Safety Tip For Homebuyers: No Matter How Tempted You May Be, Please Don't Do This!

For the second time in two weeks, I've been witness to what I think is alarming behavior on the part of a few home buyers.  I'd like to address it right away so that no one else feels tempted to do this.

I am referring to people who enter homes when neither the seller nor the agent is on the property, and the door has been left open or unlocked.

Granted, it goes without saying that sellers should not be leaving their doors open or unlocked in the first place. But sometimes there is no known reason for the door being open or unlocked.  It could have been left that way accidentally.  Or worse, it may be open in the wake of a burglary or other type of crime.  

A couple of Sundays ago, I arrived at my Open House at a home in West Seattle.  The home was occupied, but the seller was not going to be there during the open.  When I entered the home, I heard people talking.  I alerted them that I was a Realtor, and that I was there to hold the house open(I had never met the sellers; it was another agent's listing). 

As I approached the back bedroom, a young family was standing in the middle of the room.  They informed me that they were just driving by and saw the house and the Open Sunday 1-4 sign, and had walked around the back of the house.  They had tried the door, and since it was open they decided to come in and have a look around.   They could immediately tell by the shocked and bewildered look on my face that this was not a cool thing to do.  Apparently the seller had taken off moments before, and had left the back door open because he knew that I was coming.

Then, just yesterday, I get a call from someone who had some questions about one of my listings. I asked him if he had been by the property. He admitted to me that he had actually been inside because when he arrived the front door had been wide open.  He wasn't going to go in, he said, but then he saw some other people come out of the house.  They said, "go on in, the door's open!", so this guy went on in. 

Now, this is very worrisome to me.  I can't tell you why the door was open.  I go by the listing frequently to check on it but it happened regardless.  Due to the home being in a state of disrepair and having no electricity, I worry about people's safety, and about my seller's liability.  I also don't want anything to happen to the house or the tools and materials that are inside.

So I would like to ask that when you find yourself at a listing with the door ajar and no one around, that you do a quick gut check.  Most likely, your intuition is probably telling you not to go inside.  In this case, it's best to listen to that inner voice, for your own safety. 

Then, if you wouldn't mind, please take a moment to look at the yard sign and give the listing agent a quick call to alert him or her that the door is open.  We would be so very grateful!

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Comment balloon 4 commentsLisa Bosques • November 15 2007 07:11PM


I agree, don't just walk in.  I recieved a call one day last year from a guy who told me that he drove by my listing and the door was wide open.  He was concerned so he stepped inside the door to check it out and discovered that the window had been taken off the track and there were footprints on the new carpet.  I went over to check it out before calling the sellers.  Apparently someone had broken in and stolen the copper plumbing.  I was pretty freaked out going in there alone knowing that the property had most likely been broken into.  I won't be doing that again.  The good news is that the guy who found the door wide open actually wrote an offer and bought the house. 
Posted by Christina Moock, REALTOR - Cutler Real Estate (Cutler Real Estate) over 12 years ago
OH and sometimes neighbors think they can just barge right in while you are showing a property or doing a home inspection etc. 
Posted by Christina Moock, REALTOR - Cutler Real Estate (Cutler Real Estate) over 12 years ago
They are trespassing and could be arrested unlocked door or not.  You might want to polite let them know!
Posted by Cindy Jones, Pentagon, Fort Belvoir & Quantico Real Estate News (Integrity Real Estate Group) over 12 years ago

Exactly, Cindy.  It was like, once they heard the shock and disdain in my voice, the light bulb finally went on; "Oh, gee, I guess I really shouldn't have gone in like that." Well, DUH!

Christina, at least yours turned out well despite the copper plumbing being stolen!

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Posted by Lisa Bosques over 12 years ago

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