Jen Kirchhoefer


For those who are worried about safe travel, rest assured, TSA has your back. Well, they have mine anyway. And by “having my back,” I mean that I am “randomly” selected for the additional security screening every time I travel. Every time. Both ways. With no exceptions. I think I have a sign on my back that reads “check me!” Seriously though, what could I be hiding? They have my belt, my jacket, my shoes and the 11 cents in change from my pocket.

This just happened again last weekend. My daughter and I booked a short weekend in Vegas so we could spend some time in the sun. I hadn’t packed much. Characteristically, I’m an under-packer. My children, however, make up for that. That’s probably why TSA never picks through their luggage. It would take too long. Mine only takes a minute.

They did find a 3.5-ounce bottle of skin toner in my bag. That is exactly 0.1 ounce more than is allowed. They confiscated it. It was expensive. They said they were throwing it away, but when I came back a few minutes later to discreetly rummage through the garbage can, it wasn’t there. However, this TSA lady’s skin sure had a nice glow to it that was not there before.

Ironically, or so they say, I also got searched on the way back. It was the two 10-pound filled M&M containers that set them off that time. A total of 20 pounds of chocolate. No one should have had to see that.

There are a number of things that no one should have to see. I’m sure the TSA screeners have their share of stories, but, make no mistake about it, so do Realtors. Unfortunately, our clients can fall victim to this as well.

Last week, a buyer’s agent brought his client through one of my listings. This particular listing has a basement apartment with a renter, who, incidentally, does not want the seller to sell since she is on a month-to-month and the new owners may not want to renew her contract. As a result, she didn’t bother to clean up from the night before. And what a night it was. All evidence of the night’s “activities” were strewn throughout her apartment. It wasn’t pretty. Nor was it appropriate for all ages. Kind of like Vegas after 9 p.m.

Having had experienced a few of these educational moments with my own clients, I have since found it useful to get a bit of a head start when entering a property. This small step has circumvented a number of awkward occasions. Although when they do happen, it is extremely good fodder for conversation.

After the feedback I received from that particular agent who happened to get the eyeful, I told my seller that it would probably be a good idea if we did a “pre-check” on the apartment downstairs before showing, just like they do at the airport. Pre-check at the airport allows eligible, low-risk travels to enjoy expedited security screening. Pre-check in real estate allows agents and their clients to enjoy showings with little or no risk of seeing the same thing you see in Vegas after 9 p.m.

Granted, the screening process is a little more difficult for sellers who have renters in their properties. Both the buyer’s agent as well as the seller’s agent can help by clarifying expectations with the renters, perhaps even offering incentives for keeping it clean, establishing good communication with the renters whenever feasible and pre-checking when possible. Of course, one has to be eligible and low-risk to be allowed to pre-check. Which begs the question ... why am I not pre-checking?

Jen Kirchhoefer is an associate broker and Realtor. She can be reached at or 801-645-2134.

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