It is incredibly important that buyer’s agents NEVER give a lockbox code, key hiding place or access to anyone – not other professionals and especially not to buyers. Listing agents typically give cooperating brokers permission to show the home with a code or key for ONE TIME during agreed upon time frame, set by the listing agent. Article 3 and Standard of Practice 3-9 pertains to unauthorized access to a home, and violations can come in many forms.
- Accessing a home outside of a confirmed showing time. Even with a confirmed showing, a REALTOR® can violate the Code of Ethics if they show that property early, late or even on the wrong day. If you only have permission to be in a property from 4:00 PM to 5:00 PM on a certain day, accessing it at any time outside of that confirmed timeframe without additional approval would be a violation.
- Scheduling a showing but sending another agent to cover the showing. This is happening more and more without prior approval, and it is a violation of the Code. If Broker A schedules a showing and receives permission from the listing agent to access a property, that isn’t a blanket authorization for anyone to access – it is specific to Broker A. If Broker A decides to send Broker B from their office and provides Broker B with the instructions to access the property without prior confirmation by the listing agent, Broker A has violated the Code by providing access to a property without authorization and Broker B has violated the Code for accessing a property without authorization.
- Accessing a property without any confirmed showing. No REALTOR® should ever access a property without permission to do so, even if you can access it through an electronic lockbox system or know where the key is stashed. If you’re in a neighborhood or building with multiple lockboxes or properties for sale, ensure you are accessing the correct lockbox and property.
- Giving access to a property directly to a client. This one might seem obvious, but unfortunately this scenario still happens. If you are not able to make a showing, you can NEVER give your clients access to the property or lockbox. This is the scenario that can cause the most damage to your reputation, to our industry and to public safety. There is never any circumstance in which it is acceptable to give access to a property directly to a client. This includes follow-up showings, inspections and walk-through’s.
It should be noted that most of these scenarios can be avoided by simply communicating any changes with the listing agent. By working together with the Code of Ethics in mind, we can ensure that each of us are held to the highest standard of practice.
Your license and your future in the real estate business depend upon it.