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I know I saw something here before about this but I can't find it.

Seems I'm being asked more often about whether or not I have a lock box key. I do not and I'm not sure I want one.

My feeling is, if you want to sell a house, you should take an interest and be there. Another reason is, because I'm new and the majority of the referrals I'm going to get at this stage of the game are from REA s. I want them there to watch the way I conduct myself during an inspection. They all talk to each other. What do I know? I'm still a rookie.

Any pros or cons?

If you just want to point me back to that thread to reread it that's fine.

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Hey Gary,

I have always thought it is a regional issue. We have been around a few decades and never had access without an agent or seller. I have been re-thinking that for a couple of years and don't think it is an issue I could really argue about.

For years I was adamant and would not allow an inspector to do an inspection without an agent or owner being present and allowing access. Now I still feel the same way, except there are lots of repos and FSBO deals and it really makes no difference.

The liability issue is huge, regardless. If you have a keybox key or supra key, then you would be covered under the contract that gave you the key and their bond.

I can't tell you how many calls I have received regarding furnaces etc that worked perfectly until the inspector got there, etc. Aunt Martha's favorite necklace is gone, gold coins missing. "Who gave you permission to be in my house!"

Maybe just permit yourself to be as efficient as other local inspectors.

I am sure others will post more information.

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In the area I cover I would have to have 4 keys and belong to 4 boards to have access. Just not worth the $150 a month it would cost to have all 4 of them. On top of that they are not full access keys, the agents have to provide a special code that is good for the day. From what I understand most of the time the codes are wrong or the agents don't have a clue about the code.

So the answer for me is NO I don't want a lock box key. It is the agents job to let you in, that is what that 2%, 3% , 4%, 5%, 6% or whatever they make pays for. Now if I made 1% of the sales price for my inspection, I might think about it.

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I thought about it and decided against it. Like the other guys have said, it's of questionable value when all things are weighed in. Seems to me it benefits the agent far more than the HI, and ALL the increased liability is on the HI's shoulders.

Other than not being locked out due to being "forgotten" about by the agent at appointment time, I can't really see a legit benefit to us from having a lockbox key. The only possible exception I can see is if you are doing a lot of work that precludes setting appointments and requires scheduling on the fly.

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Originally posted by AHI in AR

I thought about it and decided against it. Like the other guys have said, it's of questionable value when all things are weighed in. Seems to me it benefits the agent far more than the HI, and ALL the increased liability is on the HI's shoulders.

Other than not being locked out due to being "forgotten" about by the agent at appointment time, I can't really see a legit benefit to us from having a lockbox key. The only possible exception I can see is if you are doing a lot of work that precludes setting appointments and requires scheduling on the fly.

That's why I have an ML key. When things are cracking and I'm doing two houses a day, I'm sometimes late for my afternoon appointment 'cause house number one was screwier than I'd anticipated. If I'm letting myself into house number two, I don't have to disrupt someone else's schedule.

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If an home inspector falls of a roof and no one is around to hear, does he make a sound?

No lock-box access available around here for HIs so it's not an issue. In fact, in King County (at least) the agent can be fined by their association for not being in attendance during the whole inspection. I'm guessing that is because of past problems (theft, etc) in occupied homes.

Anyway...I don't need an audience, but agents and the clients can be handy...

"I've just started the dishwasher. You're in charge of telling me if it floods the kitchen."

"Could you empty all the stuff out of the closet so that I can get into the attic/crawl later".

"If I'm not out of the crawl space in half an hour please send in a search and rescue team."

And referring to the above..."I'll be on the roof for a bit. If you hear a loud yell or a dull thud would you check for alterations to the landscaping?".

I'm sure each and every one of my clients has been an honest person, but it's reassuring to have the agent baby-sit them.

Having said all that, if it was available AND the majority of my competition had lock-box access, I would have to consider it.

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Originally posted by Richard Moore

If an home inspector falls of a roof and no one is around to hear, does he make a sound?

No lock-box access available around here for HIs so it's not an issue. In fact, in King County (at least) the agent can be fined by their association for not being in attendance during the whole inspection. I'm guessing that is because of past problems (theft, etc) in occupied homes.

Anyway...I don't need an audience, but agents and the clients can be handy...

"I've just started the dishwasher. You're in charge of telling me if it floods the kitchen."

"Could you empty all the stuff out of the closet so that I can get into the attic/crawl later".

"If I'm not out of the crawl space in half an hour please send in a search and rescue team."

And referring to the above..."I'll be on the roof for a bit. If you hear a loud yell or a dull thud would you check for alterations to the landscaping?".

I'm sure each and every one of my clients has been an honest person, but it's reassuring to have the agent baby-sit them.

Having said all that, if it was available AND the majority of my competition had lock-box access, I would have to consider it.

All true and reasonable, but where's the guarantee that the realtor won't have sticky fingers? Around here a few years ago, a realtor stole a bottle of Maker's Mark whiskey--apparently the color of the wax seal made the bottle collectible--from a house and tried to pin the theft on his buyer's son. When the dust settled, the realtor got pinched and lost his license for a while. Curiously, to me anyway, the guy's back to sticking his signs in people's yards.

Thievery, in these here parts, isn't much of a problem.

As an aside, when I owned a construction company, I typically had between seven and ten full-time employees. The cost of bonding those employees--fidelity, not performance--was about a hundred bucks a year. The reason it was so inexpensive is because the insurance company won't pay off unless there's an arrest. And there really can't be an arrest unless someone's caught with the goods, which can then be returned to their rightful owner.

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They make lock box keys very expensive to have here, so I don't bother. If they want exercise their need for control, have at it, but that usually means they have to show up to let me in somewhere.

This isn't your usual area anyway, or I doubt it is. If an agent isn't letting me in, sellers will leave me a key outside someplace, or sometimes I pick up a key at an agency, but one way or another I'm alone at most of my inspections. No agent has ever stayed through one of my inspections. I lock up on the way out.

That's the way I like it; no distractions. I have yet to be accused of taking anything, breaking anything, etc., but I suppose something like that will probably happen someday.

Next door in Alabama, the local agents use combination lock boxes with door keys inside. They tell you the combination over the phone, and you're set. They can change the combination anytime they want, as often as they want. I wish the knotheads over here would use those.

Brian G.

Ve Ahr Ze Reeltors, Und Ve Haf Control of Zis Mahket! [:-vamp]

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I guess I should have mentioned a couple of things.

We can count, on one hand, the number of inspections done without an agent or client. If it is a listed property, then an agent must be present.

Last year we did maybe five inspections alone in the house. We do many repos alone.

I had some input in the local Board of Realtors proposal to grant MLS and keybox access to inspectors and had to come down on the side of not granting it. I really do know there is a regional difference and would accept what ever the local custom is. Wouldn't like it. Bidness is bidness!

One final thought. I have prospered and love this business because I can spend some time with people and have a role in their life. (albeit small role)

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First off, let me say that in most cases my clients don't show up until I am nearly done with the inspection. I know some of you guys walk and talk at the same time, but I prefer to look at everything first. Then the talking begins. That way I give each phase my total attention at the appropriate time.

Around here, if it's a listed property and vacant, the agent almost always opens the home up and then leaves. I'm fine with that. The good ones come back later for the client walk through afterward. The not-so-good ones are shopping, having lunch, watching Oprah, at the gym...whatever.

On a listed and occupied house, I prefer that the agent stay. Some don't want to. I let them know my preference if they ask, but I don't get pushy about it. It does irritate me when the agent sits down and starts fiddling with the home theater to entertain themselves. I just know that the seller is going to come in, find the TV on a station that he/she NEVER watches and assume that I was sitting there watching it! On a more serious note, I've never been accused of taking something, and I don't want to be alone if I can help it just to minimize that possibility. Anyone who has ever moved has probably lost or misplaced something. I don't want them thinking I could have easily slipped out of the house with it. Technically, I think the agent is supposed to be present anytime their key is used to open the home.

On FSBO's, it absolutely amazes me how many sellers will greet me at the door and take off, telling me to lock up when I leave. These people have never met me before, and they are leaving me alone in their homes. As Brian said, sometimes they'll just leave a key hidden for me or leave a door unlocked. The locals are generally pretty trusting.

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In my area they have switched over to Sentrilock.

http://www.sentrilock.com/

To have a key card you have to belong to the local realtor association. On top of that you have to pay another fee to hold the card. It all totals about $350 a year. I had one for most of 2008.

I'm not shelling the dough for 2009 though. I don't really need to since this system will allow the agent who is listing the property to provide one time access codes to whom they wish. That would include me from time to time. If they want their deal to move forward, they'll give me access.

It was nice to have when it worked. I say that because it didn't always work when I needed it to. There were times I needed to get in prior to 8am to retrieve E-perms. The system will not allow access before 8am. So much for that convenience.

In the end, why pay for something that the agent can give me for free. Again, if they don't cooperate, it can delay their deal.

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