I hope this information helps! Best Wishes to you!
"My listing agent says it's okay because the buyer is well known to the buyer's agent"
Great. Actually, that sounds like the perfect scam for a con man. Become "well known" to an agent. Arrange it so you just have to see a house when it is inconvenient for the buyer's agent and convince them to give you the key. That would make a good Lifetime movie. Anyway, I'm not saying it was anyone's intent to rob you but this action was 100% unethical and I would not tolerate it, as a Realtor or as a client.
I think I speak for all of the contributers to this discussion that we are all delighted for you that this violation of Realtor protocol has resulted in a contract for the purchase of your property. However, please advise your Realtor to withhold any complaint against the offending buyer broker until after the closing. Once the sale of your property closes, advise your broker that you expect her/him to file a complaint or, if s/he refuses, that you expect her/him to provide you with the information to do so yourself. Your privacy and "castle" have still been violated. Fortunately, the result, at this time, appears to be favorable to your position. But things still could turn adverse to your position, so hold on for now. Keep us advised on the progress of the transaction so we can continue to provide you with our thinking on the situation.
If your agent knew about this, and agreed to it (without your permission), you need to have a long talk with him, and set him straight. Also, what if you'd had another showing during the day, between the time the buyer's agent picked up the key, and the buyer brought it back.. the lock box would have been empty.
If the buyer's agent was having a scheduling conflict, he could have arranged for your listing agent to meet and show the property to the buying agent... or he could have arranged for someone from his office to accompany... he should never have allowed the buyer unaccompanied access to your home.
Deborah's comments have some merit, but your property has been trespassed upon. I think you have a valid reason to call the police. I don't recommend that but someone has violated your trust and your privacy and that person is the broker who gave the key to your property to a "potential buyer". I don't care how much of a "buyer's market" we are in, that is not acceptable behavior. Talk with your Realtor and ask about the process of filing an ethics complaint against that "buyer's agent".
If you are really serious go to http://www.realtor.org and down load the Code Of Ethics for Realtors. I did a quick pass and did not observe any violations, however it might be helpful. Trespass may be the legal explanation, and if warranted (re-arranging your belongings) filing a greivance with the local association of Realtors would be in order.
The greivance would be filed with the association, then the greivance committee would determine if the complaint was legitimate (not if the buyer's agent was guilty, simply that if the facts put forth were true, then it is possible for their to be liability or wrong doing). The greivance committee passes the finding onto the Professional Standards committee, who will make a determination as to the appropriatet course of action.
Contact http://www.sacrealtor.org to obtain more information. it may be a buyer's market, but our clients deserve our protection.
In my opinon, there was no criminal intent in the action, so I don't see that this is an action that would have any criminal charges associated. The buyer was not entering your home for any illegal purpose.
The buyer agent exercised extremely poor judgement....one which should be reported. There isn't any excuse for this lapse of judgement. It seems like the lisitng agent was attempting to minimize the impact of the decison.
I recommend that you phone the broker of the buyer agent and discuss this situation. While I don't see it as criminal, neither should it be brushed under the rug. If you are not satisfied w/ the results of your discussion w/ the broker, you may also report this action to the local association, and/or state regulatory body.
Sellers should have confidence that the lockboxes on their homes are used only as authorized.