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Fischer: Unlocking the source of my personal conflict with keys

By Jen Fischer - Special to the Standard-Examiner | Jul 7, 2023

Photo supplied

Jen Fischer

Keys are the bane of my existence. Whether it is to lock, unlock, obtain, hang onto, find or hold, these simple small pieces of shaped metal with incisions cut to fit the grooves of a particular lock have somehow become my personal kryptonite.

As an example, a few weeks ago, I was showing a client homes in Harrisville. As lockboxes are not always located on the front doorknob of the listed home, it has become a game in which I frequently find myself engaged in, entitled “find the lockbox.” This is an activity in which I invite my clients to stay on the front porch while I sprint from fencepost to hose bib to gas meter in search of a key box. If kids are attending the showing, I often employ their services as well. In this case, it was just me and my client.

After locating the lockbox on the upper left side of the hidden post behind the second plant box to the right of the fourth bush on the northeast corner of the patio table located 7 feet from the matching chair, I unlocked the door. As Realtors, we all have our own system of keeping track of the keys as we tour a home. Some agents put the key in a pocket, some put it on the counter as they walk in and others leave it in the lock. Whatever system has been put in place, for most of us, it has become automated. We don’t think about it, we just do it.

This particular home was a two-story with a crawl space. After touring the interior, we walked around the exterior and then I volunteered to go down into the crawl space and check out the situation down there. My client did not have the same desire, so I embarked alone. Once I was down there, I had to crouch down like a duck to explore the space. As it turned out, walking like a duck was appropriate since the entire area was saturated with a good deal of water. It seems the sump pump had become inoperable. I emerged from the space to report my findings, and we lifted the cover back into place. We would need more information. As it was time for my next appointment, I told my client I would call her later that day after speaking with the list agent. As we left the home, I noticed that the key was not where I had left it. There was a package at the front door though from Amazon. I brought the package in and I told my client she could go ahead and go and I would lock up. Little did I know that I would be there for the next hour searching for the key. I retraced my steps, got on my hands and knees and combed the surface of every inch of carpet in the home and repeated the steps outside. After retreating back into the saturated crawlspace dungeon and submerging both hands in the water along the ground, I emerged keyless. I was both stumped and embarrassed.

I headed for the door to look around once again while I made the call of shame to the list agent. As I was waiting for him to answer, I picked up the Amazon box to put it on the counter for the sellers as a courtesy. As I was walking it over to the kitchen, I noticed something silver protruding from the seam on the box. It was the key. Likely, when the box was set against the door, the key, which was in the lock, fell out and into the seam of the box. Rather than a call of shame, I was able to ask about the sump pump and my client ended up making an offer on the property. We are currently under contract.

This was not the first, nor would it be the last of my key debacles. Keys can carry many meanings. Children who comes home before their parents are off work are latchkey kids, and to them the key represents safety. For a teen with a new driver’s license, keys symbolize newfound freedom. For a new homeowner, a key can represent a realized dream. Although a key can close and lock things, it can also open doors to new opportunity. According to historical spiritual sources, possessing a key signifies having the authority and control over one’s destiny, choices and paths in life. If this is the case, how should I interpret the phone call last night from my seller telling me he forgot to leave the keys and openers to his home for the new buyers? I get it. I didn’t want to relinquish my keys to the new buyers when I sold my last home either. It is a lot to give up given the history. However, knowing that new opportunity awaits, it is often worth it.

Jen Fischer is an associate broker and Realtor. She can be reached at 801-645-2134 or jen@jen-fischer.com.


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