Stick it In, Wiggle a Little & Then Pull Back & Turn

Real Estate Agent with Keller Williams Realty

Unlocking the Property Door

You would think unlocking a door would not require an instruction manual.  A key and door locks are both uncomplicated instruments often made complicated by not changing locks on listed properties so that agents can show a property with ease as expected.

While sellers may seem to think that the above instructions maybe a slight inconvenience, here are just a few reasons why it's more than a notion to recommend locks be changed to fully working units:


  1. Agents and buyers are usually on a schedule and delays in entry are time-consuming in that we'll sometimes spend 3 to 5 minutes trying to get into a property not knowing whether our attempts will be successful or not
  2. If we can't get in, we've just wasted 5 minutes of our time, our buyer's time and who knows how much travel time was involved in getting there, and not to mention the time invested in researching the property
  3. Let's not talk about how embarrassed we are that we have our clients standing over our shoulder waiting patiently or NOT
  4. If we are finally able to get into the property, the buyer's zeal is sure to have wained and what could have been  pleasant showing becomes marred by barriers to entry.
  5. Knowing that a lock does not properly function and knowing that it may take multiple attempts to get it to work shows a total disregard for the listing agent, the buyer's agent and the buyers themselves.
  6. Knowing that if the locks don't work properly then the property may not get shown or worse, won't sell because of it, may be signs of an unmotivated seller.

I know we do our best to convince them to change the locks.  Sometimes they do and sometimes they don't, but still please make the attempt.

Kudos to my seller for not only changing the problem lock, he changed every lock on the house.

photo credit: Locked? via photopin(license)


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Charita Cadenhead
Keller Williams Realty - Birmingham, AL
Serving Jefferson and Shelby Counties (Alabama)

M.C. it's 100% avoidable.

Annette I think it's great that you (along with countless other agents) are fulfilling your promise to your seller.  Kudos to you.

Jul 16, 2015 03:24 AM #61
Mike Rock
Complete Design - Granite Bay, CA
Granite Bay Luxury New Construction...For Less

ok, im speechless. :)  great post.

Jul 18, 2015 10:10 AM #62
Kathy Streib
Room Service Home Staging - Delray Beach, FL
Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224

Jul 18, 2015 10:54 AM #63
Sheila Anderson
Referral Group Incorporated - East Brunswick, NJ
The Real Estate Whisperer Who Listens 732-715-1133

Good morning Charita. Your titloe is terrific and certainly caught my attention. You are right about time wasted in circumstances that could be made easy......

Jul 18, 2015 09:36 PM #64
Debbie Gartner
The Flooring Girl - White Plains, NY
The Flooring Girl & Blog Stylist -Dynamo Marketers

Oh yes, this is just plain stupid.  Pennywise and definitely pound foolish.

Jul 18, 2015 10:59 PM #65
Kat Palmiotti
406-270-3667,, Broker, Blackstone Realty Group - brokered by eXp Realty - Kalispell, MT
The House Kat

I went to one house where the key simply wasn't working on any door, and it was freezing out - I told my clients to wait in their car, and I called the listing agent. His answer, "Oh, yeah, we always have problems with that lock" - ummmmm, then why wasn't it fixed?  THe owner happened to be in the area and he came and used his own key on a different door and I asked him if he was going to fix the key that was left there. "Yes, I've been planning on it" - it took us 20 or 30 minutes to get into the house. Very frustrating. 

Jul 18, 2015 11:14 PM #66
Dorie Dillard CRS GRI ABR
Coldwell Banker United Realtors® ~ 512.750.6899 - Austin, TX
Serving Buyers & Sellers in NW Austin Real Estate

Good morning Charita Cadenhead,

So glad to see your post featured in Kathy Streib's "Ah-Ha" moments for the week...excellent title to grab attention! Nice to see you back posting!! We've missed you!

Jul 18, 2015 11:49 PM #67
Karen Fiddler, Broker/Owner
Karen Parsons-Fiddler, Broker 949-510-2395 - Mission Viejo, CA
Orange County & Lake Arrowhead, CA (949)510-2395

Ack....every single time I show homes I think "I need to take a class on locksmithing"

Jul 19, 2015 01:03 AM #68
Charita Cadenhead
Keller Williams Realty - Birmingham, AL
Serving Jefferson and Shelby Counties (Alabama)

Thanks Mike.  And thank you Kathy for the Sunday Feature.

It could be easy-breezy Sheila.  It's so elementary.

Debbie your comment made me immediately think of Forrest Gump.

Kat I would have been beyond frustrated. The cavalier way in which they both responded would have made fire shoot from my ears.

Thanks Dorrie. That title just so reflected some situations I've faced.  And thanks for the welcome.

Karen we almost need to buy a locksmith kit if such a thing exist (of course not the hairpin method).


Jul 19, 2015 01:17 AM #69
Nicole Doty - Gilbert Real Estate Expert
Zion Realty - Gilbert, AZ
Broker/Owner of Zion Realty

It's so frustrating fiddling with a lock in front of your buyers. It makes you look inept and not to mention leaves an immediately bad first impression on the potential buyer of the house. 

Jul 19, 2015 01:45 AM #70
Bob Crane
Woodland Management Service / Woodland Real Estate, Keller Williams Fox Cities - Stevens Point, WI
Forestland Experts! 715-204-9671

Wonderful Title Charita, and a post that we can all relate to with more experiences than we would like to remember.

Jul 19, 2015 12:41 PM #71
Joan Whitebook
BHG The Masiello Group - Nashua, NH
Consumer Focused Real Estate Services
  1. "Knowing that a lock does not properly function and knowing that it may take multiple attempts to get it to work shows a total disregard for the listing agent, the buyer's agent and the buyers themselves."

I can't believe how often I run into this situation.  It is so annoying!

Jul 19, 2015 01:23 PM #72
Charita Cadenhead
Keller Williams Realty - Birmingham, AL
Serving Jefferson and Shelby Counties (Alabama)

Nicole it can certainly remove any feelings of excitement where the buyer is concerned.


Thanks Bob.  Oh the stories we can tell.


It's beyond annoying Joan.  I don't even have a word for it.

Jul 20, 2015 12:35 AM #73
Sharon Kowitz
CRS-SRES-ABR-GRI-E-Pro-CREN Fonville Morisey Cary, NC - Cary, NC
Cary, NC Relocation Specialist ~ Buying or Selling

Great title! And post! I hate showing houses that the key doesn't work or you have to really work it. It makes me feel like my clients think I am incapable, like it's my fault in some way. Definitely double and triple checking all my sellers locks!

Jul 20, 2015 02:26 PM #74
Claude Labbe
Real Living | At Home - Washington, DC
Realty for Your Busy Life

We often see this with out of state (across the river) agents coming through who don't have access to our lockboxes, or if we fail to make our lockboxes accesible to them.

Often, the first question when an agent calls saying "the lockbox won't work"  is something along "do you have access to DC or VA boxes?"

Once that's we have to ensure the keys work the locked doors, as you so well have discussed at length.

Jul 20, 2015 03:17 PM #75
Jack Lewitz
IL Real Estate Specialists - Evanston, IL

Getting the key to work is one issue but how about not being able to open the lock box or finding the lock box empty.

Jul 20, 2015 11:31 PM #76
Nina Hollander
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - Charlotte, NC
Your Charlotte/Ballantyne/Waxhaw/Fort Mill Realtor

One thing I've always carried in my car is WD40-- it works wonders on lubricating a lock to open more easily. But I have had experiences where a key would go into the lock and stick and not come out and then you have the issue of worrying if it breaks off inside the lock. On my listings, I always check the locks and keys to make sure they work easily.

Jul 25, 2015 09:59 PM #77
Charita Cadenhead
Keller Williams Realty - Birmingham, AL
Serving Jefferson and Shelby Counties (Alabama)

Sharon I don't think clients think it's our fault that the lock doesn't work, however, I always think that my buyer clients think that had I previewed the house beforehand, I could have avoided this problem.

Claude I've heard of those types of situations in other regions.  I'm not sure if it's that common in our area where out of area agents show homes for which they don't have access to our lockbox system.

Oh my God Jack.  I can't tell you the number of times where the agent is so quick to upload the listing, indicate the lockbox type (and number if applicable) and then you get there and they have not even bothered to put a lockbox on the house.  Arghhhh!

Nina I keep WD40 in my car too.  It saves the day on many occasions.



Jul 25, 2015 10:11 PM #78
Sussie Sutton
David Tracy Real Estate - Houston, TX
David Tracy Real Estate for Buyers & Sellers

I hate it when this happens! There have been times when I have not been able to get in; and the listing agent will not answer their phone.

I also hate old rusty lock boxes.... dude get some new ones! 

Jul 30, 2015 01:25 AM #79
Charita Cadenhead
Keller Williams Realty - Birmingham, AL
Serving Jefferson and Shelby Counties (Alabama)

I know right?  If sellers and agents know a lock is difficult they should simply see that it gets fixed prior to listing. Period......

Jul 30, 2015 01:32 AM #80
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Charita Cadenhead

Serving Jefferson and Shelby Counties (Alabama)
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