Welcome to Safe & Sold™, the series dedicated to agent safety, presented by FOREWARN®.
Our first guest is Carl Carter, Jr., REALTOR® and the Founder of the Beverly Carter Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit dedicated to improving agent safety. His mom, REALTOR® Beverly Carter, tragically lost her life in 2014 at the hands of a couple posing as buyers.
“I am my mother’s son.”
Since his mother’s passing, Carl strives to honor her legacy through the message of safety. We are honored to have him join us today to discuss his perspective on bringing awareness to increased measures for agent safety.
“I felt a responsibility and opportunity to help.”
Carl was catapulted into the real estate space after his mother was deceived by two people posing as home buyers. They kidnapped her with the intent to hold her for ransom, but she tragically lost her life when the plan fell apart. In the aftermath of his loss, Carl wished to honor his mother by working to keep other agents safe.
Carl is now an influential advocate for safety awareness, having established the Beverly Carter Foundation in 2017. The foundation’s sole purpose is getting real estate agents home safe every day. The mission has grown over the years, but the goal remains the same. He feels that his mom’s story is one that we all can learn from. It has specific examples of decision points that agents can take when thinking about their business and their personal safety.
“There are things we don’t think about because we are good people.”
Carl sees his mother’s story as a very teachable experience for other agents. As good people, it’s hard to see the potential for there to be others with ill intentions. Yet the decision points that become clear in hindsight show that it’s easy to lose sight of these potential risks, especially in an industry that moves as fast as real estate.
“We don’t need to live in fear or paranoia, we need to live in preparedness.”
The perpetrators of his mother’s crime had built a false persona of themselves in order to deceive her. He believes the fake names, income, and spoofed contact information are where FOREWARN would have been a valuable tool for his mother in helping to flag the couple as potentially fraudulent and requiring caution.
When discussing safety, Carl says there is inherent discomfort. Being able to accept that discomfort—specifically, that there are bad people who exist and walk among us—is a critical first step in being more aware of risk. He hopes agents will then feel more empowered to say no to a situation that could jeopardize their wellbeing.
“We don’t want to put our safety in the backseat because we want to make a sale.”
Carl recognizes the stronger awareness that agent safety has gained in recent years. The safety conversation is not just about one type of risk—personal, financial, or otherwise—and it’s not exclusive to women. He believes overall safety has improved, with the pandemic showing how easily a lot of business can be done virtually which is a great risk mitigator for being alone with a stranger.
“I thought of your mom and I made a different choice.”
Carl says that agents will often share with him the times they used his mother’s experience to make a different, safer choice. They go on to say that they consistently use FOREWARN, and it offered insights when they needed to proceed with extra caution. He feels fortunate to be in a position where his mother’s story, along with tools like FOREWARN can have such a valuable impact on people.
“If a safety tool is too complicated, will you actually use it?”
When Carl thinks of safety, the biggest takeaway he has is that there can always be improvements.
When building out your safety protocol, he recommends employing multiple strategies to ensure the plan is well-rounded. He adds that agents must also be honest with themselves on what can they implement that they will actually use.
“In one meeting, one day, one showing, we lost her. That’s how quickly it happens.”
For agents that are struggling to prioritize their safety and building a robust safety plan, Carl encourages them to think about the people that need them home at the end of every day, and then go from there.
On the day that Carl’s mother was taken, it was a Thursday like so many before. She had shown thousands of homes throughout her career. Carl is hopeful that the use of continued awareness will get people to think about safety just a little bit more, to get them to tighten up any opportunities to be safer.
Thank you again to Carl for sharing his story. Stay tuned for the next episode of Safe & Sold, presented by FOREWARN!