This from the East Valley Tribune yesterday – Imposters steal from Chandler home sellers.
Thieves posing as realtors and prospective home buyers struck two homes in Chandler on Monday, according to police.
. . .
In the second theft, a listing realtor got a call on Sunday from a woman claiming to be a realtor and gave her the code to the lock and arranged for the showing on Monday.
Excuse me? GAVE HER THE CODE? Over the phone?? Why in the name of Pete would you give anyone a lock box code over the telephone?!?
Here’s the right way to answer this call:
Caller: Hi! I’m an agent and I need the lockbox code to show your listing.
You: The lockbox code is in the Realtor remarks section of the MLS.
Caller: Oh, I’m at the house and don’t have access to the MLS. We were just driving by and my client said, “Honey stop the car! I want to see this lovely home!”
You: Sorry, you’re going to have to call your office or wait there until I can come unlock the home. I can’t give a code out over the phone.
Better yet, use an electronic lock box. They don’t require codes and have to be accessed with an electronic key that is only available to licensed agents. These boxes record every opening, so you know who accessed it and when the lockbox was opened.
Home sellers: Insist that your agent use an electronic lockbox, not a box that requires a combination or code to be entered. If your agent can’t afford the $125 an electronic lockbox costs and insists on placing a $30 manual box on your home, I suggest finding another agent. In the Phoenix real estate market, we use Supra electronic lock boxes that look like this:
“Combination” boxes take on several forms, here are a couple:
Agents: If you insist on going cheap, don’t EVER give out a lockbox code over the phone or via email (same goes for gate codes to gated communities). You’d think this would be painfully obvious, but apparently it’s not. Use the Realtor remarks section of the MLS. Sadly, I’ve seen lock box and gate codes placed in the public remarks section of the MLS – which is beyond stupid. Also, change the default combination before you use one of these. You’d be amazed how many homes I can open simply by trying the as-shipped default combination.
Are lock boxes safe?
Many people have concerns about placing a lockbox on their home. Electronic boxes are safe. Cutting one of them open would take a LONG time. Burglars don’t want to spend time at your home with a hacksaw or acetylene torch trying to get a lockbox open. Let’s face the facts, they save significant time and draw far less attention to themselves by simply tossing a brick through a window or putting their foot through your front door.