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Who's To Blame?

 

 

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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Comment balloon 46 commentsMargaret Rome, Baltimore Maryland • March 11 2019 10:47PM

Comments

Hello Margaret - I think I now where you are going with this discussion and it's based on the "expectation" that has been established between the seller and the listing broker.  Ultimately the bells tolls for thee...

No man is an island.  And it takes at least two sides to make a real estate transaction.  

Posted by Michael Jacobs, Los Angeles Pasadena 818.516.4393 2 months ago

To err is human, to forgive divine.

Posted by Joseph Domino 480-390-6011, Real Estate Made Easy (HomeSmart) 2 months ago

The newer electronic boxes (in my MLS) will flop open if you do not take an extra moment to make sure it is secure and clicked shut. Well worth the effort for listing agent to check all is well AFTER a showing or inspection has occured, as well as send an email to make feedback easy for the Buyer's agent, who was kind enough to show the listing.  It takes teamwork to get from showing day to the closing table.

Posted by Barbara Le Pine, Your agent for the Central Oregon Coast! (Advantage Real Estate, serving Lincoln County) 2 months ago

Margaret, I agree. Even though we can't control another person, we can apologize for the problems this caused and try to figure out a way to avoid this in the future even if it is just to tell every agent about to show the property what happened and to please be extra careful.

Posted by Gail Robinson, CRS, GRI, e-PRO Fairfield County, CT (William Raveis Real Estate) 2 months ago

Dear Margaret,

If we keep up a minimum of barrier to entry for new agents, maybe the choice word "professionals" will not have as much of a chance to take hold. Cannot patrol everyone, although I have to admit, I went by a house yesterday to check if someone left the door open during a showing. Just had an inkling, but turned out to be unconfirmed.

Posted by Dörte Engel, ABC - Annapolis, Bowie, Crofton & rest of Maryland (RE/MAX Leading Edge) 2 months ago

Good morning, Margaret Rome, Baltimore Maryland it's the job of both the buyers agent and the listing agent to pay attention and perform their duties properly....the listing agent should be checking the home if vacant.... and some buyer agents can't walk and chew gum at the same time.... they lock the inside; or leave the house open; and more.....

Posted by Barbara Todaro, Marketing Agent for The Todaro Team (RE/MAX Executive Realty ) 2 months ago

Good morning Margaret. Service is key and knowing the condition of your listing one of those things. Enjoy your day!

Posted by Wayne Martin, Real Estate Broker - Retired (Wayne M Martin) 2 months ago

Keeping listed properties secure is an important element all real estate professionals should strive for.  I always try to make certain homes I show are left in the same shape and as secure, as when I first opened them up to show.  

Posted by Myrl Jeffcoat, Greater Sacramento Real Estate Agent (GreatWest Realty) 2 months ago

Good morning Margaret Rome, Baltimore Maryland, of course, we expect the buyer's agent to do the right thing when leaving the property but we can never be sure that they have. The responsibility falls on the listing agents to check on the vacant properties.

Posted by Beth Atalay, Cam Realty of Clermont FL (Cam Realty and Property Management) 2 months ago

Hi Margaret,
As far as the seller is concerned it ALL comes back to their agent, doesn't it?

Posted by Carol Williams, Retired Agent / Broker / Property Manager (Although I'm retired, I love sharing my knowledge and learning from other real estate industry professionals.) 2 months ago

Margaret,

Congrats on the feature! I will lock up as I leave your blog.

:)

Barb

Posted by Barbara Le Pine, Your agent for the Central Oregon Coast! (Advantage Real Estate, serving Lincoln County) 2 months ago

Margaret Rome, Baltimore Maryland 
And you put your efforts - not just your words - into Seller representation. I bet you are at 95%+ of all your showings. That is your way of giving Clients the amazing service you provide - you know for sure what is going on at the showings.  All the best - Lynn

Posted by Lynn B. Friedman, Concierge Service for Our Atlanta Sellers & Buyers (Atlanta Homes ODAT Realty Call/Text 404-939-2727 Buckhead - Midtown - Westside -- and more ...) 2 months ago

Yes, the sellers deserve better, but I'm not sure how a listing agent can prevent all such errors. At least, not unless they accompany every showing.

Posted by Marte Cliff, Your real estate writer (Marte Cliff Copywriting) 2 months ago

The other day I went to show a house, had made an appointment.  Couldn't find the lock box.  Looked at the listing again, oh yeah, it was on the GAS METER.  Humnnn where is the gas meter?  Walked through the wet grass, in the rain, to the side of the house AGAIN, found the gas meter.  The lock box was the same color as the meter and it had slid behind it.  Put my card in and the handle unclicked and the lockbox came off in my hand.  Never did get the key drawer to open.  Texted the agent and he ACCUSED me of being not professional because of was using my card instead of the Smart phone App.  Did my card cause all of these problems?  My client had a 9 month old that she was carrying back and forth.  So......between making the appointment, driving there, looking for the lock box and then dealing with the listing agent this took at least and hour and a half out of my day,  Humnnn some listing agents don't make it easy.  I told him in texting that he should change the listing and explain where the lockbox WAS explicitly.  My feet were wet and I was a little grumpy.  If this had been the listing my client LOVED I would have discouraged her because of this IDIOT!!!  Thanks for listening :-)

Posted by Susan McCall, Independent Listing and Buyer Agent, Bringing buyers and sellers together! (Compass Realty Solutions) 2 months ago

Hi Margaret:

We often cannot prevent the mistakes other agents make but can at least remind them of things - lights, locking up, etc. I always counsel my sellers that there MAY be an occasional issue that could come up - agents running late or showing up early, for example. It doesn't stop it from happening but at least they are aware. And we can certainly apologize for issues that occur.

Jeff

Posted by Jeff Dowler, CRS, The Southern California Relocation Dude (Solutions Real Estate ) 2 months ago

Susan McCall Just left you a message. Always willing to listen. Your comment would make a good stand-alone post.

Posted by Margaret Rome, Baltimore Maryland, Sell Your Home With Margaret Rome ( HomeRome Realty 410-530-2400) 2 months ago

Jeff Dowler, CRS We cannot prevent the mistakes of others. Warning our sellers and following up after each showing  is important so we have the opportunity to apologize with no or very little time in between.

Posted by Margaret Rome, Baltimore Maryland, Sell Your Home With Margaret Rome ( HomeRome Realty 410-530-2400) 2 months ago

Marte Cliff As listing agents, we can stay in close touch with our sellers and make sure the property is secured. Even after I show their house, I remind them to check all their doors, windows...just in case someone forgot one.

Posted by Margaret Rome, Baltimore Maryland, Sell Your Home With Margaret Rome ( HomeRome Realty 410-530-2400) 2 months ago

Beth Atalay We can expect it but we still have to check. None of us is so perfect that we haven't missed a light or a door lock when showing. Thanks for the Bananatude feature!

Posted by Margaret Rome, Baltimore Maryland, Sell Your Home With Margaret Rome ( HomeRome Realty 410-530-2400) 2 months ago

Barbara Todaro 

 

   Yes ...it's the job of both the buyer's agent and the listing agent to pay attention and perform their duties properly.

And this would have been a cute title  "...agents can't walk and chew gum at the same time." 

Posted by Margaret Rome, Baltimore Maryland, Sell Your Home With Margaret Rome ( HomeRome Realty 410-530-2400) 2 months ago

Experienced agents know to double check the house is locked--really, it's an automatic reflex!  It is the responsibility of the agent who showed the property. If lock is jammed or doesn't work (that's happened to me) I call the listing agent immediately.

Posted by Mary Hutchison, SRES, ABR, Experienced Agent in Kansas City Metro area (Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate-Kansas City Homes) 2 months ago

Mary Hutchison, SRES, ABR  We all know the importance of double checking and a showing agent has the responsibility to properly secure the house.

Stuff happens, blame it on the dogs, the kids, their busy schedule etc. 

When showing a home I found it to be unlocked, the keybox opened, garage doors opened, lights on, AC on in the winter, heat on in the summer, leaking roof, leaking pipe, the smell of gas etc. And the security monitor blasting and no way to turn it off without a code and unable to find the listing agent.

Posted by Margaret Rome, Baltimore Maryland, Sell Your Home With Margaret Rome ( HomeRome Realty 410-530-2400) 2 months ago

Margaret- you make a very mature and professional point. It's easy to blame the other agent but it really doesn't serve the industry or the client well.  Things do happen and people are human and do make mistakes but your point is not to point fingers but to make sure the home is secure first. 

Posted by Kathy Streib, Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224 (Room Service Home Staging) 2 months ago

                                    

                                                 Thank you, Margaret.  

Posted by Kathy Streib, Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224 (Room Service Home Staging) 2 months ago

Kathy Streib You got the message! We are all responsible! The seller just wants to know the house is secure and safe. As a listing agent, it is our job to the house and to the seller. Thanks for the feature in your weekly lightbulb moment!

Posted by Margaret Rome, Baltimore Maryland, Sell Your Home With Margaret Rome ( HomeRome Realty 410-530-2400) 2 months ago

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. 

Posted by Alan May, Helping you find your way home. (Coldwell Banker Residential) 2 months ago

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! 

Posted by Margaret Rome, Baltimore Maryland, Sell Your Home With Margaret Rome ( HomeRome Realty 410-530-2400) 2 months ago

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

Posted by Hannah Williams, Expertise NE Philadelphia & Bucks 215-953-8818 (Re/Max Eastern inc.) 2 months ago

Hannah Williams Always good to see you. Love your new photo.

Posted by Margaret Rome, Baltimore Maryland, Sell Your Home With Margaret Rome ( HomeRome Realty 410-530-2400) 2 months ago

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. 

Posted by Debb Janes EcoBroker and Bernie Stea JD, REALTORS® in Clark County, WA (ViewHomes of Clark County - Nature As Neighbors) 2 months ago

Debb Janes EcoBroker and Bernie Stea JD Just used this information for a  discussion on my live radio show.

Posted by Margaret Rome, Baltimore Maryland, Sell Your Home With Margaret Rome ( HomeRome Realty 410-530-2400) 2 months ago

Good afternoon Margaret Rome, Baltimore Maryland - I agree with you.  You take the responsibility.  It is right to be accountable.

Posted by Grant Schneider, Your Coach Helping You Create Successful Outcomes (Performance Development Strategies) 2 months ago

Grant Schneider We are responsible to the seller. Always good to see you.

Posted by Margaret Rome, Baltimore Maryland, Sell Your Home With Margaret Rome ( HomeRome Realty 410-530-2400) 2 months ago

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.  

Posted by Sam Shueh, mba, cdpe, reopro, pe ( (408) 425-1601) 2 months ago

Sam Shueh Good idea to alert the listing agent.

Posted by Margaret Rome, Baltimore Maryland, Sell Your Home With Margaret Rome ( HomeRome Realty 410-530-2400) 2 months ago

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. 

Posted by Graziella Bruner, Associate Broker - Serving Wayne & Oakland County (NCS Premier Real Estate) 2 months ago

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. 

Posted by Sharon Tara, New Hampshire Home Stager (Sharon Tara Transformations) 2 months ago

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. 

Posted by Margaret Rome, Baltimore Maryland, Sell Your Home With Margaret Rome ( HomeRome Realty 410-530-2400) 2 months ago

Graziella Bruner Blame everyone...but take responsibilty. As the the listing agent, I answer to my sellers.

Posted by Margaret Rome, Baltimore Maryland, Sell Your Home With Margaret Rome ( HomeRome Realty 410-530-2400) 2 months ago

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.

 

Posted by Krista Jenkins, REALTOR®, Residential sales and retail & office leasing (Egenbacher Real Estate) 2 months ago

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

Posted by Terry McCarley, REALTOR, SRES, CDPE - Cape Coral, FL (REMAX Realty Team - Cape Coral FL) 2 months ago

Krista Jenkins, REALTOR® You are the professional and take this business seriously. Now if only everyone did the same. Thanks for stopping by.

Posted by Margaret Rome, Baltimore Maryland, Sell Your Home With Margaret Rome ( HomeRome Realty 410-530-2400) 2 months ago

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. 

Posted by Margaret Rome, Baltimore Maryland, Sell Your Home With Margaret Rome ( HomeRome Realty 410-530-2400) 2 months ago

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. 

Posted by Kevin Mackessy, Dedicated. Qualified. Local. (Blue Olive Properties, LLC) 2 months ago

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.

Posted by Margaret Rome, Baltimore Maryland, Sell Your Home With Margaret Rome ( HomeRome Realty 410-530-2400) 2 months ago

Interesting to see the different philosophies from various agents in the 'Rain.

Posted by M.C. Dwyer, Santa Cruz Mountains Property Specialist (Century 21 Showcase REALTORs) 2 months ago

Participate