Through the years, case after case has occurred where we found a buyer unaccompanied by a Realtor in one of our listings. This practice is so ingrained that many investors believe it is acceptable. An investor has an agent they promise to write offers through if the agent will just provide them with access information to properties when requested. When it involves bank owned properties, the thought is these homes are vacant so I can go at my leisure. I understand that thinking but it is the resulting problems that always made this a no-no for the WILMOTH Group (and also other brokerages).
Problems? The most common problem is the key that did not get placed back into the lockbox. I won’t throw out any accusations on why this occurs but leave it to be said it makes it impossible for the next agent to show the property. We now have a bank owned client who insists we use electronic lockboxes to prevent this problem. A second problem involves a representative from the seller bumping into an unaccompanied buyer. Seller’s REALLY do not like this! Guess who gets blamed for allowing it to happen?
If you are a Realtor, or a buyer/investor use to this practice, please be advised that as of January 1, 2010 the Realtor Code of Ethics has created a new Standard of Practice which states:
REALTORS® shall not provide access to listed property on terms other than those established by the owner or the listing broker.
In almost all cases, the seller of a property requires a buyer to be accompanied by a licensed agent. This new standard creates a Code of Ethics violation when a Realtor permits:
- Entering a vacant or occupied property without an appointment;
- Re-entering a property at a later time without making a second appointment;
- Giving a lockbox combination to unaccompanied buyers.
Note: #1 and #2 are behaviors of a Realtor. Again, vacant bank owned properties seem to be thought to be some kind of exception. We are actually required to provide a monthly report to our seller’s detailing showings and feedback. Accuracy is demanded. We make it easy to show any of our listings by calling Centralized Showings from 8-9pm daily. The number is on the listing sheet.
Now, if we so desire, we can actually file a complaint with the Board when we learn of a violation of this Standard of Practice. I hope word gets out soon to all the Realtors who believe these are acceptable practices.