Dear Seller, That Showing Scared Me

Real Estate Agent with Palmer House Properties 292385

Stone Mountain Real EstateI had a showing the other evening and quite frankly, I was afraid for this listing before I even walked in the door. My client and I walked up to the door, I opened the Supra Lockbox, and zilch...nothing was in there.

(Note: We were looking in the Stone Mountin and Lithonia GA area all week and most listings had access issues. More about that in another blog.)

Like most, if I go to a listing, I intend on showing it. This was an evening showing so I took a chance and called the listing agent, she answered. I was happy. Well, I was happy until she told me how to access the home. 

She let me know that the key was in the window sill to the left of the door. There it is over there in the picture. I paused and did a double take. I know she could hear my mouth drop through the phone. I got myself together and thanked her before asking if she wanted me to put the key in the supra when I left. She didn't answer so before I left, I called her again and asked if she wanted me to put the key in the supra. She said yes, I was relieved for this listing.

My buyer was a bit taken back by this as well. I think it actually turned her nose down to the listing (she ended up finding something else she liked better the next day and we are under contract now. Go us!). 

I remember examining the listing in the MLS. This wasn't a new listing. I know sometimes, there can be access issues when the listing is new. A key right there in the window in both plain view and reach. Anyone could've walked up at anytime and gained access to this listing. This SCREAMED safety issue. I dare not say agent negligence because I don't know the particulars. 

Thankfully, the agent took me up on my offer to secure the key with the lockbox. This made me feel better  for the sellers.

Hello world...listing agents and sellers alike: Keep your property secure. There's a lot of crazies out here. Don't make it easy for them....


Posted by

Selling? Buying? You should call me for that. Dee Neal Palmer House Properties 678.387.9309

Dee Neal Atlanta Area Real Estate

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Comments (44)

Gary L. Waters Broker Associate, Bucci Realty
Bucci Realty, Inc. - Melbourne, FL
Eighteen Years Experience in Brevard County

There is absolutely no reasonable explanation for this situation. Amazed!

Nov 08, 2015 08:26 PM
Raul Rodriguez
Covenant Partners Realty - San Antonio, TX
Looking out for the client's interest and not my p

In dealing with investor type properties I often find houses that are not secured by any means of the imagination. What kills me is that in the "Agent remarks" it says please lock up before you leave. Okay, what do I do with the hole in the exterior wall?

Nov 08, 2015 09:45 PM
Amanda Christiansen
Christiansen Group Realty (260)704-0843 - Fort Wayne, IN
Christiansen Group Realty

I wonder if the seller knew this was going on.  That could be a huge safety or liability issue.  

Nov 08, 2015 10:14 PM
Michael Setunsky
Woodbridge, VA
Your Commercial Real Estate Link to Northern VA

Dee Neal That agent was taking a big chance and putting her seller's in potential danger.

Nov 08, 2015 10:40 PM
Annette Lawrence , Palm Harbor, FL 727-420-4041
ReMax Realtec Group - Palm Harbor, FL
Making FLORIDA Real Estate EZ

Sellers house keeper needed to enter the home at 4pm and did not have a key from seller.  With sellers agreement.....
Agent removed key from box at 3:59.

Housekeeper entered at 4.

House keep finished task and returned key to sill at 4:59

Agent knew house scheduled to be shown at 5PM instructed house keeper to place key on sill in compliance with owner, agents, housekeeper previous agreement.

An appraiser recently presented the same challenge. Choices were, deny access, be present, stash key, send associate install a mechanical. 

Thanks for saving the listing agent a trip to return the key to the box.

Nov 08, 2015 10:46 PM
Patricia Kennedy
RLAH Real Estate - Washington, DC
Home in the Capital

This kind of thing is more about aiding and abetting vandalism than about anyone's personal safety (assuming the property isn't currently occupied).  Leave a key in plain sight and you are saying "Please!  Please!  come steal my appliances and fixtures!" 

Nov 08, 2015 10:49 PM
Richie Alan Naggar
people first...then business Ran Right Realty - Riverside, CA
agent & author

Every thiefs dream is to find the KEY and get an easy one...

Nov 08, 2015 11:10 PM
Bruce Kunz
C21 Solid Gold Realty, Brick, NJ, 732-920-2100 - Howell, NJ
REALTOR®, Brick & Howell NJ Homes for Sale

Glad it's all worked out well for you in the end, Dee Neal . It can be off-putting when things are out of place.

That said, and as odd as this was, since the agent knew where the key was and wanted it returned it to it's proper place, there may well be a decent reason (perhaps as Annette Lawrence , Palm Harbor, FL 727-420-4041 suggests above). If the other agent would simply have shared that reason, this could have been a non-issue. Communication...
Thanks for sharing & good luck for a smooth closing on the other home!


Nov 09, 2015 01:59 AM
Dan Tabit
Keller Williams Bellevue - Sammamish, WA

Hi Dee, 

I read Annette's possible explanation, and it sounds plausible, but assuming a case like that more explanation would be in order.

Sometimes we do need to provide access to our listings to unlicensed people without Supra. That's where Contractors Key Boxes come into play. I have a couple that have combinations I can change and when I need to allow a vendor access. They go through that box, with the home owners knowledge & permission. 

Nov 09, 2015 03:22 AM
Kathleen Luiten
Resort and Second-Home Specialist - Princeville, HI
Kauai Luxury Ocean Home Sales

A key in plain sight says "Come on in!" to any stranger. I've done showings where the door is unlocked when we arrive and the listing agent said the owner wants the door left unlocked when we leave. A key in plain sight is like an unlocked door.

Nov 09, 2015 03:38 AM
Brian L. Sirota, Esq.
Bristar Realty (Realtor/Attorney) - Orange, CA
For Solutions: (714) 501-7660

Dee, you can only control what's in your power to control.   In that regard, I would've discreetly accessed the key without my buyer's knowledge.

Respectfully, I would not have allowed the buyer an opportunity to observe the situation and your reaction to it.   The more sensational the story, the greater the inclination of your buyer to share it with friends and family, each of whom may continue to share the story.

Statistically, a greater likelihood of liability exits with your buyer knowing the key location than a stranger fortuitously coming by and stumbling  on the key.

It's  counter-intuitive to think we may be perpetuating someone else's mistake.    I bet the key will find its way to the sill again. 

Nov 09, 2015 03:49 AM
Doyle Davison
Hawaiian Beaches Hawaii - 714-968-6767 - Huntington Beach, CA
30 years as your Concierge services listing broker

that seems to be a very common occurance where I live. I always find open doors, keys and windows. especially vacant, Flipper or REO homes. It's just asking for trouble.  Over the past few years it has become a huge issue. vacant homes must be checked by the broker/agent every evening.

Nov 09, 2015 04:20 AM
Dee Neal
Palmer House Properties - Alpharetta, GA
Atlanta Area Real Estate

Doyle Lee Austin Davison Iv normally i expect total rehabs to be like that. they are normally open and enter at your own risk. 

Nov 09, 2015 06:33 AM
Toby Barnett
KW North Sound - Marysville, WA
Toby Barnett

Un secure homes are scary for sure. You definitely did the right thing. I've never come across the key on a window sill before.

Nov 09, 2015 07:18 AM
Karen Fiddler, Broker/Owner
Karen Parsons-Fiddler, Broker 949-510-2395 - Mission Viejo, CA
Orange County & Lake Arrowhead, CA (949)510-2395

Plain sight? that's insane, especially with a Supra there, what was the point? 

Nov 09, 2015 08:16 AM
Rob Arnold
Sand Dollar Realty Group, Inc. - Altamonte Springs, FL
Metro Orlando Full Service - Investor Friendly & F

They are taking a big risk leaving a key in plain sight like that. Always a chance something could happen.

Nov 09, 2015 08:44 AM
Karen Feltman
Cedar Rapids/Iowa City, IA KW Legacy Group - Cedar Rapids, IA
Relocation Specialist in Cedar Rapids, Iowa

You truly have to wonder why it was there in the first place and how long it had been there!  That is scary.  Glad you were able to find it and put it back securely.  I would not want that on my conscience.  What if someone would have seen you take it from its' "hiding" place and put it back?  Yikes.

Nov 09, 2015 09:18 AM
Brian Rugg
Rugg Realty LLC Sun City Texas 512-818-6700 - Georgetown, TX
Sun City TX Real Estate - Georgetown, TX Real Est

Hello Dee Neal:

Well, it happens, but I don't condone it. We sometimes show properties were the key has been left in similar access for contractors to get work performed and not in the lock box. Safety is still paramount. 

Nov 09, 2015 09:58 AM
Praful Thakkar
LAER Realty Partners - Andover, MA
Andover, MA: Andover Luxury Homes For Sale

Dee Neal now that's not right! One needs to have proper safety measures - no one should have keys visible like this.

Not safe for sellers for sure.

Nov 10, 2015 02:58 PM
Winston Heverly
Winston Realty, Inc. - Atlantis, FL

Loved your blog, hope this bececame an eventful & successful weekend.

Nov 15, 2015 12:54 PM