An ugly day of home showings

Real Estate Agent with Real Estate One 6501304423

I was showing houses down river in Lincoln Park and Allen Park.  It was a bad day.  I had 7 houses set up to show.  The first house we went to I went to try the lock box.  The listing office had given me a numeric code but the lockbox was alphabetic lockbox.  I called the listing office and they put me thru to the agent.  The agent had NO CLUE WHAT THE LOCKBOX CODE WAS!!!!  

The only reason you don't know what the code is because you stole or "borrowed" the lockbox from another realtor.  Most agents use the same codes on all their lockboxes.  So if you can't remember the lockbox code I would bet that the real estate agent never bought that lock box.

The next house we got into no problem.  The next house the lock box and key was gone off the house. So we couldn't get into that house either.  Some real estate agent got themselves a new lockbox.  (I hope they remember the code) Then we got into the next two houses.

Then we went to the next house.  There is a lock box on the front door.  The code doesn't work.  I call the listing office no answer.  Sure it's Sunday but it is only 2 o'clock.  I go around back and there is another lock box.  The code doesn't work on that one either.

I get a call about a half an hour later.  They tell me they have known since Friday that neither lock box worked.  But I set up the showing on Saturday and they didn't say anything.  So I don't know but I think some agents don't just don't have ethics or common courtesy. 

So out of 7 homes I couldn't get into 2 of the homes because of agent/office incompetence.  BUT LUCKILY OUT OF THE FOUR DOWNRIVER HOMES WE LOOKED AT MY CLIENT LOVED ONE.

Russ Ravary your Metro Detroit real estate agent


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Comments (49)

Judi Abbott
CENTURY 21 Lois Lauer Realty - Redlands, CA

Oh, Russ!  Believe me I feel your pain.  I'm having similar challenges every week here in So.California.  It sometimes takes two weeks to get my calls to the LA to be returned.  I call and leave messages at the numbers they provide when their VM isn't full...can't reach anyone at their office, send emails.  I've taken to submitting offers contingent upon interior inspection only to get a brief email in a day or two advising me the home has been sold!  Sold!  Sold?  How can it be sold when you can't get in and can't reach the LA? And, If it's sold why does the MLS still read LA to show.  How about the excuse they use...."Sorry I didn't return you call .....I'm so busy".  Like the rest of us have time to burn?  Especially now with the pressure of finding a home for our First Time Buyers that will close before the tax refund expiration date.  Come on people...How about a little professional courtesy?

I've vented and feel a little better now!  But I'm still submitting MLS violation notices of all these agents and hope you'll report incorrect listing info to your local MLS!  Hope it helps clean up some of the garbage that is wasting our time and our client's time and patience.

Sep 14, 2009 04:56 AM
Richard Lawler

Russ, we all have been there or I should say the working Realtors have been there. Have you notice the arrogant of some of the agents and even the managers when you call them on this.

Thanks for bringing this up! To bad it's unethical to point out such laziness to the homeowner.

Why would you not want an agent to show your listing? There was a time you had to go show all your listings with the buyer's agent or the keys for our listings where always in the office.

We all have been the victim of stolen keys or lock boxes. I can understand that may not be the listing agents fault yet, for my listings I like to have a Supra and a hidden combo lockboxes on the property. Even to go as far as to have an extra set of keys with me to let agents and their clients in. Then you have to change the locks because some bone head agent took your key. You see I want my listing sold so I work for my clients. 

I can not tell you in the beginning how many times I looked at my buyers to apologize for my colleagues wasting of their time. Then I learn something that help me out a bunch, when I have a buyer interested in making visit appointments I go preview the homes to make sure we are able to get in. That is old school and once was the standard in my office.

If it is noted in the MLS of a lock box and a code I would hope that is a violation on this listing so call them on it!

The only way we are going to clean out our industry is to police ourselves.

Just one more point about showing properties, I don't know about your part of the country but in mind all the top listing agents answer their phones if not them they have a trained agent there to help.

Best to luck Russ and congratulations on showing your clients that you are a true professional to have then even in a frustration moment to write an offer.

T.R.G. The Realestate Group, Inc.
DRE License #00942766


Sep 14, 2009 05:51 AM
Georgie Hunter R(S) 58089
Hawai'i Life Real Estate Brokers - Haiku, HI
Maui Real Estate sales and lifestyle info

So maybe it was a blessing in disguise - too many options and it's hard for the buyer to make a choice.  And think of the time you saved by not having to go through those homes!

Sep 14, 2009 05:51 AM
Sandy McAlpine
Search Lake Norman Homes For Sale - Lake Norman NC

Well it sounds like both houses need a new agent in the area! They are doing a disservice to the sellers by not letting it show easily

Sep 14, 2009 06:20 AM
Kerry Jenkins
Prime Properties - Crestline, CA

There's a button on our MLS that says report violation. That's exactly what you need to do!  Report them for not having correct codes.  That sounds to me that they're trying to double end which is the same as offering conditional compensation.  I get this alot.  It makes me angry because I look unprepared and unprofessional.  VIOLATION on the agent that doesn't cooperate and can't do their job.

Sep 14, 2009 07:10 AM
Kathie Burby
Coldwell Banker Mother Lode Real Estate - Sonora, CA
REALTOR, SFR, Tuolumne County Real Estate Guide

Russ - Sounds like you are a true professional - you managed to hang on to your clients and even write an offer despite the showing setbacks. Like many other associations our MLS has changed to Supra lockboxes to help eliminate the problems you encountered. It helped but there are still those that say contact LA to show - and guess what - they never call back. It always makes me wonder if the seller is aware of how difficult it is to show the home. Good luck with your 1st time buyers.

Sep 14, 2009 08:33 AM
Carrie Sampron
Home Smart Realty Group - Highlands Ranch, CO
ABR SFR & Kathy Sampron (303) 931-3629 Highlands R

Russ:  Oh my gosh, I'm sure we all have many many stories of times we could not get into a lock box, or the key was missing, etc.  We even write into the agency contract where it asks about issues access homes that we may have problems with lock boxes.  Sorry for the bad day.  Hope they buy the one they like.

Sep 14, 2009 09:45 AM
James Randall
Palm Bay, FL

Most agents in our area use the Supra electronic lockbox system. That solves the issue of combinations for lockboxes and for thievery of lockboxes since you have to have the special combo to release the shackle. However it doesn't address the issues of incompetence and laziness on the part of listing agents.

I have been known to find a unlocked door or to open the front door with a knife in order to show a property. Life is never dull and if you have understanding clients with you it can even be fun!

Sep 14, 2009 10:25 AM
Deborah Wilson
Hackenberg Realty Group - Canton, OH
Stark County OH Real Estate

Agents in my area, use Supra on the nice houses, and combinations on REO's.  Sometimes there is a combination that doesn't work.  I feel  stupid when I cannot get the lockbox to work.

Sep 14, 2009 11:37 AM
Sherry Laursen
Remax Premier Group - Wesley Chapel, FL

Luckily, I've only had this happen a few times and of course the listing agent is no where to be found. Its quite annoying. I wish our MLS would require everyone to use the Supra lock boxes, but no such luck with that.

Sep 14, 2009 01:02 PM
Bonnie Scribner
Century 21 Discovery - Fullerton, CA

In California, many of the REOs are actually under the control of a management company hired by the bank.  They go periodically and change the lockboxes to ensure the integrity of the code, and especially if agents have been giving out the code.  That's why so many of them have two lockboxes:  One the agent controls and one the management/maintenance company takes care of.  I've had many agents tell me it could be **** or maybe **** because those are the codes the company use.  Perhaps that's what happened.  I'd hate to think they stole it.  If they don't have the code, how did they attach the shackle?  Just a thought. What annoys me the most is when the agents are nowhere to be found on a weekend, and you have to call for a code.  I try to prepare during the week, but sometimes the clients want to see something at the last minute.  Isn't it great that we really DO love this profession?  The hours are terrible and the working conditions are often difficult and stressful.  The rewards of putting a family in a home they love make it all worthwhile, though. 

Sep 14, 2009 02:12 PM
Patty Da Silva, Davie, Southwest Ranches Cooper City, Plantation, Weston, REALTOR
BROKER of Green Realty Properties® - 954-667-7253 - Davie, FL
Top Listing Broker

I cannot help but wonder..

Why, in 2009, our industry still tolerates combination lock boxes?

They are unsafe, not professional, can be easily stolen AND Realtors and offices never seem to have the right code to open them.

SUPRA is the way to go.. an e-KEY costs around $150 to rent for the year and anyone wanting to call themselves a professional has to have one.

When I hire a Realtor, they agree, in writing to obtain a e-KEY withing 5 days (in the case they do not have one).

Even on REOs, combos should NOT be tolerated. The bank can, of course, have their combo box on the property so they have access, but they should obligate the listing agent to put a SUPRA on the property.

As an industry.. We should demand more instead of just accepting less.

Help lots of people and have a great day!

Patty Da Silva , CDPE©, RESS®, AHWD®, e-PRO®, GREEN, CFS

Visit for SouthEast Florida's best properties.


Sep 14, 2009 02:43 PM
Eileen Burns
Trans State Commercial RE Ft. Lauderdale/Miami/Palm Beach - Fort Lauderdale, FL
FLorida Real Estate Connector

Supra is the way to go, The system electronically tracks who actually opens the door so you can accurately report the results to the seller. You can also restrict access times so no one can view after dark or become a squatter in a vacant home. You can always gain access as you are the professional who even remembers to re-charge the key pad.

In this upside down market it is tragic that we encounter lazy, inexperienced people who have no idea how the world of commerce works effectively. They faile to invest in themselves let alone in their profession.  They take the same test as us and do not comprehend the code of ethics.

In my market many agents are utlizing central showing service to set appointments.  They add several layers to setting up a simple appointment only to find the appointment is not confirmed until the agent calls you.  As a professional you call in advance, sometimes 48 hours, only to find you must also call this agent for access info. Time wasters.

I often arrive to find Combo lockboxes are not even returned to the locked position and the homes have sliding doors that are not locked.  I am amazed that banks forget what business they are...the money business, not the real estate business and should get with the 21st century for the safety of all concerned.   Dont get me started on turn around time for response to offers or accepting multiple offers that take an endless amount of time to process.

On the brighter side Russ, your smile, humor and blue sky got you through the challenges of the moment.  Yes, all these disasters reflect upon us as an industry and made it an uglu day for you and your prospect. 


Eileen Burns, Associate Broker metro Ft Lauderdale 

Sep 14, 2009 03:36 PM
Mark Velasco
West Shores Realty - Whittier, CA
Top Producing Broker Associate

Sorry that you had a bad day Russ. At least you got the sale. Congratulations. I agree that codes should be updated on the MLS out of courtesy for those hard working Buyer's agents.

Sep 14, 2009 05:16 PM
John J. Woods
Big Dog Press, LLC - Winder, GA
Going where no man has gone before - wouldn't you?

Congratulations!  And welcome to the world shared by appraisers.  Most appraisers have access to the MLS (in one way or another), and with the HVCC the way it currently is, most of them are hustling every minute just to try and make enough to pay their regular bills.  So most of them will get the realtor code of the MLS notes and head off to the property so they don't have to bother (or rely on) an agent who may or may not be available in the time frame that's important for the appraiser.  I can't tell you how many times I've gone to a property to find the lock box code is numeric rather than alphabetical, or vice-versa, or worse yet, electronic (Supra), and I don't have a 'key' with me!  And frequently, no one in the realtor's office is available who knows what the code is or when that particular agent will be back.  Appraisers (at least those who are still in business) are just hanging on by their fingernails right now and any way they can be more efficient with their time is critical.  It's not making them more money, it's just not costing them as much.

Sep 14, 2009 05:30 PM
Barbara Altieri
Better Homes and Gardens RE Shore and Country Properties - Shelton, CT
REALTOR-Fairfield County CT Homes/Condos For Sale

We have all had lockbox issues at one time or another, but why?? It is the listing agent's responsibility to ensure the lockbox is functioning properly. In the event it does not, and the office is called, I would hope someone would be there  "called the listing office no answer.  Sure it's Sunday but it is only 2 o'clock."  Having this happen throws the whole showing schedule off and is an incredible disservice to the seller.  I am glad, though, that even with all the nonsense, it worked out for you. 

Sep 15, 2009 12:07 AM
Timmy The Cat
Branch, LA
ActiveRain is a scam

Wow, that sounds like a hassle, not sure what kind of lockboxes you have down there but ours don't have codes. We each have our own high-tech password protected infrared 'keys' to access each lockbox. It's annoying when you forget to update the code for that month, but it only takes an extra minute to do it, buyer's don't even notice!

Sep 15, 2009 03:05 PM
Barb Mihalik
RE/MAX Elite - Suntree, FL

Thanks goodness for Supra Keys and our wonderful call center.  Those realtors need to have their heads examined.  They're not doing what's in the best interests of their clients if the homes can't be shown.

Sep 19, 2009 12:27 AM
Barb Mihalik
RE/MAX Elite - Suntree, FL

One other thing...I couldn't preview 2 houses last week because the keys in the lockbox wouldn't open the door. When I called one of the agents, she took a whole day to get back to me and told me to fiddle with the key.  I had already spent 15 minutes fiddling with the key and had gotten sweaty, mosquito bitten and frustrated.  Needless to say, I had plenty of others to show my buyers. This one dropped of the list Please make sure the blessed key works EASILY.  I'm carrying around WD-40 from now on.

Sep 19, 2009 02:00 AM
Stuart Dobson - Thornton, CO

OMG...that sounds like the showing day from H***.  I hate combo lockboxes, but they are still prevalent out here.  And I agree, the REO listings are the worst with access, thankfully I have only had that happen a few times and never more than one in a day. lol, at least your clients loved one house they could see!

Sep 21, 2009 07:35 AM