Fortunately the home was vacant. The “buyers” wandering around the property were poking in every corner. When I asked where their agent was, hoping they were just somewhere else in the house, I learned they weren’t on site. They had given the “buyers” the combo code and told them to go check it out for themselves.
The property was NOT a foreclosure so there is an owner who is still responsible for the home. Sure it might be a short sale but that does not mean that the standard rules of real estate practice do not apply.
Article 3-9 of the Code of Ethics states:
“REALTORS® shall not provide access to listed property on terms other than those established by the owner or the listing broker.”
I am fairly certain that there aren’t many sellers who state in their listing agreement anyone can enter their house without a licensed agent with them. Combo codes are not entered into public remarks for anyone to see. So if a “buyer” is wandering around a property unaccompanied they didn’t get there without an agent violating the Code of Ethics.
There is a lot of talk these days about professionalism in real estate. If you hired an agent to represent your interests and they can’t track who is accessing your home, you may want to ask them about how they are protecting your property and who is liable for the anything that turns up missing? Ask homeowners who have discovered kitchens gone, copper plumbing removed and graffiti sprayed on the walls how they feel about just anyone being able to enter their homes and see what they say.
Combo lockboxes are cheap but the insurance claim you might need to file to put your home back in the condition it was in when you left might not be. Ask the agent you are hiring to list your house their plan for tracking visitors not only for feedback but for security too.