Friday, August 29, 2014

Full disclosure: Hello…real estate agent…is anyone here?

November 1, 2010 |

“Why do you yell out “Hello” when entering a vacant house?”


Subscription Required

Thank you for reading the digital edition. In order to continue reading this story please choose one of the following options.

Current Subscribers
If you are a current subscriber and wish to obtain access to, please select the Subscriber Verification option below. If you already have a login, please select "Login" at the lower right corner of this box.

Subscriber Verification

Special Introductory Offer
For a short time we will be offering a discount to those who call us in order to obtain access to and start your print subscription. Our customer support team will be standing by Monday through Friday, 8am to 5pm to assist you.

Call and Save! (530) 344-5000

If you are not a current subscriber and wish not to take advantage of our special introductory offer, please select the $12 monthly option below to obtain access to and start your online subscription


It was a sensible question from my clients. There are 1,300 homes currently listed for sale in El Dorado County and 500 are unoccupied. There are another 300 homes listed as “pending sales” and 200 of them are vacant. Just because the owners have moved out doesn’t mean that nobody is there.

One of the many responsibilities an agent has when showing properties is to protect their clients from the unexpected. That’s why, after unlocking the front door, I will enter the property first, yell out something and begin my sweep of the home by opening doors, turning on lights and opening window coverings and scanning the back yard. My clients don’t need me to point out the fireplace in the living room or the dishwasher in the kitchen but they do rely on their agent to discover any situation that may be a threat to their safety.

Years ago, when I was a rookie agent showing houses, I would politely open the front door for clients and stand aside while my clients entered the property before me. One day, I opened the door for a lady, stepped aside to allow her to proceed me and just as she had stepped into the front entry, two giant barking Dobermans charged us. Her scream frightened me and the dogs. The dogs stopped in their tracks while I attempted to extract myself from my client’s frightened embrace. The situation taught me a valuable lesson when showing homes, yell and lead.

On more than one occasion, I have entered a vacant house only to surprise vandals in the process of their destruction. A loud announcement of my arrival will usually send them scampering out the back door. Kids smoking dope, making out and spray painting the walls are easily dispatched by a voice of authority but some crooks are getting pretty sophisticated.

Bob, an agent in El Dorado Hills, shared with me his story about his experience showing a bank REO to his clients. When he drove up to the home with his clients, parked in the driveway, was what appeared to be a contractor’s truck and crew of workers loading the truck with kitchen cabinets, appliances, plumbing and lighting fixtures. Bob located the person in charge, who said the bank had hired them to do a complete remodel on the home and proceeded to point out the work they were contracted to perform. Upon returning to the office, Bob called the listing agent to inquire further about the property. The listing agent knew of no scheduled work authorized by the bank and immediately left to inspect her listing. By the time she arrived the construction crew had disappeared along with $30,000 in missing fixtures.

A few months ago I showed a vacant home in Folsom that included a beautiful hot tub and gazebo. The buyers were interested and so we returned to preview the home again a few days later. The spa was gone along with all the plantation shutters in the house. The listing agent later located the hot tub for sale on E-Bay.

According to RealtyTrac, the average time required to foreclose on a delinquent borrower in California is 427 days. Although many homeowners may be attempting a loan modification or short sale during all that time, many simply abandon their home.

An agent in Georgetown shared with me a bizarre incident. She had listed the occupied home as a short sale and sometime during the listing the seller disappeared. The agent became concerned when the seller did not return the her calls or e-mails. Finally, she made a personal visit to the home. The owner wasn’t there and another family had moved in. The new occupants had paid the seller $2,500 to stay in the property until the bank threw them out. Six months after the foreclosure the tenants still remained in the property.

While showing a home in Placerville this summer, I discovered a homeless person sleeping in the garage. Another time I was startled to find the previous owner of a foreclosed home was camped out in the back yard in his RV.

Large dogs can also be an unexpected problem. When showing rural properties, I will often be greeted by some big friendly barking dog with tail wagging. Their job is to protect their territory from strangers and let the owners know when company has arrived. This arrangement usually works out well unless the seller isn’t at home and forgot to contain their four legged security alarm. A few smoothing words and a dog biscuit will usually get us into the house.

Every agent has had the misfortune to walk into a compromising situation with a home’s occupants which is another good reason to loudly announce your arrival.

I once had sellers ask me from under their bed covers “Why didn’t you call?” Another time while unlocking the front door to a listing, I heard a woman screaming from the back of the house. I yelled out “Hello,” and the screams got louder. Thinking the worst, I ran into the house and down the hallway where I could hear the sounds of a struggle. The opened bedroom door revealed rapture rather than rape and I promptly left unnoticed with my clients in tow. It was the one house where I did not leave a business card to let the owners know that I had stopped by.

Ken Calhoon is a real estate broker in El Dorado County. He can be reached through his Website at HYPERLINK “”





Supreme Court denies Nutting

By Cole Mayer | From Page: A1

Sand Fire Benefit one big success

By Dawn Hodson | From Page: A1

Camp 2 Bridge deconstructed

By Michael Raffety | From Page: A1 | Gallery

Heard over the back fence: Chamber of Commerce tee time

By Bob Billingsley | From Page: B1

Bigelow’s AB 2073 signed into law

By Kirk Kimmelshue | From Page: A3

Acupuncture clinic aims to serve community

By Cole Mayer | From Page: A3 | Gallery

Scholarship available for local forestry students

By News Release | From Page: A4

Mayors to meet for virtual handshake

By Dawn Hodson | From Page: A4 | Gallery

Farmn Bureau endorses Pratt for Dist. 2

By Michael Raffety | From Page: A9

Burke’s Corner: August 29, 2014

By Special to the Democrat | From Page: A10

Labor Day closures

By Democrat Staff | From Page: A10

SLT Mental Health Clinic moving

By Health and Human Services Agency | From Page: A10



Keep Kaser in prison

By Mountain Democrat | From Page: A6

The weekly Daley: A little potpourri for a change

By Chris Daley | From Page: A6

Billingsley’s Bullets: Upbeat is always better

By Bob Billingsley | From Page: A6



Amaral for Supervisor

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A7

Two letters’ reply

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A7

Small farms

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A7

Tabloid headline

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A7

Letter to original Miwoks

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A7, 1 Comment

Four days negates five years

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A7



Gridiron season kicks off tonight

By Mike Bush | From Page: A11

Bruins happy to be back in D-II

By Mike Bush | From Page: A11 | Gallery

2014 Ponderosa football roster

By Democrat Staff | From Page: A11

Tribute to Donnie Tilford

By Bill Sullivan | From Page: A11 | Gallery

Heinz-sight: It’s here …

By Jerry Heinzer | From Page: A11



Harris Center presents great performances

By Roberta Long | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Things to do: Aug. 29, 2014

By Democrat Calendar | From Page: B2

Sample everything that is good

By Pat Lakey | From Page: B2

Award-winning rosarian gives tips

By Mother Lode Rose Society | From Page: B3

Things get spicy in EDH

By Julie Samrick | From Page: B3



Crime Log: Aug. 12-15

By Cole Mayer | From Page: A2



Wilma Martin Klein

By Contributor | From Page: A2

Gertrude “Dede” Elaine Wilkinson

By Contributor | From Page: A2

Rodney H. Johnson

By Contributor | From Page: A2

Peggy L. King

By Contributor | From Page: A2

Donald E. Doyle

By Contributor | From Page: A2


Real Estate

Too much information

By Ken Calhoon | From Page: HS4

When life changes hit home, don’t fear

By Marni Jameson | From Page: HS6

Housing affordability declines statewide

Press Release | From Page: HS7

Building permits, housing on the rise

Press Release | From Page: HS15




Home Source

Too much information

By Ken Calhoon | From Page: HS4

When life changes hit home, don’t fear

By Marni Jameson | From Page: HS6

Housing affordability declines statewide

Press Release | From Page: HS7

Building permits, housing on the rise

Press Release | From Page: HS15