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"Oh that's ok. Our agent gave us the lockbox code!" SERIOUSLY?!?!?!

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"Oh that's ok. Our agent gave us the lockbox code!"


My new sellers were so excited! We listed their house recently and they had their first showing scheduled for 11am today. At 12:10pm, Mr. Seller called: "Sue, it doesn't look like anyone was here. There isn't a card, and the lights were still on." I told him I'd give the buyer's agent a call & confirm they saw the house. I got the BA's voicemail, and then Mr. Seller called back.

"Hey Sue, there's a young couple at our front door with "Fred's" business card. They said he's out of town & he told them they could come see the house without him. So we're out on the deck and they're walking through the house."

Yikes! I didn't like THAT...having these strangers wandering through their house without an agent accompanying them. That was problem #1.

The couple was there about 15 minutes, and as they were getting ready to leave Mr. Seller asked, "By the way, what would you have done if we weren't here?"

Ready for this??? Problem #2...

"Oh that's ok. Our agent gave us the lockbox code!"


Apparently this couple saw 2 other houses before ours...but those were vacant. So that made it "ok"?!?!?!

To say I was livid would be an understatement! My seller was surprisingly calm about it, but they are obviously not happy. This is not a foreclosure (which would not make it ok!!). This is a home my sellers are living in! I have since changed the code on that lockbox, and yes, I have contacted the agent's manager. That agent has been licensed since 2002, so there's no excuse.

Ready for the kicker?? I just received a call from "Fred" who proceeded to lie and tell me he was there at 11:30 with a female client. Oh really?? How then did this couple get his card? And my code?? When I laid into him expressed my displeasure, he tried to turn it around and had the nerve to demand: "Do your sellers want to sell their house or not?!?!"

Absolutely unbelievable.

I have never, ever shared a lockbox code with a client. Or even another agent! When I am given that code, it is the key to someone else's property! The Golden Rule again, folks. Do you want strangers wandering through your house whenever they want??? I don't care if it's a relative or someone "you trust". NO WAY!!! We have a Code of Ethics we must live by. Even if it weren't for the Code, what about common sense????

What would you do???

Posted by




Does Your Real Estate Agent "Sell With Soul"?

The Golden Rule...it's that simple!



James Loftis
RealEstate911.com - West Palm Beach, FL

We have had the same problem here in the Miami area with the realtors giving the there client the lockbox code.

Jun 11, 2011 07:47 AM
Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn
Sell with Soul - Pensacola Beach, FL
Author of Sell with Soul

No Freakin' Way. Ditto what Sharon said. If he'd been a little more decent about it, I MIGHT be inclined to handle it between the two of us, but to get snooty with you? Oh heavens... this guy is an idiot and honestly should be dis-licensed (as opposed to dis-barred!)


Jun 11, 2011 07:53 AM
Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn
Sell with Soul - Pensacola Beach, FL
Author of Sell with Soul

But... let me guess... HE's the broker???

Jun 11, 2011 07:53 AM
Sue Gabriel
Cleveland, OH

Ann ~ It's funny, but the more I think about it, the angrier I get. And people wonder why our profession has taken a hit in the public eye!!

Sharon ~ I've spoken to his broker twice. The first time right after I found out...the second time after "Fred" called and chastised ME!! Argh!!!!!!!

James ~ I've seen this happen with foreclosures, but still won't do it. It isn't MY HOUSE. Pure & simple!

JAH ~ No...thankfully he is NOT the broker! If he were, I would have had MY broker call and handle it. Although I do have a call in to him...he needs to know what's going on. And I agree...Fred is an idiot, and he should be dis-licensed!Funny, but that's what I was saying to my son..."This guy should be disbarred!!!!"



Jun 11, 2011 07:59 AM
Robert McArtor
RE/MAX Components - Fallston Maryland - Bel Air, MD
Top Listing Agent for Baltimore and Harford County

Bank Homes are the worst.

Jun 11, 2011 08:05 AM
Donna Foerster
HomeSmart Realty Group - Parker, CO
Metro Denver Real Estate Assistant

Sue~ I would have reported that BA to the Real Estate commission.  No two ways about it!

Jun 11, 2011 08:07 AM
Sue Gabriel
Cleveland, OH

Robert ~ I have shown foreclosures and when I arrive there's someone walking around inside. And they weren't with an agent. Not only is that unethical, it's dangerous!

Donna ~ I'm still waiting for my broker to return my call. I want to run this by him first before I file a complaint. Thank you for your comment!!


Jun 11, 2011 08:10 AM
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Yikes. It's not just an issue with the COE but here you will lose your MLS priveleges, and potentially worse. I would report it, unless your broker feels otherwise.


Jun 11, 2011 08:30 AM
Les Vyhnalek

I would persue this to the nth degree.  It is irresponsible, dangerous and setting us all up for stolen copper, stolen TV, PCs...  I believe it is against our code of ethics.  I personally would get the agent to admit he did it or I will call the Department of commerce.  I treat every house I show as if were my listing or my home.  I lock up, turn lights off...  Come on, Sue - tell me who it was?  I'll take care of it.cherimoya

Jun 11, 2011 08:35 AM
Maureen McCabe
HER Realtors - Columbus, OH
Columbus Ohio Real Estate

Yikes.... does he run a background  check on  buyers before he cavelierly provides 24 hour access  to  properties to them to someone's home???? It breaks an MLS rule I am sure. That's why I like Supra or Sentra. If I was the seller I would be livid.

Jun 11, 2011 08:53 AM
Sue Gabriel
Cleveland, OH

Jeff ~ Same here! I'm having my seller compile his version of what happened today. That's the first step!

Les ~ Oh I wish I could tell you! But I'm the same way...lights off, doors locked, cats petted. We have the priviledge to be in these homes, and we must never abuse it!

Maureen ~ This is the one time I wish we had the electronic boxes. Expensive though they are. And you know what? This guy probably would have given the box to the couple anyway.



Jun 11, 2011 12:30 PM
Carla Harbert
www.LorainCountyHomeSales.com - Avon, OH
RE/MAX Omega: Lorain-Medina County Area

Ohio Real Estate Commission issues warning

Warning from the Ohio Real Estate Commission: Never Provide a Lock-Box Code to a Potential Buyer

The Ohio Real Estate Commission considers providing a potential buyer with a lock-box code and allowing them to view a property unattended a serious offense. In fact, the Commission recently ordered a licensee to serve a 10-day suspension, pay a $600 civil penalty, and complete three hours of education in ethics for providing a lock-box code to a client which resulted in the client's unsupervised entry into the property.

A licensed real estate agent should always be present at showings and should never provide a lock-box code to a potential buyer. If you are unable to attend a previously-scheduled showing, you should have another licensed agent attend on your behalf or simply explain the situation to your client and reschedule the showing.

See Jan 10th, 2011  OAR eLetter

Here you go Sue - Our Ohio Real Estate Commission has posted a warning on this for agents in our state.

Jun 12, 2011 08:37 AM
Sue Gabriel
Cleveland, OH

Thank you, Carla! I remember seeing that, but not paying too much attention to the article because I "naively" thought "Who would do something like that?!?!" Sheesh.


Jun 12, 2011 09:20 AM
Lorri Marginian, RE/MAX Pros S

Sue, This has always bothered me and continues to be a problem. I know agents who have outright said to me, " I just give my clients the lock box code. It is just a bank owned (or vacant) home anyway.  You should just do that too, Lorri! "  Are they nuts?  The liabiltiy issues alone should be reason enough not to do this.  I agree with Les.  Persue this. Lazy agents like "Fred" give us all bad names. And how dare he try to turn it around on you!

Jun 12, 2011 01:25 PM
Susan Haughton
Long and Foster REALTORS (703) 470-4545 - Alexandria, VA
Susan & Mindy Team...Honesty. Integrity. Results.

In our area, I only see combination LBs on foreclosures and even then, if someone calls for a code, I say "it is in agent remarks in the MLS."  If they want me to tell them what it is, I tell them they have to look it up!  I will not give codes to agents over the phone.  I cannot imagine giving a code to a client! Geesh.  Please keep us posted on what happens here.

Jun 12, 2011 01:43 PM
Ron Fowler
Fowler Copywriting - Vancouver, WA

Wow, that's a whole new level of stupid. He's lucky the buyers were honest. They could just has easily been criminals and he just gave them easy access to a person's home. Someone like that has no business being anywhere near real estate.

Jun 13, 2011 07:56 AM
Sue Gabriel
Cleveland, OH

Lorri ~ It won't end here. That man gave away the keys to my client's house...pure & simple. Just have to work out the details!

Susan ~ There are some LB codes in the MLS on foreclosures. I'm sure to make it easier on the listing agent. But this is the house where someone lives! I'll definitely keep you posted!

Ron ~ Agreed! And to lie to me about it. He messed up on so many levels. And what's scary is this - he doesn't see it! If he DID, he never would have given them the codes in the first place.


Jun 13, 2011 08:11 AM
Sussie Sutton
David Tracy Real Estate - Houston, TX
David Tracy Real Estate for Buyers & Sellers

This irks me really bad. I too would confer with my broker and then squeal like a fat pig to the commission!

Jul 01, 2011 02:49 PM
Michael Jacobs
Pasadena, CA
Pasadena And Southern California 818.516.4393

Sue -- you did the right thing by calling the offending agent's broker and you are absolutely correct in saying this makes our industry look unprofessional.   One of my (many) pet peeves.   

Oct 08, 2011 04:12 PM
Sue Gabriel
Cleveland, OH

Sussie ~ Well, the house has been sold and apparently my sellers have cooled down enough to have lost interest in pursuing this.

Michael ~ Honestly, nothing was done about it that I'm aware. I wonder if the practice is so common that no one wants to rock the boat. But I will never, EVER do business with that man.

Oct 09, 2011 03:45 AM