Home Selling in Phoenix>Question Details

Pleasehelp, Home Seller in Phoenix, AZ

If a real estate agent puts a combination lockbox on my home, publishes the code in the MLS listing, and my house gets robbed, is the real estate

Asked by Pleasehelp, Phoenix, AZ Mon Jan 18, 2010

agent responsible?

Help the community by answering this question:


Please read section 4 of your listing agreement where it talks about the lockbox and where you give permission for its use. Generally the broker will not be liable, if everything is done correctly.

However I am not sure what do you mean by publishing it on the MLS listing. If the agent is publishing it in the Public Remarks section for the world to see, then that will be gross negligence and it will go against procedure and he should be liable for any damages. If the agent publishes the code in the section that is visible only to licensed agents, then he might or might not. Although an agent who does that do not have his client's best interest in mind.

In my opinion there is something wrong with an agent that does not uses and electronic lockbox (too cheap perhaps?), and that by itself should be a red flag that he might not be the best agent and he might not have your best interest in mind.

If I were you I would demand an electronic lockbox or no lockbox at all.

Carlos J. Ramirez, PC, ABR, CNE
Associate Broker/Realtor, HomeSmart -
2 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jan 20, 2010
This question was asked Jan 19, 2010
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Sep 17, 2013
Posting the combination on the MLS is a good example of pure laziness.....to do so is to overlook the best interests of the customer, regardless of what the company or board policy.

Common sense should tell us the best approach would be to have any interested party contact the agent or office directly for this information.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon Jan 18, 2010
A Realtor should use an electronic Realtor lockbox. There is no reason to use any mechanical lockbox unless you need to give a trusted contractor access to the home when you are not home. Also, if they use a mechanical box they should only put the combo in the Realtor section of the listing that is not viewable to the public. And--- you sign the listing agreement that reduces the Realtors liability
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Aug 10, 2014
You find a Realtor that has enough money to invest in an electronic lockbox so that they can track the showings on your home and follow up with the agents that show it. If the agent is following up, then the agent will be able to provide you feedback and let buyer's agents know if there are any changes in the terms of the listing.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jul 23, 2014
I know this is an old post but seeing other Realtors commenting on here so recently I wanted to share a new site that stores combos securely for the manual lockboxes. Its safe, secure, and simple to use and definitely affordable! It saves me hours of times a week and tons of money. It links to the BRE to verify Realtors before giving access, the listing agent is notified when an agent gets the combo via email/text. Check it out, http://www.lockboxcombos.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jul 15, 2014
So what prevents an agent from providing that combination to their buyer/ tenant? How can you track the number of times a person has entered the home once they receive the combination?
Flag Thu Jul 17, 2014
If you are uncomfortable with this have a talk with your agent. Communication between two parties (whether real estate related or not) can prevent problems before they arise.

Also, if someone were to steal from you and you were not home, it's not robbery, it's burglary :)
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Mar 10, 2014
We have a great system called SUPRA. This is an electronic lock box which also records which Realtor entered the home, by license number. It's much better and more efficient to use. Normally a Realtor with a viewing request will not divulge the lock box code unless they get an email from the buyer agent with all of their information on it. Even if the code was on the MLS, it would be in a section that only licensed Realtors could see.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Mar 9, 2014
There is the Fetchlock system for agents using combo boxes. Requires QR code reader and username and password, whenever a showing agents requests the combo that request is recorded the same as a Supra box. I think you have to buy the boxes from the company but they are still inexpensive compared to supra. fetchlock.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jan 8, 2014
Yes. You don't publish the code, that's just dumb. On another note, combo boxes are perfectly safe. Does anyone really think a theif would sit there and pick your combo box? No way! They'd put a rock through your sidelight and use the doorknob.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Oct 4, 2013
I think Carlos hit the nail on the head. Combination or "mech" boxes do have a place in this business, but not for showings. For owners, tradesmen, cleaners, etc that don't have supra access, they can be a time saver for the seller, but that's about it.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Sep 17, 2013
It would not be possible to happen if the agent was using the Supra Lockbox. You might ask the agent prior to listing, what type of security device they have to prevent the general public from having access to any codes or keys and who do they allow to have that information. Realtors have a code of conduct to obey. Seller must interview their agent and follow up with any of their concerns if they feel that their agent is not stepping up to their expectation.
The agent would be braking the law in Texas by making that code available to the public and would be reported to the Texas Real Estate Commission.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Sep 16, 2013
Some agents actually do this out here in NY as well, and publish the code - however, the big difference is that only other agents can see it.

Even then, I would not suggest doing so.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Sep 16, 2013
Your agent should NOT publish the code in the MLS listing for the whole world to see. Your agent should make it so that people have to identify themselves before he/she will give them the combo code. No way would you want random strangers seeing the code on the internet.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Sep 16, 2013
I hope it all worked out. Your Realtor should have your permission to put the type of lockbox on the home and explain the risk and how they will use the code in this case. I do not use code myself vs the SUPRA e-key because it has a better tracking method. I will say that several years ago I did have a SUPRA box on my clients listing (vacant) and during our escrow period...it was stolen and the key was retrieved the the thief "rented" the home to an unsuspecting couple who lost "earnest money and rent" when we found them in the house two days later and had to evict them. The seller at the time wanted to allow pre-occupancy of the correct "buyer" at that time and I advised that was such a fluke that we "should be ok" as I don't prefer pre-occupancy...then wouldnt' you know it! 3 days later another poor soul had the same "tenant" scam pulled on them for same house. The thief was caught a week or so later but I always tell my sellers the risk and responsibility they have allowing the lockbox. The truth is they are necessary as it would be impossible to personally show every home on a buyer schedule. The key is to be in constant monitoring which I tell my sellers to check the box daily when they arrive home. They are allowing it so they do need to know how to manage it.

Again, I hope it all worked out!

Laura Myers PLLC
Keller Williams Arizona Realty
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Sep 25, 2010
Hi Pleasehelp and Jay,

Jay - I liked your blog post. Question for you, relevant to others on this thread. How do you handle it when it's a bank owned property and the asset manager insists on a combo box for their contractor access? I see a lot of agents use ONLY the combo lockbox for REO properties - which are vacant, anyway. Rarely, I see agents place both on the property and Realtors are expected to use the Supra. Last comment, as a Broker, I provide lockboxes to all of our agents. Seems it is up to the agent to purchase their own lockboxes there? Curious.

Pleasehelp - If your home is owner occupied, I would insist on a SUPRA box which can report who accesses the property and when. I know you have SUPRA boxes cuz I read Jay's blog.

0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jan 18, 2010
Deborah Madey, Real Estate Pro in Red Bank, NJ
As jeff said, the best thing to do if you are living in the house or have items in the house is to have the agent put on a MLS Lockbox. This is only for Realtors. It monitors who goes in and when, that way you know who has been in and when. Typically we put these on regular sales and occupied sales. Dial lockboxes are best for Bank Owned properties.

If you have any other questions in regards to Real Esates please let us know. Our team of Real Esate specialists will get the job done for you.

The Schexneider Group
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jan 18, 2010
I think Patrick summed my feelings pretty well. If you did get robbed under this scenario, I'd get a copy of the listing with the lockbox code showed in the public remarks section and provide it to your insurance agent for consideration.
Web Reference: http://www.urbanteamaz.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jan 18, 2010
Dear Pleasehelp:

If I were you, I would insist that the agent that lists your home uses the SUPRA Realtor lockbox. Only currently registered agents are able to access your home through the computer controlled device. Also, the ID of every agent that enters your house will be captured. This is good not only for control, but enables your listing agent to follow up with the agent of poetential buyers that viewed your home.

If you need any assistance or an agent that can list your home feel free to ask.

Regards, Jeff

Jeff Masich, Realtor®
Arizona Homes and Land
HomeSmart Real Estate
Web Reference: http://ArizonaHomesLand.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jan 18, 2010

There are always two sides to every story. Your agent could have not published the code in the MLS and your house still could get robbed. For this reason I use the New Lockboxes that can track which agents have accessed your home and at what time. I don't want to say that some agents will call you for the code to your listing and then give it to the client but it does happen. Those damn combo boxes should be done away with just for this reason, leaves you out there in the wind if this happens to your client. Good luck and try to resolve with agent and broker first, I'm sure they'll do the right thing...!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jan 18, 2010
Sounds like a horrible idea to me. The point of keeping the lockbox code is to make sure anyone who wants to see the inside of a home must call the agent directly or schedule a showing through the office. This way the agent is aware of everyone looking at the home. These days, most everyone can search the MLS and get info about the home, and if the lockbox code is available then anyone and everyone has access to the home.

My vote is that the real estate agent would be, and should be responsible if your home gets robbed if they have posted the lockbox code to the public.

(Lockbox codes should always be changed after every showing or weekly if work is being done be contractors.)
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jan 18, 2010
The code should only be in the agent remarks section. If it was outside of agent remarks you have a strong case.

Myself, I don`t use combination lock boxes, I use supra e key, which is the most secure.

The combination box should never be used in a home that is occupied.
When publishing code`s it is better to ask the buyer agent (showing agent) to send an email, or a text with their ARMLS ID to receive the code, that way Listing agent has a better record, and the code is not made public.

To answer your question......You`re damn right!, they should never have used it in the first place. What were they thinking, would they have done that to their home and family?

I know you`re mad! Remember, you only got robbed, hopefully know one was hurt.

Good Luck
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jan 18, 2010
Mr.P, Other/Just Looking in Arizona
Maybe, but, maybe not. You know, if I leave the keys to my front door under the mat, and put a sign on the front door reminding me of the fact ("Dummy! There's a spare key under the mat!"), that still doesn't mean that someone might come in through the back door, never having seen the sign.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jan 18, 2010
Yes. As your representative the agent did not use due diligence safeguarding your property. Call your attorney for state specific info
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jan 18, 2010
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