Locked Inside!

Real Estate Agent with RLAH Real Estate AB95346

Today, I previewed a condo that could have been really gorgeous - or not.  It had a fabulous virtual tour, but I suspected that it might have had a pretty high funk factor with the location.  It's in Columbia Heights, an emerging neighborhood that is probably about a half renovated, and half a little funky.  So I wanted to check out the block before I showed it. 

And, yeah.  The block was a little bit dodgy, with a bunch of boarded up buildings.  Although in this town, especially in Columbia Heights, that often means renovations about to happen.  Still, I made sure the car alarm was on and I hid my purse under my trench coat before I got out to open the lock box.

It was a short sale, so I didn't have real high expectations.  But other than being slightly soiled, it was a pretty nice place.  Still, I didn't think that a home inspector would treat it kindly though, because the renovations were looking a little thin at the elbows.

Anyway, I went through the place, stepped over clutter left by the former occupant, then locked up, hoping my car would still be there. 

So I went down the two flights of stairs and when I pushed the front door open, nothing happened.  I looked around for a button to push or a keyhole that might unlock it, but nothing!  Yikes!

There were only three units in the building, it was mid-day, and nobody was home.  I'd left my listing information with the agent's contact in the car, so I started to feel a little trapped, and nervous! 

Then I noticed the for sale sign, and I could barely make out the agent's phone number!  So I called, and then she actually answered her phone!  And she talked me through the somewhat complex instructions for getting out of the place! 

I don't think I've ever been so happy to have a colleague pick up a phone!  And if my client does want to see the place, at least I'll know how to get us out of there!

And yeah, the car was fine.  I didn't get mugged.  And as I realized that this was about a neighborhood that was hip and trendy waiting to happen, I started to feel a little old.


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patricia kennedy
washignton dc real estate

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Gene Riemenschneider
Home Point Real Estate - Brentwood, CA
Turning Houses into Homes

One time I went into a house and the garge door shut and locked behind us.  The main garge door was padlocked shut.  The side door was boarded up.  I had to crawl out a window to get us out of the garage.

Feb 28, 2010 03:32 AM #43
Tamara Perlman
Referral Network Inc. - Truckee, CA

Ahhh the adventures of real estate.  How fortunate the agent was answering her phone that day!

Feb 28, 2010 04:21 AM #44
Debi Boucher
Real Estate Showcase Photography - Woodland Park, CO
"Realtor Showcase" - Real Estate Photography/Virtual Tours

Congrats on your 'kooky' Feature, Patricia! I would have been a little freaked out too.... LOL


Feb 28, 2010 05:02 AM #45
Kathy Opatka
Serving Ocean City, MD, & The Delaware Beaches

So how did you actually get out?  Was it just an ODD lock or was it a safety issue?

Feb 28, 2010 05:08 AM #46
Lyn Sims and the Blog Dog
Streamwood, Elgin IL Real Estate - RE/MAX Suburban - Bartlett, IL

That's a new one getting locked IN a place! I would say that I also would have felt a little panic on what to do and who could help me. Glad you made it out & even your car was still there!  Seemed like a good day!

Feb 28, 2010 05:09 AM #47
Patricia Kennedy
RLAH Real Estate - Washington, DC
Home in the Capital

Wow!  This post is an oldie!  How did you guys find it, anyway? 

After what seemed like a hundred tries, I finally got through to the listing agent (I could see her number on the For Sale sign throught the locked door) and she went through the mechanics of the "automatic" unlock that was set off by a motion sensor somewhere on the second floor.

Feb 28, 2010 05:24 AM #48
Damon Gettier
Damon Gettier & Associates, REALTORS- Roanoke Va Short Sale Expert - Roanoke, VA
Broker/Owner ABRM, GRI, CDPE

I would have hated to be in that situation.  I would have become claustrophobic instantly!

Feb 28, 2010 05:27 AM #49
Josette Skilling
Keller Williams Capital Properties - Bethesda, MD

Kinda sketch over there!  Emerging hip is fun to watch but it's tough to be part of it early on.  I have my kit now:  phone, keycard, car keys in hand and I leave the front door open enough to get out quickly.



Feb 28, 2010 05:49 AM #50
Georgie Hunter R(S) 58089
Hawai'i Life Real Estate Brokers - Haiku, HI
Maui Real Estate sales and lifestyle info

How lucky she answered her phone!  What if she had been in a movie or something?!

Feb 28, 2010 09:56 AM #51
Debe Maxwell, CRS
www.AtHomesCharlotte.com | The Maxwell House Group | RE/MAX Executive | (704) 491-3310 - Charlotte, NC
Charlotte Homes for Sale - Charlotte Neighborhoods

Hi Pat!  I have claustrophobia and wonder if I would have reacted as calmly as you did!  Like Thom, I've heard of agents being locked out on decks of a 30-story building and not having their phone with them!  So, I always carry the key with me so that I can get back in if I get locked out!  Who would EVER have thought about getting locked IN?!  And who would have ever thought of an agent picking up their phone either?!!  LOL

Have a wonderful week...

Feb 28, 2010 11:18 AM #52
Pam Dent
Gayle Harvey Real Estate, Inc. - Charlottesville, VA
REALTOR® - Charlottesville Virginia Homes / Horse

Thats one way to get people to buy.  Not tell them how to get out until they write a contract.:)

Feb 28, 2010 12:49 PM #53
Lottie Kendall
Today | Sotheby's International Realty - San Carlos, CA
Serving San Mateo County and San Francisco

Yikes, Pat -- I can feel the panic setting in just reading your post. Hasn't happened to me, but one day when I was previewing properties, an agent was sitting on the patio of the townhouse; locked out for an hour or so before I happened to show up!

Feb 28, 2010 01:59 PM #54
Sherry Chastain
Hendersonville, Nashville, Old Hickory, Lebanon Tennessee - Hendersonville, TN
Realtor, Selling Homes, Lake Properties,Luxury Homes,Short Sales

I've been locked out lots of times. Never locked in.

Feb 28, 2010 02:18 PM #55
Jirius Isaac
Isaac Real Estate &TriStar Mortgage - Kenmore, WA
Real Estate & loans in Kenmore, WA

I got locked in the parking garage of a condo complex and had to wait until someone else showed up to get out.  No fund!

Feb 28, 2010 03:57 PM #56
Martin Kalisker
Greater Boston Association of REALTORS - Boston, MA
Professional Standards & Legal Assistant

OMG!!! are you walking on the very fine line of violating fair housing laws by using words that could be used against you for "steering in a community?

I'm sure that wasn't your intent, but on a first reading, it doesn't sound like you have a high opinion of this neighborhood.

Mar 01, 2010 02:27 AM #57
Patricia Kennedy
RLAH Real Estate - Washington, DC
Home in the Capital

Martin, describing a neighborhood as part renovated, part boarded up and part untouched is not even close to violating the fair housing laws.  And if I hadn't liked it, I wouldn't have gone there to preview for a client. 

Mar 01, 2010 02:31 AM #58
Carole L. MacCollum
Broker/Realtor 207-337-4792

Good grief, I would have been horrified!  Been locked OUT before but never IN!  Glad it all turned out OK!

Mar 01, 2010 04:17 AM #59
Alexsandra Stewart
Remax equity group - Portland, OR
Broker - Portland Oregon Real Estate

Oh -- trapped inside a vacant house -- my worst fear realized!  Thank goodness you had not left your cell phone inside the car -- which I have been known to do!  Not in the future though!

Mar 01, 2010 06:07 AM #60
John Savignano
RE/MAX Executive - Hopkinton, MA
Realtor - Hopkinton and Metrowest MA Real Estate

a great war story, for sure. Worse than being stuck in an elevator. I am glad it worked out! Lesson- keep your cell phone with you at all times!!

Mar 01, 2010 07:07 AM #61
Ty Lacroix
Envelope Real Estate Brokerage Inc - London, ON


Another good reason to let people know where you are going and with whom!


Mar 01, 2010 07:21 AM #62
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