Who's To Blame?

By
Real Estate Broker/Owner with HomeRome Realty 410-530-2400 311291

 

 

Who’s to blame?

There was a recent discussion about a negligent agent, who used the lockbox on a property, showed it to a buyer and then left the home unlocked.

Of course, that was careless, stupid and negligent. Please feel free to add more choice words.

 

Being in real estate, we have seen properties that have been shown and not left in the original condition. For sure everyone has a story about this.

There are times that windows, front, back and sliding doors are left open or unlocked. Lights left on, toilets left unflushed and thermostats changed. There are times when muddy footprints are left during inclement weather and fingerprints and food remnants left by the buyers and or their kids.

 

So the blame is on the agent who showed the house.

 

Or is it?

 

When we take a listing we take on the responsibility to the owner. If we are not accountable to our sellers, what do they need us for?

Putting a sign in the ground, putting it in the MLS, and putting on a lockbox... is that the end of our duties to the seller?

 

Sure go reprimand the showing agent, report them to their broker and write them a scolding email.

Go ahead just tell your seller it wasn’t your fault.

I think our sellers deserve more!! 

 

 

Margaret Rome

 

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Alan May
Coldwell Banker Residential - Evanston, IL
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I don't often find myself with a view opposing yours, but in this case...  I have no problem with blaming the buyer's agent in "leaving the front door unlocked and ajar", or "locking the key inside the property", or any other variety of issues. Yes, we all make mistakes, but I'm still able to place the blame squarely on their shoulders.

Yes, listing agents are, in the end, responsible for the safety and security of the property for our sellers... but giving secure access to a licensed professional should be adequate protection. 

Mar 17, 2019 07:00 AM #26
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Margaret Rome, Baltimore Maryland
HomeRome Realty 410-530-2400 - Pikesville, MD
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Alan May The buyer's agent, of course, is to blame. But a listing agent( when that call comes in from the seller not happy the house was unlocked)  is the one who has to do the damage control and take responsibility.

This is one of the reasons I do almost all my own showings. Just yesterday, I checked on a vacant listing that was shown the day before and the sliding glass door was not locked and the screen was left open. 

What purpose does it serve to reprimand that buyer's agent?

 Giving secure access to a licensed professional SHOULD be enough. In reality and reading the comments...this happens way too often! 

Mar 17, 2019 07:37 AM #27
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Hannah Williams
Re/Max Eastern inc. - Philadelphia, PA
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Margaret Rome, Baltimore Maryland  We would hope we are all professionals and that when leaving a house we showed -lock it up and left it in the condition we found it in. That also means lights out. Missed your post so glad Kathy Streib lit this one up

Mar 17, 2019 08:38 AM #28
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Margaret Rome, Baltimore Maryland
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Hannah Williams Always good to see you. Love your new photo.

Mar 17, 2019 09:02 AM #29
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Debb Janes EcoBroker and Bernie Stea JD
ViewHomes of Clark County - Nature As Neighbors - Camas, WA
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The blame game is always a frustrating and worthless endeavor. You are right, ultimately we have the responsibility to make sure a home is locked up properly and the lights are turned off where they should be. 

Mar 17, 2019 09:15 AM #30
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Margaret Rome, Baltimore Maryland
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Debb Janes EcoBroker and Bernie Stea JD Just used this information for a  discussion on my live radio show.

Mar 17, 2019 10:05 AM #31
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Grant Schneider
Performance Development Strategies - Armonk, NY
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Good afternoon Margaret Rome, Baltimore Maryland - I agree with you.  You take the responsibility.  It is right to be accountable.

Mar 17, 2019 10:45 AM #32
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Margaret Rome, Baltimore Maryland
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Grant Schneider We are responsible to the seller. Always good to see you.

Mar 17, 2019 04:38 PM #33
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Sam Shueh
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Often it is the back door unlocked. I always leave a VM with listing agent I took care of it since there can be items that disappear during the course.  

Mar 17, 2019 07:08 PM #34
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Margaret Rome, Baltimore Maryland
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Sam Shueh Good idea to alert the listing agent.

Mar 17, 2019 08:07 PM #35
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Graziella Bruner
NCS Premier Real Estate - Detroit, MI
Associate Broker - Serving Wayne & Oakland County

To answer your question: "Who's to Blame?" I guess, both! Sellers will call the listing agent when they come back home after a showing and tell you... X, Y, & Z and then as a listing agent, I'm going to call those who showed the home.  We are all in this together and we should be assisting one another in doing what we are licensed to do, Sell Homes!  Our job is to bring sellers and buyers together. 

Mar 18, 2019 07:17 AM #36
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Sharon Tara
Sharon Tara Transformations - Portsmouth, NH
New Hampshire Home Stager

I've expressed my feelings on lock boxes and showings several times in the Rain and not everyone likes what I have to say. I have sold four homes and never agreed to a lock box. It's established before listing that my agent will be present at all showings. 

I understand how hard scheduling can be and how inconvenient this stance can make the job for a busy agent, but it is how my husband and I feel and we do make it clear from the beginning. 

Mar 18, 2019 07:51 AM #37
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Margaret Rome, Baltimore Maryland
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Sharon Tara You and I are on the same page about our feelings on lockboxs. I use them sparingly. I accompany almost all showings and am appreciated by my sellers. 

Mar 18, 2019 07:21 PM #38
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Margaret Rome, Baltimore Maryland
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Graziella Bruner Blame everyone...but take responsibilty. As the the listing agent, I answer to my sellers.

Mar 18, 2019 07:32 PM #39
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Krista Jenkins, REALTOR®
Egenbacher Real Estate - Lubbock, TX
Residential sales and retail & office leasing

I am a double-checker when I show homes. I do my best to treat every home as though it is my own and leave it as I found it. I know I have shown vacant houses where lights were carelessly left on by other showing agents. It is irritating, but humans are fallible. I once left a tricky door unlocked mistakenly. I took the heat from the seller because it was my fault.

 

Mar 19, 2019 02:36 PM #40
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Terry McCarley
REMAX Realty Team - Cape Coral FL - Cape Coral, FL
REALTOR, SRES, CDPE - Cape Coral, FL

I make it a habit to make sure the house is secured when leaving and I wish all agents would do the same but of course that isn’t the case.   I once had my own personal home on the market and the buyers agent left every light and ceiling fan in the house on, every sliding glass door open and didn’t even lock the front door.  When I returned I home I was furious so I understand how sellers feel when they return to an unsecured home after a showing

Mar 20, 2019 05:04 AM #41
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Margaret Rome, Baltimore Maryland
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Krista Jenkins, REALTOR® You are the professional and take this business seriously. Now if only everyone did the same. Thanks for stopping by.

Mar 20, 2019 07:43 AM #42
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Margaret Rome, Baltimore Maryland
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Terry McCarley Having your own home on the market makes you appreciate the situation even more. In fact, most agents, selling their own home, will not allow a lockbox. 

Mar 20, 2019 07:45 AM #43
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Kevin Mackessy
Blue Olive Properties, LLC - Highlands Ranch, CO
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It is interesting to step up and take responsibility.  But after a full day of showings, I think a few minor things like lights being left on could be overlooked by sellers.  This could be more of an education moment for them.  Rather than an angry moment looking for someone to blame. 

Mar 20, 2019 12:59 PM #44
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Margaret Rome, Baltimore Maryland
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Kevin Mackessy It's not a few lights that are bothering the sellers. It is leaving a home unlocked and unsecured.  When you are showing a dozen homes in a day, it is not easy to leave them all the way you found them. That's why it is also the listing agent's responsibility. That's' who reports to the seller.

Mar 20, 2019 01:13 PM #45
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