COLORADO SPRINGS — Real estate professionals in the pikes peak region say they have a busy and rewarding job right now, but their line of work can also come with serious safety risks. News5 looks at why both real estate professionals and consumers should be careful when looking to buy, sell or rent a new home.
In a competitive housing market both real estate professionals and consumers find themselves dealing with people they don't know on a regular basis and sometimes the dangers get overlooked.
Jennifer Browne and Adrian Manzanares both had careers in law enforcement before they became Colorado real estate professionals. In addition to helping people buy and sell homes they're passionate about training their colleagues to protect themselves on the job.
"Whether it's a robbery situation, or just an assault type of situation, it's really important since we are out with people that we don't usually know very well to begin with that we have these conversations," said Browne.
"You got signs out, you know, faces on billboards, faces on park benches, stuff like that. People think that's got to be a money maker," said Manzanares.
In August of 2019, a man showed up at an open house just outside of Denver and cornered a female real estate agent in an upstairs bedroom threatening her with a knife and bear mace. The agent grabbed a gun from her ankle holster and shot at the suspect who ran and was later arrested and charged.
"We're doing a lot of those things alone. So open houses unfortunately can be a big target for that and I stress to agents don't do that alone," said Browne.
In 2017, a crime against a real estate agent and their client hit close to home.
"The vehicle that was following them pulled up behind them and robbed them at gunpoint. Just down in Lorson Ranch. This hit home right? You didn't even hear about that here," said Manzanares.
The Pikes Peak Association of Realtors put out a safety alert after the crime saying "As a real estate agent, you are vulnerable to harassment, robbery at gunpoint, kidnapping and even murder."
The message included a mention of a national survey was mentioned showing 40% of Realtors say they have been in a work-related situation that made them fear for their safety.
"I get told all the time I could've died four times last week and it's just amazing the little things that mean so much that you let go by," said Manzanares.
Even consumers who are looking for a place to live and are working with someone outside of a property management or real estate office should be aware of the risks.
"It's important to have that stuff in the back of your mind because unfortunately you get so busy talking about properties and the whole real estate transaction sometimes the safety side can go out the window," said Browne.
To improve safety, real estate pros are using smart phone apps and even technology on door lock boxes to stay in touch with their offices.
As for consumers, the best advice is to work through real estate professionals to avoid potential scams and safety hazards you might encounter on your own.
Here are some safety tips for real estate professionals: https://www.nar.realtor/safety/56-safety-tips-for-realtors
FOR CONSUMERS... Deep Dive coverage from KOAA News5 on fake rental properties and what to watch for: https://www.koaa.com/news/on-your-side/cspd-investigators-want-people-to-know-about-recent-uptick-in-costly-rental-scams