Strange Experiences in Showing a Home--Part 1: Setting Off the Alarm

Real Estate Agent with Casa Latino Four Corners, REALTOR, CDPE

I had shown a house last week and I had been a good little agent and called for showing instructions, which eventually wound up as "call owner."  I did and got entry into the pretty cool house.  Okay--so far, so good.  No problem.  So, now that the Buyer is narrowing down his choices before making an offer, he actually wanted to go back for a second look at that particular house.  Awesome--especially in this market.  Previously, I had been a good little agent and called for showing instructions, which eventually wound up as "call owner."  We did and got entry into the pretty cool house.  Okay--no problem.  So far, so good.  That was last week.

So, I had specifically called AGAIN for showing instructions to the listing company.  Sometimes things change and, while it's redundant, oh, well.  Didn't talk to THE listing agent but I haven't really talked to him yet; mostly just leaving messages and his assistant will return the calls.  So, spoke w/ assistant again, who said the owners are on vacation this weekend, so "go ahead and show."  I said but there is an "alarm.  What about that?"  She said no problem--they turn it off when they leave.  I said okay.  But if the alarm IS turned on, I'm calling YOU back.  She said, "no, the owners turn the alarm off when they go and they are on vacation this weekend, so it should be fine."  Okay.  We went to see the house again.   


Of course, the alarm was NOT turned off, so started sounding when we entered.  Nice neighbors showed up to see if anyone was breaking into the house but they didn't have the code to turn the alarm off.  I felt like a goof.  You know when you get those butterflies in your stomach?  I had a bad feeling when I was turning the key in the lock.  THEN, when I heard the tell-tale, low "beep, beep, beep" from somewhere off to the left, I KNEW the alarm was going to start wailing in about a minute.  So, I went to the keypad and punched a couple buttons--all to no avail, of course.  Then ADT called and I didn't have the code or password either--of course--but then we got disconnected somehow.  By that time the cops had showed up and demanded (okay nicely demanded) my ID.  After everything, it turned out to be a funny experience but in between I had attempted to call the listing company office--no answer; the Seller--no answer; ADT again--by that time, the cops were there.  Geesh!!  Good thing it's a nice house. 



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Lenn Harley
Lenn Harley,, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate - Leesburg, VA
Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland

Geez.  Sounds like some of my experiences.  I've set off alarms in 5 counties in two states.  I am, admittedly "alarm challenged".  Hate the dang things. 

In fact, one home owner filed a board complaint against me for setting off the alarm in their ugly house.  The instruction were wrong and she had to come from work to cut it off.  The complaint went nowhere, but it taught me a lesson.  I often pass on homes with alarms, unless my buyers are alarm confident.  I'm not.

I don't really care.  If the alarm goes off, I just wait for the police to take over and wait for the owners.  I believe the dang things should be turned OFF during showing hours. 

If I have out of town buyers on high priced homes, I make the listing agents come over and disarm the things.  If they can't take the time, I just show and if it goes off, too bad. 

Showing agent should NOT be required to operate alarm systems. 

Oct 12, 2007 11:46 PM #1
David Kelso
Century 21 Sundance Realty - Port Orange, FL

Hi Lisa,

Had the same thing happen on 2 seperate occasions, but each time, managed to "circlr the wagons",then high tail it outta there before the sheriff arrived.

Hope you sell the house.

David Kelso 

Oct 12, 2007 11:47 PM #2
Cynthia Tilghman, Realtor® Onslow County NC Home Specialist
Kingsbridge Realty, Inc - Hubert, NC
Hi Lisa,
Been there done that, understand the utter panic!  I agree with Lenn we should not have to deal with these things.  I break out in a cold sweat every time I faced with one.
Oct 13, 2007 08:33 AM #3
Nancy Brenner
Referral Associates of Georgia, Inc. - Roswell, GA
Roswell Georgia Real Estate Agent

OH wow - something to look forward to!  I haven't had the pleasure of setting off any alarms yet. 

Of course, most of the homes I show are foreclosures to investors.  The homes definitely have no power let alone an alarm system that's activated. 

Oct 30, 2007 09:30 PM #4
Lisa Spalding
Casa Latino Four Corners, REALTOR, CDPE - Longwood, FL

Thanks, Nancy, for your comment.  I guess you have to watch out for people that have somehow gained entrance into the properties, then, being that they are vacant...  Yikes!  Please be careful.  I always wonder, with vacant houses, is it more safe to be the first in after opening the door, or should we as agents let the customer in?  I am rarely sure which is better--you never know if there are shady individuals inside--or animals, even. 

Oct 31, 2007 01:34 AM #5
Adele Irving - Easton Area Homes
Prudential Patt, White Real Estate - Easton, PA
I've had alarms go off.  You call the listing agent and nobody knows what's going on.  One time I just locked up the house and left my card.  The owner called me and I explained what happened and that's why I left him the card.  He was very polite to me.  He told me he did not give the listing office approval for my appointment.  He was going to take it up with them.
Oct 31, 2007 07:17 AM #6
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