Don't Lose The Keys To The Castle!

By
Real Estate Agent with RE/MAX Elite 513.265.3004 www.LizTour.com 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

MailTo:  LizSpear@Go-Concepts.com

Our Website:  www.LizTour.com

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Re-Blogged 1 time:

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  1. Lenn Harley 04/16/2012 04:58 AM
Topic:
Real Estate Best Practices
Groups:
"Whacked"!!!
RE/MAX Active Rain Bloggers
Realtors®
BananaTude
Club Chaos
Tags:
lockboxes
showing homes

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Ambassador
1,531,189
Liz and Bill Spear
RE/MAX Elite 513.265.3004 www.LizTour.com - Mason, OH
RE/MAX Elite Warren County OH (Cincinnati/Dayton)

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!

Apr 16, 2012 03:16 PM #44
Ambassador
1,290,876
Erica Ramus
Erica Ramus - Ramus Realty Group - Pottsville, PA - Pottsville, PA
MRE, Schuylkill County PA Real Estate

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

Apr 16, 2012 05:49 PM #45
Rainmaker
1,175,934
Sheila Anderson
Referral Group Incorporated - East Brunswick, NJ
The Real Estate Whisperer Who Listens 732-715-1133

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

Apr 16, 2012 05:56 PM #46
Rainer
76,932
Kimm Cloutier
Agawam, MA
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. 

Apr 16, 2012 06:13 PM #47
Rainmaker
542,279
Eric Michael
Remerica Integrity, Realtors®, Northville, MI - Livonia, MI
Metro Detroit Real Estate Professional 734.564.1519

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.

Apr 16, 2012 06:26 PM #48
Rainmaker
360,031
Karen Feltman
Cedar Rapids/Iowa City, IA Skogman Realty - Cedar Rapids, IA
Relocation Specialist

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?

Apr 16, 2012 06:26 PM #49
Ambassador
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Debbie Reynolds
Prudential PenFed Realty, "The Real Debbie Reynolds" Your Clarksville Real Estate Professional, 931-920-6730 - Clarksville, TN
Your Dedicated Clarksville TN Real Estate Agent
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.
Apr 16, 2012 07:16 PM #50
Ambassador
1,575,826
Kathy Streib
Room Service Home Staging - Delray Beach, FL
Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224

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???

Apr 16, 2012 07:26 PM #51
Ambassador
1,531,189
Liz and Bill Spear
RE/MAX Elite 513.265.3004 www.LizTour.com - Mason, OH
RE/MAX Elite Warren County OH (Cincinnati/Dayton)

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.

Apr 16, 2012 07:37 PM #52
Ambassador
622,164
Marilyn Boudreaux
Marilyn Boudreaux, Century 21 Mike D. Bono & Co.'s - Lake Charles, LA
Lake Charles LA Century 21 Realtor

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!

Apr 16, 2012 09:17 PM #53
Rainmaker
417,069
Pete X with X Group Real Estate Advocates, Huntington Beach, CA 714.459.2017 OCLister.com
Investments to Luxury - Huntington Beach, CA
Outstanding Agent Referrals-Nationwide

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.

Apr 16, 2012 11:07 PM #54
Rainmaker
285,497
Kasey & John Boles - Jon Gosche Real Estate
Jon Gosche Real Estate, Boise ID - Boise, ID
Boise, Meridian, Ada/Canyon/Gem/Boise Counties

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

Apr 16, 2012 11:52 PM #55
Rainmaker
579,466
Phil Leng
Keller Williams Eastside Market Center - Kirkland, WA
Phil Leng Team - Residential Real Estate Experts &

Hi Liz and Bill,

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

Phil

Apr 17, 2012 03:01 AM #56
Ambassador
1,531,189
Liz and Bill Spear
RE/MAX Elite 513.265.3004 www.LizTour.com - Mason, OH
RE/MAX Elite Warren County OH (Cincinnati/Dayton)

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!

Apr 17, 2012 03:12 AM #57
Rainmaker
824,048
Mike Cooper
Winchester Real Estate Sales, Cornerstone Business Group Inc - Winchester, VA
Your Winchester, VA Real Estate Pro

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.

Apr 17, 2012 05:41 AM #58
Ambassador
1,531,189
Liz and Bill Spear
RE/MAX Elite 513.265.3004 www.LizTour.com - Mason, OH
RE/MAX Elite Warren County OH (Cincinnati/Dayton)

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?

Apr 17, 2012 06:37 AM #59
Rainmaker
647,303
Barbara Hensley
RE/MAX Properties - Rockwall, TX
Homes for Sale in Rockwall County, Texas

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.  

Apr 17, 2012 12:47 PM #60
Ambassador
1,531,189
Liz and Bill Spear
RE/MAX Elite 513.265.3004 www.LizTour.com - Mason, OH
RE/MAX Elite Warren County OH (Cincinnati/Dayton)

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?

Apr 17, 2012 12:56 PM #61
Rainmaker
1,177,602
Lisa Von Domek
Lisa Von Domek & Associates LLC Team at Real Estate Broker/Associate with Real Living Real Estate Group www.LisaVon.com - Dallas, TX
....Experience Isn't Expensive.... It's Priceless!

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

 

Apr 17, 2012 01:27 PM #62
Ambassador
1,531,189
Liz and Bill Spear
RE/MAX Elite 513.265.3004 www.LizTour.com - Mason, OH
RE/MAX Elite Warren County OH (Cincinnati/Dayton)

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

Apr 17, 2012 03:23 PM #63
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