Monday, April 04, 2011


So, it was Saturday afternoon. Hubby-Eric was out of town visiting Oz friends, so I was happily at home alone enjoying some nice uninterrupted relaxing time. I was sitting in our living room in my favorite chair, which is right in front of the sliding glass door that leads out into our back yard. The glass door has a nice curtain in front of it, a Zen Garden design, that looks pretty neat and gives me privacy from the neighbors opposite.

As I'm sitting there, I hear some voices out back. I think it's probably the neighbors until the screen door behind me rattles loudly, then someone attempts to open the sliding glass door. I jump up, startled and scared, and start to move toward my front door. Then I think, maybe I should see who's in my back yard and rush back to open the curtain. I can't see anyone. I can hear voices at the side of the house, though, so I think they are moving.

I pick up my cell phone and dial 911, but I don't hit send. Then I go to look out the front door. There are about four guys on my porch, one is trying to look into the house through the windows in the door while another is attempting to open the door. I freeze, and watch as they turn and walk away from the door. Wha-?

Decision time. I stride over to the door and they are all walking away, down my front yard. I look out and see several older women in my yard as well. Several cars are parked on the street in front of my house, and one in the driveway. Everyone looks confused, not like they are trying to rob me. I open the door, keeping the cell phone ready to dial, and ask "WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!??"

The guys turn back, look very surprised, and say, "We came to look at this house, it's for sale."

"It is certainly NOT for sale, I live here!"

"Well, Judy* said it was for sale, and we came to look." *Not her real name.

"Judy was wrong, get off my property. Take whoever was trying to break in at the back, too." As I say that, an older guy walks around from the back and glances at me at the front door. Then he looks down at the ground, like he's ashamed. I must look terrified or roaring angry. Everyone looks cowed but defensive. One woman says they weren't trying to break in, so I shouldn't say it. I sputter some sort of response that makes it clear I thought so and nearly called the police. They disperse to their cars and an SUV drives up. A woman in a suit gets out looking very tense, consults quickly with one of the others, then comes to the door.

It's Judy. She's a real estate agent. She made an assumption that my house was for sale without checking any listings based entirely on a piece of paper I have in the window (the one that says "NO SOLICITING"). She thought, without looking, that it was a foreclosure notice. She apologized, profusely. Repeatedly. I explained that things could have turned out very bad, as her clients seemed to be trying to break in. She apologized. I forgave her, as much as possible in the heat of the moment, and let her leave.

I closed and locked my door (thank goodness it had been locked before!) and looked down. My hand was clenched on my cell phone. I carefully canceled the call I didn't make, then went back to my living room and sat, adrenaline screaming.

It suddenly occurred to me that I only had her word that she was a real estate agent, and that I didn't know for sure. I hadn't gotten her information. What if it was some complicated scam, or a dry-run for an actual robbery? I called hubby-Eric to try to calm down. He suggested calling the non-emergency police line and reporting it. After talking with hubby, I felt a little better, but wasn't sure I wanted to report it to the police. Seemed like overkill.

Instead, I went hunting for Judy. I searched for that first name with "real estate agent" and Churchville. I found a likely Judy, and looked until I found her picture. Yep. I called her up, and got confirmation that it was her along with another half-dozen apologies. Ok. So it seems unlikely to be a scam or test robbery.

Still feeling the rush of adrenaline, I worked out the likely scenario. She's a real estate agent, and this neighborhood has a lot of foreclosed properties. She saw the NO SOLICITING sign in the window from her car as she drove past and wrongly assumed it was a foreclosure notice (first mistake). Then, when her clients asked about a certain type of house, she thought of the one in the Stepford neighborhood and gave them the address, saying she'd meet them there. She probably figured if they liked the location she could contact the agent on the foreclosure notice to get a key and do a walkthrough. She was a little later than her clients (second mistake), and they must've liked the house enough to try to get in without waiting. She freely admitted to me in her many apologies that it was her own mistake. Ok. Seems extremely likely. I know a lot of real estate agents seem to fly by the seat of their pants.

I'm still not sure whether I should call the non-emergency police line and report it. On the one hand, it scared the goodness-gracious out of me. On the other hand, it had a logical explanation, plenty of apologies from the responsible party, and I got a blog entry out of it. Further, a complaint could very well cost the woman her career, and she's made it very clear to me (she called me on Sunday to make sure I was ok) that she's learned her lesson. I'm just not that vindictive, to cost a woman her living for two admittedly stupid mistakes.

I had a difficult time sleeping Saturday night, as every sound from downstairs seemed to be a threat. At least nothing bad actually happened, as there was a lot of potential there for much more stress on everybody's part.


Caffeinated Joe (Wings) said...

I think you made all the right moves. She obviously made assumptions and mistakes, and the people shouldn't have been trying to get in before the Realtor arrived. But yeah, I can totally see how freaky that all was! Maybe you need a NOT For Sale sign? LOL

Tegan said...

I've noticed that people in this area don't actually *read* any signs. They look at the shape and location and make an assumption. Or they read one word and decide they know the whole meaning of the sign. So a "NOT For Sale" sign would be automatically taken as a "For Sale" sign.

dragonmar said...

It just shows you its a good thing everyone does not have a gun. If you had been a different kind of person, it could have ended badly. I know real estate agents need to make a living, but she should make sure before she assumes a house is available.

Anonymous said...

I would have shot at them. Or at least picked up a weapon before opening the door. They are lucky you are not a nervous person.


Roger Owen Green said...

Yes, she ASSumed a lot, but I suspect calling the cops would give you little satisfaction, unless you're willing to press charges, and I'm guessing that it wouldn't stick in any case.

But your rage/fright was totally justified

Tegan said...

I'd like to think that if I had a gun, it would not have turned out much differently, because I would like to think that I would have thought before shooting. But I don't know for sure.

I was pretty scared for a short time there, particularly between the time someone attempted to open the glass door and when I saw the guys on the porch turn away. Until they turned away I was in a panic, and that would have been the dangerous moment for them. They were actively trying to get into the house, and I'd just been startled very badly at the back of the house.