Great reminder to all, that the blue ELB hanging on the door does not automatically give you permission to enter.
There are numerous reasons to get permission , including alarms, pets, occupants, etc...
Yesterday morning, I got out of the shower to find a message in my voice mail. The call came in at about 9:30 am. It was an agent wanting to show a listing I have. It's an occupied home, and in addition to the regular showing instructions (by appointment - call agent), I have (in all caps) a request in the remarks that agents must call me for a very easy showing appointment. By the time I returned this agent's call half an hour later, she'd already been in and out of the house.
And it's quite likely that on a weekend morning, my sellers would be sleeping in. They might have become one of her walking in on naked people stories. But like most of the residents of the District of Columbia, these sellers got outa' Dodge and are enjoying the cool air of the Smokey Mountains.
The agent sounded very sweet and very young and is with a huge company. Maybe she was sick the day they did the training on Showing Houses 101. But I didn't have the heart to be nasty to her. No harm done, and I didn't want to do anything to make her not want to sell the place.
But here's the thing.
At a recent ethics class, I learned something interesting.
A huge number of complaints filed with our local Board are complaints about agents who don't follow the showing instructions. Some are filed by consumers and some by other agents. And you know what? When you use your Sentrilock Card to access a house you haven't been authorized to enter, you can get into trouble, both with the Board of Realtors and the local real estate commission. It's real estates equivalent to breaking and entering.
What can happen, other than maybe walking in on indisposed sellers?
- You can set off the alarm system, triggering a fine from the local police department for a false alarm.
- You can surprise the family dog who then bites your buyer.
- You can break something expensive.
- You can forget to lock up and then they get robbed and blame you for it.
- Maybe nothing happens but the listing agent just doesn't like you!
If someone files a complaint with GCAAR, our local association, it's pretty much of a no-brainer. The agreement is very clear about following directions in the showing instructions. They make it easy to complain, with a simple online form to fill out describing the violation. Just fill it out and email it back. And when a complaint is filed and verified (easy to do in this day and age of electronic fingerprints all over the place), things can get nasty:
- They can confiscate your Sentrilock card so you can't easily show property.
- They can fine you, $1,000 for the first offense and $5,000 for the second - and you can buy a lot of great shoes for that amount.
- The complainants can go to the real estate commission to go after your license.
- You can wind up in court if any serious damage was done to the house.
There have been times when we've all been standing in front of a house with buyers. Instructions say call the agent, but nobody answers. And that lockbox hanging over the doorknob beckons.
DON'T DO IT!