An agent who was hit over the head more than 10 times with a crescent wrench during an open house is facing a long and difficult road to recovery, friends and colleagues say.

Lenora Farrington, an agent with Keller Williams Realty in Virginia, was hosting an open house at Mariners Landing Subdivision in Huddleston this Saturday when a man came in and, after getting her attention, hit her over the head numerous times. Kathryn Bishop, who is Farrington’s friend and roommate, said that the attacker repeatedly struck at Farrington with a wrench.

Lenora Farrington

“She was hit in the head 10 times with about a 12-inch-long crescent wrench,” Bishop told Inman. “I don’t even know how she’s alive. It’s unbelievable.”

The attack led to Farrington’s hospitalization at Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital with several skull fractures and gaping head injuries. While Bishop confirmed that Farrington was released from the hospital earlier today, friends say that she faces a long and expensive recovery period — both due to medical bills and emotional trauma suffered from being attacked while working.

“She fought him,” Grant told the NBC-affiliated station. “I don’t know that I could have fought him like that. I mean, it’s amazing. She’s not a very big person. She’s just a small, you know, woman and he is a huge, huge guy.”

Right after the attack, the Roanoke Valley Association of Realtors sent out email and Facebook alerts advising members to stay safe and hold off on hosting any open houses for the time being. Walter Grewe, the association’s president, said that it sent waves of shock and grief throughout the community.

“It’s shocking and saddening to everyone in our area,” Grewe said, adding that they are extremely concerned about the prevalence of such attacks. “I just can’t wrap my head around to how you make the decision to attack somebody like that.”

While they encouraged agents to not host open houses alone and screen attendants, the association found that local homebuyers have been resistant toward providing an ID or meeting in the office before an open house. As a result, they have been trying, but struggling, to find a realistic way to prevent this type of attack in the future.

“We’re in a very intense market and inventory is about a third of what it normally is,” Grewe said. “Competition for these homes is unprecedented. It’s hard to say ‘I need you to come into the office so that I can get a copy of your driver’s license before I show you houses.’”

But with the frequency of such attacks and the coronavirus outbreak, there has been a growing chorus of industry voices arguing that open houses, which by their nature invite anyone who is interested to walk into a home, are too dangerous to be as frequent as they are now. Some believe that private showings with pre-qualified buyers, which are already the norm in luxury real estate, should be extended to all branches of the industry.

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