By Bruce Cathcart

For the last 16 weeks I have been offering up advice in my articles designed to help buyers and sellers to better understand the current real estate market here in the Coachella Valley and basically how to make good decisions in obtaining their real estate goals. This week’s article will be a little different as it applies only to buyers shopping for homes and offers the simple advice of allowing your agent to go first.

It has been nearly 30 years since I made an appointment to show a middle aged couple a small ranch property located off of Jefferson on the border of Indio and La Quinta. It had just come on the market and the listing agent had told me that there was no need to call the caretaker, just show up and tell him that I was there to show the home. Well, show up we did around four o’clock in the afternoon. With my clients standing a few feet behind me I opened up the old, spring loaded, wooden screen door and just as I was about to knock, the door swung open and I was greeted with the business end of a double barreled shot gun! As I jumped back the screen door slammed closed on the barrel of the gun which fortunately did not go off and a cantankerous old man started screaming obscenities at me and my clients… who by that time were already halfway down the long driveway and back to my car. After we got the heck out of there they told me that they were sure glad that I had gone to the door first!

There have been plenty of other times that it was a good thing that I was first through the door as well. Despite having an appointment, ringing the door bell, knocking loudly, and after using my lock box key to gain entry into a home and then yelling “helloooo” at the top of my lungs I have managed to “surprise” sellers in their homes. This usually happens when I approach the master bedroom and that sixth sense kicks in right before I swing the door open and discover the naked form of a John Candy like body with Eugene Levy like body hair sprawled across the bed. Honestly, some things just cannot be unseen! By allowing me to go first I am able to spare my clients that horror… especially their kids, if they happen to be along for the tour. And speaking of naked bodies, showing private homes and condos in a resort community can oftentimes result in the discovery of vacationing guests who insist on sun bathing by the pool “European style”. I have discovered that this can actually mean no swim suit at all. Don’t get your hopes up here as in over 30 years of doing this I have never come upon supermodels sun bathing this way. It appears that those who we pay to look at always cover up and those who you couldn’t pay us to look at seem to expose themselves whenever possible.


Always let your agent go first when entering the back yard of an occupied home. I usually stand at the door and whistle, clap my hands and yell “here doggy, here doggy”! Despite that I have won 3 out of 4 foot races with angry, four legged beasties that were either sound asleep or just lying in wait for me. Fortunately the fourth one only got a nice leather shoe I came flying out of as I dove for the door to the house!

Always let your agent go first when you are going into the master bedroom or master bathroom of an occupied home, especially if you have children with you. I don’t know if some people are really proud of their sex toy collection or if they just forget to put this stuff away when they know that agents will be bringing their clients to see their homes. By letting your agent go first you can avoid that awkward moment that comes when you are trying to explain to your 5 year old son not to worry, they don’t really get that big.

And finally, always let your agent go first when entering a dimly lit garage, especially in the summer time at a vacant home. There is nothing that gets me to do the boogie dance faster than wearing short pants and walking through that unmistakable spider web of a black widow.

Always let your agent go first, you will be glad you did!

This week’s real estate tip: As a seller you can avoid potentially embarrassing situations that were described above by taking one simple step. Make sure if you are using a lock box to provide agents with access to your home that you install a “privacy” lock on your front door. This is a lock that can only be opened from inside the home, like a slide lock or door chain. Even though the agents will be able to unlock your door, they will not be able to gain access if you are inside and have used your privacy lock.

Bruce Cathcart is the Broker/Co-Owner of La Quinta Palms Realty, “The Friendly Professionals” and can be reached by email at or visit his website at