Don't Lose The Keys To The Castle!

Real Estate Agent with RE/MAX Elite 513.265.3004 SAL.2002007747

KeysDon't Lose The Keys To The Castle!

Every time we call to schedule a showing for a home on the market, we have an implied contract of sorts with the sellers.  They've granted us the keys to their castle, and with that trust we have some obligations:

  • To show up when scheduled, and if something happens to prevent that, to at least make the attempt to let them know we're not coming.
  • To be respectful of their property.  No tracking mud across their white carpets, no breaking things just to find out if there's hardwood flooring under the carpet, don't let the dog and cat out, etc.
  • To keep our buyers from poking their noses where they don't belong and handling stuff they shouldn't be handling.  Personal property doesn't convey, so no poking around in the desks and dressers, no touching the artwork or that sports memorabilia collection either.
  • And not least important, is leaving the home secure when we leave.  Doors and windows locked, and the key put away and inside the lockbox, secure from anyone who doesn't have authority to be there.

And for some reason that last part seems to be challenging to too many agents, and by too many, to us, even one agent not making sure the doors are locked and the key put away properly is one agent too many.

We're primarily listing agents, and it's shocking the number of times we get notified by our sellers that they came home and found the back door unlocked, a window opened that wasn't open before the showing, or some other violation of home security.

Today we showed four homes, a mix of electronic lockboxes and combination lockboxes.  Of those four, TWO weren't properly secured.  One home had the electronic lockbox only half reassembled, so the key holder could be pulled out by anyone who walked along.  Then the last showing of the day the combination lock was already set to the opening combo.  Again, anyone could have come along, slid the key cover over and had full access to the home.  Just not cool in any way shape or form.

When finishing up a showing, it's critical to check the doors to make sure they're locked, and to double check the lockbox to make sure the key is safe and secure.  Only then should we be leaving for the next home on our list.

Serving Warren County's residential real estate needs,
Liz and Bill aka BLiz

Posted by

REALTORS(S) Serving Warren County Ohio & Adjacent Areas

The Liz Spear Team of RE/MAX Elite
Elizabeth & William Spear
Ask for us by name if you visit the office!

EHO Two locations: Lebanon & Mason, OH
Liz direct:  513-265-3004
Bill direct: 513-520-5305     
Fax: 866-302-8418


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  1. Lenn Harley 04/16/2012 04:58 AM
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Liz and Bill Spear
RE/MAX Elite Warren County OH (Cincinnati/Dayton)
RE/MAX Elite 513.265.3004

Kathy, It does work that way.  A few bad apples and we're all branded based on their actions.  Good to hear you were vindicated on that accusation.  Ironic it was the A/C people doing a not cool thing :)

Evelyn, Definitely need the focus on the task at hand.  The first home had the key holder 1/2 way in, so I'm thinking the agent THOUGHT it was in, but didn't confirm.  I'm in the habit of double pushing on the bottom to make sure it clicked in.

Maria, It bugs us too (obviously!).  Just a basic job requirement to lock up when done unless the seller walks out as we get there and tells us to leave it unlocked!

April 16, 2012 03:16 PM
Erica Ramus
MRE, Schuylkill County PA Real Estate
Erica Ramus - Ramus Realty Group - Pottsville, PA

I had one where the buyer's agent left lights on and the back door open. But she denied this! Frustrating.

April 16, 2012 05:49 PM
Sheila Anderson
The Real Estate Whisperer Who Listens 732-715-1133
Referral Group Incorporated

Hi Bliz. This is just sensational. Very, very well done!

April 16, 2012 05:56 PM
Kimm Cloutier
Realtor - Agawam, MA 413.642.1655

This all seems like common sense, yet it appears that a lot of agents need a reminder.  Being a new agent it surprised me (and actually felt a bit demeaning) to see on the showing instructions, "please lock door."  Seriously, did they really need to tell me to lock the door?  But then I got my very first listing, and the day of the second showing I got a call from the sellers saying they got home and the door was unlocked.  And now I know why agents put the reminder to lock the door in the instructions. 

April 16, 2012 06:13 PM
Eric Michael
Metro Detroit Real Estate Professional 734.564.1519
Remerica Integrity, Realtors®, Northville, MI

BLiz, congrats on the feature. It's amazing how many homes I'll show that have door walls wide open or unlocked doors. And it's not because the sellers left them open.

April 16, 2012 06:26 PM
Karen Feltman
Relocation Specialist
Cedar Rapids/Iowa City, IA Skogman Realty

It seems that every market has this kind of issue.  Careless agents that forget that no matter how "safe" they may think their city may be, we are the keepers of the keys and security of those homes.  Excellent reminder that it is not okay to "forget" to lock up after a showing.  What if it were your home?

April 16, 2012 06:26 PM
Debbie Reynolds
Your Dedicated Clarksville TN Real Estate Agent
Prudential PenFed Realty, "The Real Debbie Reynolds" Your Clarksville Real Estate Professional, 931-920-6730
Absolutely right. I don't know if agents get in a big hurry, don't pay attention, are distracted or don't care. Any of those reasons is just not good enough.
April 16, 2012 07:16 PM
Kathy Streib
Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224
Room Service Home Staging

BLiz- this has to be the 5th post I've read in as many months about this very subject. This is putting the seller's home and welfare in jeopardy! How many posts will it take???

April 16, 2012 07:26 PM
Liz and Bill Spear
RE/MAX Elite Warren County OH (Cincinnati/Dayton)
RE/MAX Elite 513.265.3004

Erica, We've yet to have an agent admit that they did it, and it is frustrating.

Sheila, Thanks!  A weekend of showings put to blogging use.

Kimm, Unfortunately there's little we can actually assume, even when it's just common sense.

Eric, That's the amazing thing.  A seller may have walked next door, and that's usually apparent.  But the other things, you know it's the agent before you that did it.

Karen, At least with our own home we're only guilty of risking our own stuff.

Debbie, That's our feeling on it.  There's just no reason for it.

Kathy, I don't think it's a matter of a certain number of posts, because the ones that need to read it, aren't here in the Rain to be bothered with the message.

April 16, 2012 07:37 PM
Marilyn Boudreaux
Lake Charles LA Century 21 Realtor
Marilyn Boudreaux, Century 21 Mike D. Bono & Co.'s

I had a key go missing once and called the last listing agent who said Oh I have it in my pocket for when I show tomorrow... Sometimes I wonder what agents are thinking!!!  Then I had a renter get locked out and when I gave them combo he still could not figure it out so he just cut the lockbox off you know how hard that is too do???

Very insightful post Bill, keys are protective and guarded and we are the gate keepers!

April 16, 2012 09:17 PM
Pete X-Investment to Luxury, Huntington Beach, CA -GRI-MCNE 714.459.2017
Outstanding Agent Referrals-Nationwide
X Group Real Estate Advocates

I thought I might help myself to free food from the fridge but after reading this post I better not!

I'm fine with making sure the home is secure when I leave.

April 16, 2012 11:07 PM
Kasey & John Boles - Jon Gosche Real Estate
Boise, Meridian, Ada/Canyon/Gem/Boise Counties
Jon Gosche Real Estate, Boise ID

I am shocked at how often we run across this too.  It is really sad that this is a problem. -Kasey

April 16, 2012 11:52 PM
Phil Leng
Phil Leng Team - Residential Real Estate Experts &
Keller Williams Eastside Market Center

Hi Liz and Bill,

My greatest fear as a showing agent is to lock the key inside the house!


April 17, 2012 03:01 AM
Liz and Bill Spear
RE/MAX Elite Warren County OH (Cincinnati/Dayton)
RE/MAX Elite 513.265.3004

Marilyn, Wow, they must have had a serious pair of bolt cutters to remove the lockbox!  I've found them still attached to the door knob where they've removed the entire door knob since they couldn't removed the lockbox itself.  You just never know what we'll see next.

Pete, A little of their wine, some cheese and crackers......  hopefully our broker won't mind the following call! :)

Kasey, Our feeling too.  This shouldn't be something we encounter, and obviously based on the responses this is a universal issue.

Phil, I'm paranoid about locking the key in, or the electronic keypad in and not being able to get in and get it back!

April 17, 2012 03:12 AM
Mike Cooper
Your Winchester, VA Real Estate Pro
Winchester Real Estate Sales, Cornerstone Business Group Inc

Bliz, I wrote about a house I found open, key missing, lights on, back door wide open and the large screen TV missing.  That happened in Feb 2012.  The agent before me left the house that way and took the key.  The listing agent just told me yesterday that she paid for the TV.  Ouch!  We do have a responsibility to the sellers.

April 17, 2012 05:41 AM
Liz and Bill Spear
RE/MAX Elite Warren County OH (Cincinnati/Dayton)
RE/MAX Elite 513.265.3004

Mike, If I were that listing agent I'd be after the showing agent and/or broker to be picking up the tab for that TV.  Wonder if their E&O would cover the cost?

April 17, 2012 06:37 AM
Barbara Hensley
Homes for Sale in Rockwall County, Texas
RE/MAX Properties

Liz & Bill - I always carry a good listing inventory too and feel like I need to shout BRAVO!!!  It amazes me what people, including some agents, will do in a home while showing.  

April 17, 2012 12:47 PM
Liz and Bill Spear
RE/MAX Elite Warren County OH (Cincinnati/Dayton)
RE/MAX Elite 513.265.3004

Barbara, We're usually between 10-15 listings, so obviously we get the good, the bad and the ugly coming back on behavior.  Kids toys broken, doors open, floor pulled up and more.  Just a little respect too much to ask for the sellers?

April 17, 2012 12:56 PM
Lisa Von Domek
....Experience Isn't Expensive.... It's Priceless!
Lisa Von Domek & Associates LLC, Real Estate Broker/Associate with Real Living Real Estate Group

Hello Liz and Bill,

I actually had one agent that statedto me "I know that I opened the key with the door, but nowI  can't find it to lock up.  So, the door must have been unlocked when I arrived"  I won't tell you my response....LOL


April 17, 2012 01:27 PM
Liz and Bill Spear
RE/MAX Elite Warren County OH (Cincinnati/Dayton)
RE/MAX Elite 513.265.3004

Lisa, That's another big smack to the back o' the head!

April 17, 2012 03:23 PM
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Liz and Bill Spear

RE/MAX Elite Warren County OH (Cincinnati/Dayton)
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