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Courtney Mcnally's Blog

By Courtney McNally | Agent in 19125

Keeping Your Listing and Clients Safe

    As Real Estate Agents our first priority should be to keep our clients safe. With that being said I believe the number one way to keep our clients safe is to keep lockbox combinations private.
All to many times these combos are given freely to appraisers, inspectors, homeowners and potential buyers. This type of conduct put a home out there as a target we would love to believe that every one is honest and can be trusted. That would be a perfect world.But what if something were to happen while someone was in the home without the Agent present. Here a just a few examples say you give the combo to a potential buyer who has already walked through the home with you and call to get the combo to show a family member, maybe they have a alterior motive, what happens if these steal from the home or malicously break things or vandalize the property? What happens if your client goes to the home by themself and falls down the steps and is seriosly injured or even dies' who is at fault....you. 
       Many Agents use the stock combo that came with there locks any thief can google the lock and get the combo, so change it immediatly. Also for further protection you should regularly change the combo about once a month. Or invest in a ekey lockbock then you will have control over knowing who entered the property at all times.
      I hope this made you think a little more about safety, as I as an Agent have had many requests for combo's. I have denied them all and had people retort we'll my last agent let me have it. I kindly respond, if you need to enter the home again I will take you there and open the property up for you. And the usual response is I was just trying to make your job easier. That may be the case and the reason why combanations are given out so freely, sure it would be easier .... but not worth losing my license over

Comments

By Tony Mitidiero,  Wed May 29 2013, 09:02
Courtney,
I understand your position, but I think you may be creating some unwarranted concern on behalf of homeowners who may have access to the agent2agent section. I would be interested to know if you have ever had any instances of theft from your listings as a result of a lockbox.
One of the difficulties all of us as agents run across is the occasional seller who is adamant against having a lockbox at their property. I believe their chances of jeopardizing a sale due to missing showing requests or 'weirding out' prospective buyers is far greater than any chance of theft or break-in.
We verify all of the agents that show our listings prior to releasing combinations and granting access. Yes, we do have to rely on agents to keep this information confident, but it has worked out well so far as the sanctions against them for being held responsible for a theft outweigh any possible benefit associated with a theft.
When I come across sellers that may be reluctant to use a lockbox I share with them my personal experience in running our company. I came from the mortgage business to running the largest most-productive real estate office in the southern suburbs of Chicago almost out of nowhere and with no real estate sales experience. At the time, 95% of the lockboxes used on our listing were of the combination type. I found it intriguing that we could have access to so many properties with no instances of problems. I go on to tell them that over the course of four and a half years, with close to 1,000 listings I was responsible for, I had only 1 problem with damage or theft to a property. And, the one problem: a buyer accidentally knocked a bi-fold closet door off of its runner! This speaks volumes of the overall integrity of our industry especially considering the fact our office maintains a considerable inventory in some high-crime areas of Chicagoland.
We have all seen issues regarding break-in on foreclosed properties, but this does not appear to be a result of the manner in which Realtors handled showings of them. It's more a nature of the beast that, at least to me, appears to take place throughout all markets across the nation. Vacancy in itself creates a greater opportunity for theft or break-ins regardless of whether the property is listed for sale or not.
As we move forward with ever greater broker-centric tracking of the agents who are granted access to our listings we continue to improve our ability to minimize any risk associated with lockboxes.
By Phyllis Mcarthur,  Wed May 29 2013, 10:33
I would never use a combo box, supra key safe is the only access to my listings. If a workman needs access, I will let them in myself.
By Courtney McNally,  Thu May 30 2013, 07:42
Tony, How could you possibly think that a concern about safety from either an Agent or homeowner is unwarranted. I think you missed the point. Some agents DO give out these combos. And maybe a homeowner who has access to the agent 2 agent forum will be sure to ask Agents to make sure they either A) do not give out the combo to worker or anyone that is not an Agent and B) request a supra key be used on there home. In my opinion the only reason a combo would be given out is laziness an the Agents behalf.
 
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