This is the story I’m going to tell any client from now on who wants me to show them a vacant house after dark:
Yesterday afternoon I showed a large, vacant house in Gilbert to a family I’ve been showing property off and on for awhile now.
I unlocked the front door and the group immediately split up to investigate different areas of the house. The husband, Kevin, went to see if the yard was big enough. The wife, Ashley, headed into the kitchen to see about storage and upgrades. The sister, Amanda, entertained Kevin and Ashley’s 2 year old son by following him up the winding staircase. I meandered around downstairs.
Ashley: The kitchen is pretty nice.
Me: Yeah. Not the worst we’ve seen.
Kevin (coming in from the backyard): The yard is way too small. And this house is way too big.
Me: It is massive. Like 4200 square feet.
Ashley: I’m going to go look at the backyard.
Kevin: I’ll check the garage, just in case it’s awesome enough to make up for the yard.
Me: I’ll go with you.
Kevin walked over to the door that separates the entryway and the garage. I stood just behind his shoulder, ready to walk in behind him and evaluate cabinets and epoxied floors. Kevin turned the knob and swung open the door and I saw a silver sedan in the garage. This was strange, because the rest of the house was totally devoid of furnishings, but it’s not completely unheard of for a seller to park a car they’re not using in the garage of a house they have for sale. But before I could step in for a closer look Kevin slammed the door shut and turned to face me, wide-eyed.
Me: There was a car in there…
Kevin: There were people in that car.
Me: WHAT?! There were people in that garage???
At this point the showing turned into what I’ve always been sure would happen eventually. I just always thought the creepy murderer guy would be hiding in the attic instead of the garage. I briefly berated myself for not mastering some form of martial arts that would allow me to take on squatters hopped up on meth. I thought about the pink pepperspray key chain I’d been given years ago and where it could possibly be now.
Kevin: Yes. At least two. They were sitting in that car, drinking.
Me: We need to get out of this house.
Kevin: Yes, we do. RIGHT NOW.
Both Kevin and Me: ASHLEY!!! AMANDA!!! GET OUT OF THE HOUSE. GO GET INTO THE CAR. NOW!
Ashley and Amanda: WTF??
I shooed everyone through the front door, locked it tight and backed away from the house, shakily. When I turned to get into my car and drive away from whatever illegal scariness was going on inside, I realized the sprinklers had come on while we were in the house. Of course one of the sprinkler heads was broken and a giant fountain of water was shooting up in the air and landing directly on my driver’s side door. This is when I had to have a short conversation with myself about the pros and cons of getting murdered vs. getting my outfit and the inside of my car a little damp. As I’m here to tell you this story, you can guess which I decided to go with.
Later the listing agent returned the frantic voicemail I’d left her about how she should probably call the police because her listing was not secure. She explained that the seller had moved out of state, but had left behind a 17 year old son to finish out his senior year by living with his grandma. She guessed the teenage son and his girlfriend had broken into the house and were up to shenanigans in the garage. It was definitely a less disturbing possibility than the nefarious Gilbert gang/drug/murdery situation I was envisioning.
But I think the point is: I’m going to find that pepperspray. Or buy a new one. Or maybe buy 5 new ones. And learn karate. And stop showing vacant houses after dark.