VP of Risk Management
Let’s face it, Realtors® are busy people. The market has not slowed despite the COVID pandemic and complaints are on the rise. While practicing effective communication with clients, customers and colleagues is the number one way to avoid having to answer to a formal complaint lodged against you, the next best thing you can do as a Realtor® is take your time and be aware.
Far too many complaints are being filed against Realtors® who fail to lock doors and close windows after a showing. Realtors® have an obligation to the seller and listing agent to ensure the home they have been allowed to view with their buyer client is secure upon departure.
A Realtor® should never allow their clients to roam through a home unaccompanied but should instead remain with their clients throughout every showing. We have all heard of the many things that could happen if a client is permitted to view a property alone, and it is the job of the Realtor® to ensure those things don’t happen. If a client walks through and opens windows or doors to the outside, the Realtor® should ensure those windows and doors are closed and locked before leaving the property. A Realtor® should never leave the property without double checking that all windows and doors are secured.
In that same vein, it is likely that every one of us has had some experience with a door that doesn’t exactly latch properly – meaning, you might have to pull or push a little bit harder to be sure the door is actually closed. Reports have come in on numerous occasions that a front, side or back door has been left completely ajar. Sellers are less than happy to come home to find that not only was a door to their home left unlocked, but it was actually left open – a welcome invitation to anyone…not to mention animals (and yes, this has been reported).
Remember that each home you enter with your clients, whether occupied or vacant, is someone else’s property. Part of your job is to make sure you are not leaving that property vulnerable. Double check all doors and windows to make sure they are closed and locked after the showing. If you arrive to the home and find certain windows or doors unlocked or open, call the listing agent and let them know. Tell the listing agent that you intend to lock the doors before leaving.
Finally, be sure to return the house keys to the lockbox before leaving the property. Many agents are forgetting to put the key back into the lockbox when they leave, which makes it impossible for the next Realtor® to show the home. In addition, some agents are forgetting to secure the lockbox. It is imperative that you remember to replace all keys and ensure the lockbox is secure before moving on to the next property.
It may take you a few minutes more to get to your next showing, but in the long run, it will save you time and the headache that comes with having to deal with a complaint for not doing something as simple and courteous as locking up a property.