It’s a good thing I checked (my vacant listing)!

As a courtesy, I periodically check on my client’s properties when they are vacant.  Mostly, I want to make sure they haven’t burnt down (although I guess I would hear about that, right?).  But, I have also learned from years of experience that “you never know what you’ll find; and it’s a good idea to just check from time to time”.

Recently, as I went to open the lock box for one of my listings, to take a quick look around inside, I realized that the key was MISSING from the lock box.  My surprise got WORSE when I realized that another Agent had accidentally left the key in the door lock!

It doesn’t seem all that complicated to me: when you’re done showing a house, leave it the way you found it.  If the lights were off, turn them back off.  If the house was locked, be sure to lock it up.  By all means, don’t leave the key in the lock — especially on a vacant house!

Believe it or not, this is the THIRD time I’ve come across this over the years.  Oddly (or maybe not) two of the other three times were by the SAME agent.  I guess he just can’t get it coordinated.  (At least now I know to always check on my listings, after certain Agents show a property.)

We all make mistakes; myself included.  But, many mistakes can be avoided by developing good habits and/or by double-checking your work.

Early in my career, I recall being haunted with anxiety that I couldn’t remember if I locked a particular house or not.  It was such a busy day, showing about ten houses.  I couldn’t visualize myself locking one particular house.  I couldn’t pull up the memory.  So, I wasn’t sure if I had locked it or not.

So, I drove all the way back to the house — just to make sure.  I was worried for nothing; I had locked the house.  I was just distracted while doing it, by talking with my client (so I couldn’t remember doing it).

After that, I decided I needed a better system.  Nowadays, when I show houses to Buyers, I always leave my car keys on the floor near the front door and lock box.  This way, I cannot drive away without remembering to lock the house and put the key back in the lock box.  And, then I always give the door handle one last twist (to make sure it’s locked, and not just closed), before I take my first step to walk away.

Ahhh, the intricacies(?) of real estate….