Why was this guy scoping out my house?
August 31, 2008 2:31 PM   Subscribe

A few minutes ago, a young guy in a Cadillac pulled up in front of my house and then drove slowly slowly past it, lingering for almost a full minute. He stared intently at the windows especially, like he was trying to see inside. It's clear that he was scoping out the house, but why?

It almost seemed like he was casing our property, but he didn't pull into the driveway or ring the bell. He concentrated his attention entirely on our house, which is strange, because it looks pretty dilapidated in comparison to the houses on either side. We just moved in a week ago, and I've never before lived in a house as an adult, so I'm not sure whether I should be concerned. Thoughts?
posted by Powerful Religious Baby to Home & Garden (21 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Maybe he was checking to see if the last residents had actually moved away and wasn't so much scoping out the house or you.
posted by fluffy battle kitten at 2:35 PM on August 31, 2008

"Woah, someone finally moved into that house down the street that's been empty for weeks/months/whatever. I wonder who? What are they like? I'd bake them some cookies and introduce myself, but I'm a young man whose neighborhood social skills extend to glaring at teenagers on the corner and none of my popular media references have provided instruction on how to meet neighborly expectations."


"They haven't put bars on the windows yet. Sweet."
posted by carsonb at 2:37 PM on August 31, 2008 [6 favorites]

It could be quite innocent - someone looking for a particular house, unsure of the neighbourhood perhaps.

Did you make a note of the plates? It can't hurt to be cautious.
posted by panboi at 2:38 PM on August 31, 2008

Something similar happened to me at my parents's house when I was a kid. A car drove by our house really slowly and then came back (I guess they thought nobody was home) and put some junk on our corner. My parents ended up having to pay the town a fine because of it. I was a kid and didn't really know what to do.

Do you have the lights on? Can you do some fake gardening? Consider calling the non-emergency police number.
posted by spec80 at 2:40 PM on August 31, 2008

Was he using your wi-fi to check his email?
posted by afx237vi at 2:46 PM on August 31, 2008

Could be a zillion legitimate reasons, as well as the obvious bad ones. When I'm in my hometown, on occasion I will swing by the first house I owned, to see how it looks and what's changed or the same about it, and perhaps jog loose a few stray memories. I'm sure my stopping in front of the house for a couple of minutes and studying it could be interpreted as suspicious behavior, too.
posted by mdevore at 2:47 PM on August 31, 2008

Best answer: We just moved in a week ago

Either someone somewhere hasn't pulled the rental listing yet or he has an old list. This happened to us for about six weeks after moving into one house, including one person wandering around the yard jumping up and looking in the windows. I called a few rental agencies, found the one which still had the listing, and told them it was rented, but calling your landlord would work too.

That really overtly nosy staring in the windows is a dead giveaway. The young guy thinks it's still for rent and is trying to see if his furniture would fit, or is trying to see if it looks occupied yet if he's unsure.
posted by shelleycat at 2:48 PM on August 31, 2008 [1 favorite]

He might have been considering buying the house and then realized, "Aww, crap." When my mom was looking for a house earlier this year, she did that a lot. She'd go back to houses she'd been vaguely considering, and when she saw there were people there, she would stop and look, wondering if they had actually moved in or if it was something else.
posted by Nattie at 2:51 PM on August 31, 2008

Aside from being young and in a Caddy, what did he look like?
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 2:54 PM on August 31, 2008

If it's a recent sale, he's probably in the market and looking to see what $X00,000 buys in your neighbourhood.
posted by DarlingBri at 2:59 PM on August 31, 2008

"Damnit, this pizza is getting cold. Was that Park Lane or Park Drive? Wait, that one is #42, so...."
posted by cmiller at 3:04 PM on August 31, 2008

I did this myself last week, except I was driving a BMW.

The reason was that it was the house I grew up in from age 0-18. When the owner came out onto the driveway and kind of looked at me funny, I went up and introduced myself, so I wouldn't freak him out, and he very kindly showed me around the place. But it felt weird to do that.

Since you just moved in, maybe he wanted to see who was living there. Or in fact maybe you were being cased.
posted by ikkyu2 at 3:14 PM on August 31, 2008

Aside from being young and in a Caddy, what did he look like?

And what kind of Caddy was it? Escalade w/ tinted windows = wannabe thug or clueless country club kid, depending on where you live.
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 3:18 PM on August 31, 2008

Response by poster: Ooo, good answers--I was hoping you guys would come up with the logical explanations that were eluding me. It didn't even occur to me that he was checking out the house because he had an old listing.

Alvy, he was in his early-to-mid-twenties, Af. American, and wearing a black-and-white bandanna and a black T-shirt.
posted by Powerful Religious Baby at 3:19 PM on August 31, 2008

wearing a black-and-white bandanna

Are those gang colours in/near your neighborhood?
posted by thisjax at 4:06 PM on August 31, 2008

Response by poster: Oh gosh, I doubt it. I mean, there are "gangs" in my part of Florida, but I suspect they're mostly little kids with cans of spray paint.
posted by Powerful Religious Baby at 4:47 PM on August 31, 2008

It could also be that he used to live there. I sometimes drive by the house where I spent many of my childhood years. I slow down and try to see into the backyard and through the windows. I think about how my bedroom used to be hot pink and how the next owners quickly painted it white. Stuff like that.
posted by acoutu at 9:05 PM on August 31, 2008

I'd be curious to know who used to live in your house. What is the neighborhood like? Any chance he used to have friends (or enemies) in it? Maybe buy a bunch of plants and garden gnomes to indicate that someone else lives there now.
posted by zia at 10:09 PM on August 31, 2008

If you're new to the house and it's run down, probably looking for the former tenants. wouldn't worry too much but I would report it to the police just so they have an idea that something may be up and next time get a license plate #.
posted by docmccoy at 10:59 PM on August 31, 2008

i too cruise slowly past my old houses when im in town, even taking pictures on occasion. if you're worried, id find the non-emergency number for your local precinct and start a file about it. explain it just as you explained it here, saying you just wanted to be proactive and weren't overly concerned.
posted by phritosan at 11:50 AM on September 2, 2008

Response by poster: Aha, it is resolved! It turns out he is the ex-boyfriend of the girl who used to live here--which maybe would explain the weird searching intensity of his gaze? Anyway, I haven't seen him again, so he probably figured out that she moved out and we're new tenants. Thanks, everybody!
posted by Powerful Religious Baby at 2:39 PM on September 15, 2008

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