I wrote this in 2006. This January kind of reminds me of 2006 except the houses I am showing are not as expensive. Last night as I was showing houses my buyers were surprised that the home we were seeing had no for sale sign and the lights were off and we could not see the address. I thought of this article as I grabbed my ginormous flash light and handed it to one of the buyers.
Sellers, Can we talk?
It is winter, the days are short and it is cold out. You knew that already, please bear with me.
I go out house hunting with my client after he gets done working for the day. It is pitch black outside. Some homes have for sale signs on them others do not. We drive down the street using my handy GPS system, Miles, until we get to the right block.
I ask my client to open the window and shine my flash light on the houses as we drive by so we can see the addresses. He hesitates but knows that it is a long walk back to his car so he honors my request. The neighbors scurry over to their windows and look out as we slowly cruise by shining the bright light on the houses. So far the police have only been called once when I was outside a home shining my flash light on it, we were trying to look at the roof and the windows, the officer gave no indication that I had used my flashlight in an illegal manner.
We find the house, and walk to the front door. I don’t notice the ice on the walk and twist my knee as I try to maintain my balance while at the same time trying not to fall the wrong way and take the home buyer down with me. It is always at that exact moment that I remember, I am self employed and my disability insurance is indeed limited. I manage to remain standing, but twist my knee in the process.
My client holds the flash light so that I can work my keypad, and release the key from the lock box. The screen is back lit so I can choose the right menu but the numeric keypad is hard to see. I am lucky that it is not a push button lock box, these must have been designed by a genius. If the box is white, it has white numbers on it, if it is black the numbers are black, they can not be seen even with a flashlight.
On those I touch the buttons counting as I go, pressing the four button combination needed to unlock the box and release the key. I believe that if I ever do meet the person who came up with this popular design I may have some suggestions on how the product could be re-engineered and made a little more human friendly. A couple of weeks ago my knuckle hit a sharp edge on one of the boxes, my hands were cold and I did not notice until I saw a lot of blood and realized that it was my own.
We use the flashlight to find our way into the house, taking care to remove our shoes and leave them on the minute rug in the entryway without leaving a glob of snow on the floor and then stepping in it. I move on through the house, turning on lights. If we are lucky cujo is in the kennel or he is not vicious. I have only gotten bitten by a dog once while showing a home and so far I have been fast enough to dodge kitty before he lands, although once kitty got away and I ended up chasing him down the street in the snow while my shoes sat on the minute rug in the front entryway. (It is a huge no no for a REALTOR to let the cat get away)
I have to admit that the ferrets did give me a scare, when I flipped on the light and they were right in front of me, as did the life sized, fully clothed mannequin in the dark room in the corner of the basement. My client and I both screamed at the same time and were kind of embarrassed about it later, but we did have a good laugh. I have heard men scream before but not all that often. I rarely scream, I am not sure but screaming may even be a violation of the REALTOR code of ethics.
As we leave the house, I glance at my notes, the showing instructions emphasize that I am to turn off all of the lights and make sure that all doors are locked including the deadbolt. I follow the instructions and really feel sorry for the next agent that has to show the home.
Thanks for listening. My knee still hurts but I do feel better now that I have had the chance to get this all out in the open. It really does help to leave lights on, especially in front. It is hard to find the right address or unlock the door in the dark. My buyer really wants to buy a house and I want to help him, please help me get your house sold.
Also see Let there be light and Alarm Systems, I will add the words: from hell, and may write a follow up post with the title: “How many locks do you need anyway?” or “how come all your locks stick?” or “Why are each of the three locks on your front door keyed differently?” Just kidding, you get the idea.