Coimbatore: “Every builder and real estate agent need to be registered under the real estate regulatory authority (RERA) and so should the property they

Would you get arrested for breaking in to your own house (when you forgot your keys inside)?

Make no mistake of it, yes, you could be arrested and spend some time in a holding cell while it is all all figured out. Ultimately, if you have the right to be there the charges will be dropped and everyone will move on with their lives. You and your attitude will have much to do with how this all goes.

Story time:

I am a real estate investor and do the vast majority of the work on places myself. When I was younger and dumber I had purchased a property and was working on it. Besides the painting and other touch-ups I needed to reprogram the security system (a skill that I have) to get everything up and running. What I didn’t realize was that the previous owner hadn’t yet cancelled the telephone line or monitoring. When I opened the controller box, it sent a tamper signal to the monitoring station. I added a wireless receiver and finished the programming in about 10 minutes.

I headed up from the basement to install the wireless modules and test the system. When I came out of the stairwell I noticed movement in the back yard. Huh, it appeared someone was in the back yard, then I heard a metallic tapping on the window by the front door. An officer was using his maglite to get my attention; his other hand is on his weapon. It was at this point I reacquired situational awareness.

I’m looking pretty ragged in stained jeans and a hoodie holding a tool bag in one hand and wire cutters in the other. The person in the backyard is another officer. I have a growing feeling of dread as I run through a quick checklist in my head. I don’t have ID that matches the property, I don’t have any paperwork with me showing that I just purchased the place, and either a neighbor called the cops or the alarm system was still active. The county records take weeks to update and all that is standing between me and being arrested (plus some potential rough handling) are my immediate actions and attitude.

I placed everything I was carrying on the floor, put on a big smile, waved at the officer and moved slowly towards him and the door, fully aware that the officer looking in at me from the back yard had the drop on me. Upon opening the door the officer asked me if I was Mr. DeBruyn. I told him no, I was Mr. Smith and I had just bought the place from Mr. DeBruyn. He asked me if I had an ID or any paperwork that would support my assertion, which I did not have. I was then invited to have a seat in the back of his cruiser while they sorted things out. I had the definite feeling that if I hadn’t cooperated I would have been compelled to sit in the back of the cruiser with handcuffs on.

My problems grew as the officers asked me more questions. They asked for the key to the front door, but I didn’t have a one on me. (The house had a keypad lock on the front door, so I didn’t keep a key on me.) They asked who could corroborate my story that I just purchased the place. It was late Friday afternoon and no one who could confirm my story seemed to be around. My paperwork was 60 miles away, the former owner wasn’t answering the call from the alarm company, and my real estate agent was on an airplane (not that I knew it at the time). Luckily I was able to provide the number for my agent’s office and someone there was able to look up the closing that showed that I had actually purchased the property.

The officers let me out of the back and were even apologetic. I thanked them for being vigilant.

I feel lucky that the officers were pragmatic and took the time to try to resolve it onsite as opposed to putting cuffs on me and hauling me down to central processing on a Friday night to let someone else sort it out.

Was what I was doing illegal? Nope.

Was I stupid and was I almost arrested? Yup!