Carl Carter, Jr., is a Realtor® and the Founder of the Beverly Carter Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit dedicated to improving agent safety. His mom, Realtor® Beverly Carter, lost her life at the hands of a couple posing as clients in 2014. Since his mother's passing, Carl has dedicated as much time as possible to spreading the message of safety. He was recently appointed as a Delegate to the National Safety Council, where he advocates for the safety of lone workers. He has a Master and Bachelor of Business Administration degrees from the University of AR in Little Rock, AR, and an Executive Masters in Public Service from the Clinton School of Public Service.
Q. You founded the Beverly Carter Foundation back in 2017. Can you talk a bit about why you chose to start the Foundation and share more about the Foundation’s mission?
A. Losing my mom was, and continues to be, a devastating tragedy to my family. Although mom had followed many industry-standard safety protocols, it wasn’t enough. Within this industry she loved so much, her murder catapulted a national conversation about safety and I’m thankful to have joined the conversation.
When asked “Why Beverly?” her killer explained that she was “a woman that worked alone — a rich broker.” My mom was targeted based on perceptions that could just as easily apply to any of us within the industry. As I’ve told my mother’s story through the years, I’ve met hundreds of agents that have been victimized while working. I carry each of their stories with me and they fuel my passion for raising awareness through the Beverly Carter Foundation.
Q. What are some safety tips you recommend for Realtors®?
A. 1. "Bad Guys" fit no definable profile. As many people have expressed since Beverly’s murder, “I would never think that doing business with a woman could be dangerous.” Beverly’s captors broke the mold of what many people think a “bad guy” fits.
2. Insist upon an in-person, pre-showing buyer consultation in a public place. Never let the first time you meet a client be at a vacant home for a showing. During the pandemic it may be more feasible to have virtual consultations that can be shared or recorded.
3. Obtain identification & share it with colleagues in a secure location. Consistently obtain identification on all new clients.
4. Share your itinerary & location. Establish a buddy system with at least five colleagues and family members. Whenever possible, use technology to remove any inefficient, manual processes for sharing your itinerary.
Q. What would you say is a good general safety plan to follow when hosting an open house?
When it comes to open houses, agents should have a plan that focuses on accountability. Working in pairs, adding video surveillance, digital sign-in processes, and encouraging local law enforcement and neighbors to drop-by are all great ways to add accountability (and remove anonymity) to those touring the home. While we want everyone that enters the home to feel welcome, we need obvious measures in place to deter criminal intent.
Q. What are some safety apps you would recommend to Realtors®?
For location sharing, I recommend enabling smart phone GPS sharing at all times with trusted family members and/or colleagues. Life360, a location sharing app, enables the creation of multiple ‘circles’ to organize your familial, friendship, and professional groups nicely. For new prospect screening, I use the Forewarn app daily. For safety during showings, I’m a huge fan of the SentriLock safety feature (note that it must be enabled).
Q. What extra safety precautions should Realtors® be taking during this coronavirus pandemic?
Research has found the virus can live on ‘plastic and stainless steel surfaces up to 70 hours,’ so be especially mindful when handling lock boxes and door knobs. Beyond the safety considerations, I’ve also implemented a process to notify the seller’s agent after my showings that PPE was worn and door knobs were disinfected. I think it is a nice way to let the sellers know we were mindful of their well-being while touring their property.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
Undoubtedly, my mom toured thousands of homes throughout her career as an agent. However, all it took was ONE appointment for her life to end. We must remain diligent about our personal safety so we can get home to our family each day.