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Today marks one year since Beverly Carter’s murder – the killer has yet to meet justice

One year ago, Beverly Carter left to show a home and never returned. Her murderer has yet to be tried, and the industry has taken pause to consider their own safety, but more must be done.

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beverly carter

Beverly went missing on Thursday the 25th of September, 2014.

It’s been exactly a year to the day after Beverly called her husband Carl to say she intended to show a home on Old River Road in Scott, a small town east of Little Rock at around 5:30pm to a potential cash buyer.

After three and half hours of no contact, her husband went to the home and found his wife’s Cadillac with her purse and wallet inside, the front door of the house was wide open, but she was nowhere to be found. He then reported her disappearance to police.

Social media lit up for days

This was really the first time that social media had participated on a national scale, with the disappearance of one of our own. Realtors across the country watched and waited with bated breath over that weekend hoping that she would be found safe and well.

The timelines after Beverly went missing:

Thursday 25th Beverly does not return from a showing. Husband Carl later finds Beverly’s car at the house, but she is missing. Late into that evening, he receives uncharacteristic texts from his wife’s phone.

On Friday 26th Pulaski County deputies shared with the media that crews were out searching for Beverly.

On Saturday 27th more than 250 volunteers, many of them Realtors, helped in the search for Carter. A Facebook page was created surrounding the effort to find Beverly.

The hashtag #FindBeverly began to circulate on Twitter.

Sunday the 28th Deputies released information on a man named Arron Michael Lewis, 33, who was suspected in Carter’s disappearance. Crews and volunteers continued to search for Carter.

Monday 29th Arron Lewis, an active parole since August 2013, was apprehended by Little Rock Police. Crews continue to search for Carter.

Tuesday the 30th Sheriff’s Office reports Lewis admitting to kidnapping Carter, but would not say where she was. Police used telephone records of both Lewis and Carter to trace a location off of Highway 5 in Pulaski County about 20 miles from the home she was showing.

A search led investigators to Carter’s body, which was bound by duct tape in a shallow grave, on a construction site where Lewis once worked.

Lewis was formally charged with capital murder, kidnapping and being a felon in possession of a firearm.

The hashtag, #RememberBeverly, began to trend on social media sites.

How it’s still playing out:

On October 30th Crystal Lowery 41, Lewis’s estranged wife was arrested and charged with one count of Capital Murder and Kidnapping.

July 7th 2015 Crystal Lowery pleaded guilty to first degree murder. She was sentenced to 30 years in prison and will testify at the trial of her estranged husband Arron Lewis.

Sept 25th 2015 a year later Aaron Lewis has yet to stand trial, which is currently scheduled for January 2016.

Unfortunately there is no swift justice here, and no closure for the family yet either.

Back when he was originally arrested

When asked by a reporter during the perp walk back why he did it, Arron Lewis, a repeat felon, coldly answered:

She was just a woman that worked alone — a rich broker.”

But Beverly was way more than that

…she was a successful confident woman, married to husband Carl for 35 years. She was mother of three sons and a grandmother several times over, with another on the way.

But there were also years of hardship, and their own tragedy when one of her sons was killed in a car wreck. But things had improved and the extended family enjoyed beach vacations together and boating on the nearby lake.

To learn more about Beverly and her life, this tribute was written with the help of the family.

That fateful day

With over a decade of experience, Beverly recorded the names and phone numbers in an appointment book. She always told someone the address of a home and when she would be there to show it.

On Sept. 25th she wrote down the name and number of a “potential cash buyer” who wanted to see a large home at 14202 Old River Drive in Scott.

She didn’t know the name, number were fake

If it’s one thing we should all learn from this tragedy is that no one should ever meet strange prospects at the property and that we need to verify their identity beforehand.

Unfortunately, there must still be some real estate agents not following this advice, as we have continued to read about attacks on real estate agents almost every month since.

We have called for a National Safety Standard, similar to the one that is already in place in the apartment rental and travel industries – here is the blueprint. We should all stand together and make it so…

RIP Beverly Carter

PS: Despite a reward of $150,000, Sidney Cranston Jr. a real estate agent from Kingman AZ, has been missing since June 16th 2015. Call the Kingman Police Department at (928) 753-1911 if you have any information.

Peter Toner is a third generation real estate agent who has been practicing for nearly two decades. He is the Founder of Verify Photo ID - a safety app that verifies the identity of strange prospects before you meet - in three simple steps; it includes a Safety Monitor with panic alerts.

Real Estate Brokerage

Red flags that signal potential homebuying regrets for your clients

(BROKERAGE) When helping clients buy a home, steer your buyers away from these potential dangers in order to avoid regrets.

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Man seated in trunk of car, head in hands as he feels homebuying regret. Avoid these with your clients.

Satisfied clients aren’t buyers who have just found the perfect home – their customer swho bought the perfect home, and still feels great about it a year later.

Buyer’s remorse is a real risk, especially on a large, expensive purchase like a home.

Not just a number

As a real estate agent, you can certainly pressure your customers to make a quick decision just to close the deal, but that’s not how you create lasting relationships or satisfied clients.

Instead, help buyers make the best decision they can so that they don’t have regrets later.

Tim Lemke at Wisebread has offered a list of the “Biggest Regrets of New Homeowners.” By examining what homeowners are most likely to regret after purchase, you can help your clients avoid find a home that they can be happy with for years to come.

Money regrets

According to Lemke, most post-purchase regrets arise when the buyer fails to budget or properly finance the purchase. This includes buying a home that is too expensive, making a down payment that is too small, setting up the wrong kind of mortgage, or making the purchase with a low credit score or while still in debt.

Help your client create a budget for the home that does not exceed 30% of the household’s gross income – and stick to it!

The budget should also factor in at least 20% of the cost as a down payment. If the down payment is too small, the available loans will be less than ideal, and the buyer will lose money on private mortgage insurance.

False hope regrets

You should also advise clients to avoid other common pitfalls that can leave homeowners dissatisfied. A fixer-upper is great if the client is handy, but if he or she doesn’t know how to do home repairs and renovations, they could easily end up with an unlivable property that will cause stress and require a lot of time and money to repair.

In order to avoid other unforeseen repairs, make sure your clients also get the house inspected so that they don’t end up with surprise problems.

Diligence regrets

Finally, encourage your clients to not only check out the house itself, but to research the surrounding area. Too often, buyers fall in love with a house, but end up regretting their choice of neighborhood.

Help your clients make the best decision they can – no regrets!

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Real Estate Brokerage

How to spot If a client or fellow agent is lying to you, and get the truth out

(BUSINESS NEWS) When a client or even an agent on the other side of the deal is lying, here is how to pull the truth out of them.

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Woman and man in an argument determining if one was lying.

Trust is important when it comes to running your business. So what should you do if you suspect that one of your team members, or even a client might be lying to you?

Shining a blinding light in their eyes and pounding on the table to demand answers may work on TV, but it’s not very effective for real people, says retired Green Beret Sergeant Major Karl Erickson.

Erickson, who perfected the art of identifying fibbers and extracting truths while in the military, and by studying interrogation techniques with John E. Reid & Associates, recently shared his insight.

First step – establish truthful behavior.

He notes that it is harder than people think to tell if someone is lying based on their body language alone. Sure, liars may have shifty eyes and jiggling knees, but so do honest people who are just nervous.

He suggests starting off by asking innocuous questions about things that the person will likely be truthful about. You could even use Facebook to find out more about the person, so that you can ask them innocent questions about their family or their latest vacation.

That way, you can establish an idea of the person’s general behavior.

If they break a sweat and bite their nails while telling the truth, then you’ll know that these habits aren’t necessarily associated with lying.

If you start by asking questions they won’t lie about, then slowly turn up the heat, you’ll be more likely to notice if they start behaving differently when you get to the juicy stuff.

Ask a question in various ways.

Erickson also recommends asking the same question at least three different ways. A liar won’t likely mess up their story, even when asked repeatedly.

However, they may reveal “carefully repeated phrases” and an “overly deliberate choice of words” that suggest that they’ve rehearsed their answers.

Don’t try to intimidate.

Being friendly and compassionate works better than intimidation. Erickson says that he’ll tell someone, “if I was in your shoes, I’d probably have done the same thing.”

Soften them up, and they’ll be more likely to confess.

Tell a version of the story.

Lastly, Erickson suggests telling the version of the story that you imagine could have happened.

The more you elaborate and exaggerate, the more likely the person will interrupt you to correct your assumptions, resulting in at least a partial confession.

Good luck! You deserve to know the truth.

This story was first published here in September of 2016.

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Real Estate Brokerage

5 steps you need to take in order to provide next-level customer service

(BROKERAGE) Some small steps that business owners take in order to show customers appreciation, loyalty, and service that turns into business success.

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Person holding phone representing customer service.

I can’t think of the last time I called a business in need of help – it could have been my cable provider or the electric company – and I was immediately reminded of what they couldn’t do for me rather than what they could. It makes me wonder if customer service is becoming a lost art or maybe it’s a generational thing, that people at a certain age demand too much as customers.

I’m not expecting a mint under my pillow or even a gift card. Although both would be nice. But what I am expecting is to be treated as the asset that I am: a customer. Call me silly, but last time I checked, without customers, the bills don’t get paid and the mouths don’t get fed. If that’s not enough to treat customers like royalty, I don’t know what is.

It’s the little things

It’s easy to be on the outside looking in, but I’ve noticed that some of the most successful small (and even large) business owners got to where they are by keeping an eye- not on the bottom line- but on the little things. You know, those crazy small steps that business owners take in order to show customers appreciation and loyalty and that can go a long way in building and sustaining fruitful relationships (that in turn translates into sustained business).

Every face-to-face is showtime

It’s been said that time is money, so think of time well-spent as an investment. Three minutes spent talking to a customer shapes his or her impression of your company more than the combination of your name, pricing, design, website, and product features. This is your shining moment to be the best you can be, to blow the person away with how cool it was to contact you.

Customer vs. Company (and guess who wins)

This is probably a no-brainer, but if you want great customer service, you need to make a choice up front and decide that your customers’ happiness is your top priority, even above company profitability, and then make sure everyone in your company knows it and acts that way.

Be generous

All great service comes from a feeling of generosity and abundance. All terrible service comes from a mindset of scarcity, from business owners who feel they’ll go out of business if they don’t fiercely guard their bottom line. So share. Be nice. Give refunds. Take a little loss. You can afford it. Of course, it’s also just smart business. Losing 10 cents on extra sauce can mean winning the loyalty of a customer who will spend $1,000 with you over the next 10 years and tell 20 friends you’re awesome.

Take the high road

Whenever a customer is upset, let the person know he or she was right and the company was wrong. The customer wins. You lose. And you’re prepared to do whatever it takes to make the person happy again.

Happily ever after

There are a lot of great lessons to be learned out there and certainly, this is not the be-all-end-all when it comes to customer service. But if you treat your customers right, after awhile the mindset becomes part of your social fabric.

It’s just the right thing to do.

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