unfortunately, in the world we live in today, realtor horror stories like these are all too real.
If you or someone you know works in real estate, check out our comprehensive guide on realtor safety—complete with thirty-eight essential tips to keep you safe on the job. We couldn’t squeeze them all into one article, so you can find Part 1 here and Part 2 here.
In addition to these crucial realtor safety tips, it’s absolutely vital to have a dependable way to ensure rapid emergency response if things turn dangerous.
That’s what makes the Rescu app such a valuable realtor safety solution.
Streamlined and powered by state-of-the-art technology, Rescu is guaranteed to provide faster emergency response times than 911.
With just two taps on your smartphone or Apple Watch, you can…
- Send police, fire, or ambulance services to your exact location (anywhere in the US) without saying a word.
- Notify all listed emergency contacts that you’ve sent an emergency alert.
- Automatically send pre-registered personal and medical information to first responders so they know how best to care for you when they arrive.
No matter how remote your property may be, Rescu has your back twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.
There are plenty of realtor safety apps that provide valuable services and solutions. But none offer the fastest way to get help in an emergency. Download the Rescu app to take your safety plan to the next level today.