Charleston, SC Posts


What do you do when the door is ajar on a vacant property?

I was showing property downtown last week in Hampton Park.  We got to a house close to Burke High and the stadium.  My notes said the property was vacant so I was surprised to see the front door open.  As I knocked, yelled and then peeked in, it was clearly vacant, however, I was concerned about the door being left open.  My client and I waited on the front porch as my mind raced. First I called the listing agent. No answer, he's on vacation. So I called the back up number.  The agent had no idea and didn't have the slightest idea of what to do.  My client really wants to see the house not to mention her schedule is crazy so it may have been now or never.  Then I remembered! I have mace in the car. So I rush to the car and grab the canister. I asked me client to follow behind me.  I knocked and announced our entrance into each room.  We cleared the first floor and we relaxed.  As we went upstairs, it felt eery again to which I held my arms straight out prepared to punch the red button.  All was well.  As I tried to lock up, I noticed the problem.  The catch for the door was stuck in the door so it wasn't grabbing the frame.  I called the back up agent to let him know we were alive but they needed to get someone to the property to secure the building.  As we walked out, I noticed the Charleston Detention Center van carrying community service candidates.  I'm not so sure about the area. In hindsight, I should have called the police. Funny how one block can make a difference.  The property would make a great investment however the proximity to the stadium could be a turn off on resale, even though the price is right for now.  When it comes to vacant properties, there are risks and sometimes surprises.  Did I take too big a risk by taking my client in?  She was adamant about seeing it. What's your worst story?

Michele Reneau, ABR, GRI, CRS

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Comment balloon 6 commentsMichele Reneau • July 17 2008 11:40PM


Been there done that...then there were the cat's that jumped out of the window when I was trying to open the lock box...One property that I showed...door wouldn't lock...I was waiting to find the homeless hiding out...scary sometimes...

Posted by Karen Monsour, REALTOR, SSRS - Sells FL Waterfront, Short Sale Expert! (Coldwell Banker Fort Lauderdale Beach) over 10 years ago

At the time I'm sure it was scary, but in hindsight it is a funny story.  I'm familiar with the area and I'm not sure what I would have done.  I don't carry mase, so I would have had to rely on my cat like reflexes to defend myself.  LOL!  Amazing what we will go though to sell a house!

Posted by Michael Johnson, Metro Charleston SC (Carolina One Real Estate) over 10 years ago

Funny story really, but it could have been tragic.  Gut instincts are ussually what we need to follow...I know...I'm being preachy, but better to be alive any time.

Posted by Larry Bettag, Vice-President of National Production (Cherry Creek Mortgage Illinois Residential Mortgage License LMB #0005759 Cherry Creek Mortgage NMLS #: 3001) over 10 years ago

Larry-you are right. Funny in hindsight, but could have been not so funny.  I agree with Karen and Michael--Sometimes it's crazy what we do to sell a house without thinking.

I heard of a local agent that got her buyer qualified, went through all the right steps, showed him property, to then see him on America's Most Wanted!  I guess we just never know.

Michael-Ironic thing is that I won the mace the morning of the showing at our sales meeting.  I'm glad I have it!


Posted by Michele Reneau, Realtor, GRI ~ Charleston, SC Relocation Experts Team (Certified Staging Professional (CSP) Elite Instructor) over 10 years ago

That is an eerie story.... you probably should not have shown the home, but all was well in the end.

My worst story was when I went to visit an owner occupied property for a friend who happened to be the listing agent & needed me to look at it for an investor interested in flipping it.  It was owned by a family that also owned a restaurant & apprently had all the employees living in their home.  Every room was full of twin or full beds - I think there were 7 of them inside this small 3 bedroom house (1 queen, 2 fulls and 4 twins). 

Because I was supposed to identify what was salvagable I had the unenviable job of assessing appliances, cupboards, etc.  When I opened the kitchen freezer, on the door was a snake in full 'hisss' mode frozen solid in a baggie.  I barely recovered from this the rest of the time in the home.

Everywhere I turned there was grease, clothes, soiled unsheeted mattresses.  The wallpaper was peeling - everthing was gross.  Finally when I had to go outside and assess the detached garage (aka shed) I hit a block where I just couldn't walk inside it.  I was alone and I felt as if I was in a movie where the people in the theater are yelling at me, "Don't go in there!!"  Inside this small space was a window AC unit, curtains hanging over it - mold growing on them, two sets of twin mattresses (again, no sheets covering them) and debrit everywhere.  It was disgusting!  I had a sudden fear of someone coming from behind the door if I stepped all the way inside and killing me with an axe or something.  I stepped backwards (never putting my back to the space), closed the door and walked away. 

I left the home, called my friend, who was the LA, and admonished her for not giving me better warning.  She was pregnant at the time and her brother, the LA for the restaurant they were also selling had told her she was not allowed to go out there.  She didn't know just how bad it was.  She laughed and thought it was pretty funny as I'm usually a pretty tough cookie.  I was just certain that if I didn't call her at that moment I would vanish and no one would ever know what happened to me!

Posted by Melissa Marro, Jacksonville Real Estate and Home Staging (Keller Williams First Coast Realty - The Marro Team) over 10 years ago

I have never found myself in this situation.   what would I do?   I would get myself and my clients back in the car - head on to our next appointment, call the sherriff's dept...and then call the listing agent to advise her/him that the house was not secure....

Posted by Kara Casamassina, Boomers and beyond (International Property Management Group, LLC) over 10 years ago

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