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Another Transaction ~~ Another Vandalized Home ~~ Time to Throw Away Combo Lockboxes

Real Estate Broker/Owner with Kristi Roberts Group/Premier Estates & Homes, Inc. CABRE 01361308

I just closed a model home last week.  30 days into the escrow, my partner took my clients over to let them measure for furniture.  I received a hysterical phone call from Mrs. Client.  She couldn't talk because she was so upset.  Come to find out, someone had obtained entry from the combo lockbox, entered the property, stole the mega high end washer and dryer and the refrigerator.  To compound the damage, they gouged, scraped and scratched the hardwood floors.  Fortunately, the builder had speciialists come in and restore the floors, but it took another 30 days.  We finally closed, but my clients were traumatized.  Fortunately, the seller was responsive and my clients loved the house enough to give the seller a chance to rectify the damage.

Last week, I had another bank owned offer accepted.  Another fricking combo lockbox.  Two days ago, I'm showing the family the house.  The house has been entered, there are two broken windows and missing wood blinds in the kitchen, family room, formal dining and living rooms.  The vandals broke the fountain too.  My clients are upset, but know that they're getting a killer deal on the house even with the additional damage.

We are going back to Supra lockboxes in the Temecula area and we'll use Sentrilock in the San Diego area and Hemet.  Agents that don't have the proper tools to enter the houses will be out of luck and their clients will be the losers. 

This is the 4th house in a year that I've had in escrow that has been vandalized in the middle of escrow.  Two clients held on, two backed out.  I've been primarily a listing agent, but I also have been representing many buyers in the last two years and these were not my listings.  We were migrating to combos for the ease of entry.  With the prevailing vandalism and agents who give out the combos, I am not going to set my clients up for having their homes vandalized and I don't want the liability.

What are your experiences?



Comments (5)

Sidney Kutchuk - Realty Works Temecula Kutchuk - Realty Works Temecula
Realty Works Temecula - Temecula, CA
Realty Works Temecula

Kristi - Look at this:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QlYHJSA_V9o

And this:  http://www.youtube.com/results?feature=moby&search_query=how+to+break+into+a+lock&search_type=&aq=5&oq=how+to+break+into+

All kinds of ways for kids to break into Combo Locks, part of the BAD of the Internet!

Jul 26, 2009 08:39 AM
Dale Baker
Baker Energy Audits and Commercial Properties Inspections - Claremont, NH
New Hampshire Relocation Real Estate Information

Howdy there Kristi

That sure is one of the bad things about homes that don't have anyone liven in them. Glad things worked out for your clients.


 to the ActiveRain community, it sure is a lot fun being a member of this real fine, blogging, learning, and networking community. If you sould ever need or would like some help with how things work here in the AR community. Just let me or Jane up above know, and we sure will be glad to give you a helpping hand.


Jul 27, 2009 03:00 PM
Dan Quinn
The Eric Steart Group of Long & Foster Real Estate - Silver Spring, MD
Dan Quinn

Thanks Kristi.  Good stuff.  It is important for Realtors and homeowners to know how easy it is to break into these locks.  Thanks Jane for pointing out those videos to us so we understand how to pick the locks. 

I usually just kick the door right next to the door handle and break the door jamb in.  If the first kick doesn't do it, I kick a little harder on the next try.  I've never needed to kick more than twice to pop open the door...

Why waste time fiddling with the lock? :-)

Jul 28, 2009 04:12 AM
Sandy Fenton
Keller Williams NY Realty * Licensed Associate Broker - Mount Kisco, NY
ABR, ASP, CDPE, GRI -Westchester NY - Condos to Luxury Homes


I've always had my doubts about those lockboxes!  I was so happy when we switched to Sentrilock.  I do have to say that I am amazed how many agents in my area still don't have a card 18 months later!

Welcome to AR!

Jul 28, 2009 05:56 AM
Mary Yonkers
Alan Kells School of Real Estate/Howard Hanna Real Estate - Erie, PA
Erie/PA Real Estate Instructor

Kristi--I was just introduced to you by Jane and thought I would visit your blog.  Please consider coming back.  This is such good information for all of us.  Glad it finally had a happy ending for them.

Sep 04, 2009 08:30 AM