Over the last year or so, an Evers & Company colleague has conducted twice monthly ethics classes. These are not the type of sessions we snooze through to fulfill license renewal requirements, but parsing the NAR Code of Ethics, Sentrilock agreements, and every other piece of paper we sign or box we click to get access to our boiler-plate forms, MRIS listing service and the nit-picky stuff in the local licensing laws that can get someone thrown into Real Estate Jail.
And of everything we covered, there was one super-shocker: the main complaint that gets filed with our local boards' Grievance Committees involves property access and misuse of Sentrilock keys.
I hate to think how often I've been in front of a house with clients in the car. The MRIS printout says that I need an appointment. It also says the place is vacant with a Sentrilock box hanging on the front door. But the agent doesn't pick up the freakin' phone, respond to a text message or an email request. And I've shown it before. I know it's empty.
Awww heck! Let's just pop in.
All of a sudden, there are screaming alarms, and before I know it, Officer Friendly is at the front door, gun drawn, assuming there is a burglary in process.
Even if I don't wind up in the city slammer, I could indeed pull a "Go to Real Estate Jail. Go directly to Real Estate Jail! Do not pass GO! Do not collect a commission check!!"
If you fail to follow the showing instructions on a listing, you are breaking and entering. And the sellers or the listing agent (especially if you've ever done anything to piss her off) could file a complaint with your local Board of Realtors. And even if there was no harm done, you could find yourself subject to at least a heft fine for your first offense. If you are a recidivist, it could get a lot worse - like huge fines and having your license suspended or revoked.
There are many times when the showing instructions are less than clear, and I used to give myself the benefit of the doubt. When they read "Call Agent", can I call and leave a message then take off, or do I need to have a conversation first? Now I try to get some kind of confirmation - a call back or a text message. And I've noticed that I've started to make the instructions on my own listings totally crystal clear.
In the past, I always thought that the worst consequence for goofing up showing instructions might be walking in a naked people. But it can get worse, a whole lot worse, if those naked people get annoyed enough to file a grievance!