Wary of Vacant Homes, Florida Realtors Pack Heat

More real estate agents are applying for concealed weapons permits

By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff

Posted Apr 7, 2011 3:52 PM CDT

(Newser) – Real estate agent: a dangerous job? In Florida, some think that it is. Many of the homes on the market are vacant, and therefore a possible haven for crime—and as a result more and more real estate agents are considering packing heat. "You don't know what's waiting for you inside a property that's been sitting vacant for two or three years," one tells Marketplace. "So I spent the whole time on the phone, just so that someone knew where I was if something happened," she says of a recent solo visit to a vacant home with a graffiti-tagged barn.

And it's situations like those that have that agent, and others like her, taking gun courses in order to obtain a concealed weapons permit. Still others carry mace or tasers. Because one in seven Florida homes was in foreclosure at the end of last year, agents are finding themselves forced to take these listings or lose out on business. Says another also taking a gun class, "Just about everything I've sold in the last few years has been been a short sale or bank-owned"—and half of those were vacant.

In this May 19, 2009, photo, a pair of boarded up duplexes sit empty in Lehigh Acres, Fla.
In this May 19, 2009, photo, a pair of boarded up duplexes sit empty in Lehigh Acres, Fla.   (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
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