Imagine if you and your partner were in an erotic position and a Buyer Agent entered your bedroom with their Buyer? YIKES! Perhaps you have children home alone after school and a Buyer Agent chose not to be present and gave unauthorized access to a 3rd party such as an Appraiser, Buyer, Contractor, Inspector or other individual without your knowledge? What happens when an Agent allows someone to else wander unsupervised through your home and valuables disappear? Y’all, in the interest of full disclosure, this happens quite often.
I am the Broker for Ohio Broker Direct and have been in the Real Estate industry for decades. I am well aware of horror stories that have occurred as result of bad practices. In fact, not only have there been reminders posted in various MLS’s throughout the years advising Agents not to do so, numerous complaints have been filed by or on behalf of Sellers against the unethical Buyer Agents who have blatantly ignored proper protocol. Regulations require the Sellers permission to be obtained in writing (signature required by Seller or their representative) prior to granting unsupervised entry. Complaints are often sent directly to the Broker accountable for the actions of their Buyer Agent and many are filed directly with various boards of Realtors as well as the Ohio Division of Real Estate.
Just yesterday I received an email from the Ohio Association of Realtors with our e-connect newsletter and the headline story was “Unauthorized Access: Does your Seller know who is home?” The story is copyright protected and one must be a member to read it in its entirety – however my point to the Seller is simple- the Seller must advocate on their own behalf and safety must a top priority.
Agents have utilized a variety of excuses to justify their bad behavior. Most often they will claim they were running late and gave the Buyer the code as they were on their way…well, by golly isn’t that sweet—so what happens if the Agent did not screen that Buyer and they are a criminal? What happens if that Buyer gives the code to someone else? Agents will often give unsupervised access to Appraisers, Contractors and Inspectors as well and… are you ready for this…they have the audacity to tell the Seller they are NOT allowed to be home during the time of inspection! SELLERS YOU HAVE EVERY RIGHT TO BE PRESENT for appraisals, inspections, showings and final walk through –after all it is YOUR home.
Y’all this is the gospel truth – I had a Seller who caught the Buyer (on camera) entering the property without their agent present, who let other unknown alleged contractors and inspectors into the home. It was an extended period of time before the Agent showed up. Needless to say, I blew a gasket per se’ and I filed a complaint. I did not let it go until it had been addressed to the satisfaction of my Seller. That is not a typo—it was not about having been resolved to my satisfaction which is quite stringent in of itself –it was resolved to the satisfaction of my Seller.
Sellers need to know Brokers are accountable for the actions of their Agents, and the Ohio Division of Real Estate has zero tolerance for bad behavior. Anyone can file a complaint directly with the Ohio Division of Real Estate has the authority to fine, suspend and revoke licenses and they will not hesitate to do it. The Investigators are thorough and the Attorneys relentless as their job is to protect the interests of the public.
Did you know that electronic key boxes may be accessed by non-Realtors? Did you know that many Real Estate Agents use 3rd party showing services which are not allowed to communicate with or vet the qualifications of the potential Buyer? Our Brokerage allows the Seller complete control of setting all appointments and vetting Agents and their Buyers. I will discuss this in a later blog.
Joan Elflein, Broker / Ohio Broker Direct
Ohio Broker Direct & its Brokers or Associates assumes no responsibility or liability for any errors or omissions in this blog, we advise all participants in buying or selling real estate to enlist the services of a Real Estate Attorney