Is a concealed weapon your new appraisal tool?
The chances of you encountering an appraiser packing heat (carrying a gun) has increased recently. One of the big topics trending in the news these days is that of more people choosing to carry firearms. Many people support the right for American citizens to exercise their second amendment right to keep and bear arms while others are equally against it. I’m not writing this post to try to persuade anyone to think a certain way, however it is something that is on the minds of appraisers due to the nature of our business.
Appraisers, like real estate agents, can find themselves in compromising positions because our jobs require us to meet strangers in their homes or even be in vacant houses that may be occupied by people who shouldn’t be there, such as foreclosure properties that may have squatters. It is in these situations that a firearm could be useful, so today I’d like to discuss things to consider before adding a gun to your appraisal tool belt.
I recently listened to The Appraiser Coach Podcast where Dustin Harris, the host, interviewed two appraisers who currently carry firearms with them on appraisal inspections. It was interesting to hear the perspectives of someone actually doing it. I highly recommend that you listen to it as they bring up some very good points and reference real life experiences.
Concealed carry gun law
Many states have passed the concealed carry gun law which allows you to carry a concealed gun in public, so if you are interested in doing this you should first check to see if it is allowed in your state, and if it is what are the requirements to do so. You will have to pay a fee and have a background check to do this which is something appraisers are used to doing anyway right? 😉
The laws for the state of Alabama, which is where I live have the following requirements:
- Must be 18 years of age or older
- The permit is valid from 1 to 5 years
- The fee is $5 to $20 per year
- 30 day processing time
Things appraisers should consider about carrying a concealed weapon
If you are thinking about carrying a concealed weapon here are some things professionals say need to be considered:
- Are you prepared for the worst? It’s easy to think you may act a certain way in a dangerous situation, but are you really able to do so? Many professionals say that if you are not prepared for the consequences before hand you should not carry a firearm.
- Do you have a game plan? Many people carry a gun in their car, but if you do this is it really going to help you if you leave it there when going into a house?
- Have you had adequate training? Carrying a firearm is a serious commitment and should not be taken lightly. Just like anything else, if you want to be good at something you must spend the time practicing.
Putting the time in at the shooting range should be your number one priority in order to be proficient in handling the gun and to have confidence with it. Knowing gun safety is very important also and this cannot be learned by simply buying a gun and storing it in a drawer or glovebox of a car.
There are other things to consider which are not directly related to handing the gun. Do your clients know of your carrying policy? It might be a good idea to let them know from you rather than have a homeowner who sees your weapon and then calls them up to complain. Some homeowners may be good with it while others may not.
Some appraisers may even think that it is none of their client’s business whether they carry a firearm or not. If this is your feelings you should at least be considerate of the banks policy since you are their representative when visiting the property and many homeowners may associate you with the lender.
Alternatives to carrying a gun
As I said at the beginning, I’m not trying to sway anyone in any direction but rather bringing this up as food for thought. You might not feel comfortable carrying a gun but still want more protection than you have right now.
Some alternatives to a gun include mace or pepper spray, tasers, and even knives. Whatever tool you choose to protect yourself you should know how to use it and have an action plan. Running through various scenarios in your mind and what you might do to get out of them can be helpful since formulating a plan on the spot may not be possible.
It’s a good idea to let someone else know where you’ll be and when you plan to be back. Many appraisers work by themselves and this may not be possible. When this is the case you may want to consider a safety app for your phone. Most of these apps provide features for you to share your location with others and they can even ask on a recurring basis if you’re okay.
Being an appraiser can put us in some potentially dangerous situations. Carrying a gun can give us some piece of mind about our safety but doing so is also a big responsibility that should not be taken lightly. If you choose this option you should do all that is necessary to make yourself as knowledgeable and proficient as possible. There are other options as well but again, you should follow common safety tips and plan ahead for potential problems.
Are you an appraiser or real estate agent that carries a gun? I’d like to hear your take on the matter so please leave a comment below and lets continue the conversation. Thanks again for reading.