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Unauthorized Access: A Seller's Nightmare in Real Estate Transactions

The following Reddit post sheds light on a crucial aspect of real estate transactions: ethical and legal boundaries when accessing a property before closing.

The post describes a seller's nightmare when the buyer's agent made a key to their house and gave it to the buyers, who then began doing unauthorized renovations before the sale had even closed. The seller was understandably upset and took action to prevent further access and file a complaint with the REALTOR association in their state.

The Nightmare Scenario

Original post:

We finally closed on our home last week, but the weeks leading up to were a nightmare. The buyer's agent made a key to our house and gave it to the buyers. They started doing renovations and I walked in them when checking on the property - we had moved out 2 weeks prior. We told them to stop and leave immediately. My realtor took the supra off the door to prevent them from coming back. I came back 2 days later to make sure I hadn't left anything in the house and found a painter in the house. Baseboards had been ripped up, rooms painted, and cabinets sanded. Again, we made them leave. This was all before closing. I was so concerned that if the sale didn't go through I would have to repair my home before I could put it back on the market. Thankfully, it went through, even after they changed their downpayment to 0 (not a VA loan) on day of close. I have filed a complaint with the realtor association for my state. Is there anything else I should/can do?"

Ethics and Legal Boundaries

Reddit user "kobeyashidog" commented, "I’d absolutely file a complaint with the board on that realtor. This is highly inappropriate, they are trespassing and it is illegal. I’d be infuriated." And another user commented, "Absolutely do this OP [Original Poster]. In my MLS that’s an automatic $2.5-5k fine for the agent, imagine if they broke something critical and then pulled out! It can also lead to a pulled license. Agents like this deserve to lose their license."

Taking Action and Holding Accountable

These comments highlight the severity of the buyer's agent's actions and the consequences they could face. Unauthorized access to a property is trespassing and illegal, and any changes or renovations made without the seller's consent can result in a breach of contract and potential legal and financial consequences. It's crucial for all parties involved in a real estate transaction to respect each other's rights and communicate clearly about expectations and boundaries.

Prioritizing Communication and Transparency

In conclusion, this Reddit post serves as a cautionary tale for both buyers and sellers in real estate transactions. Ethical behavior and legal boundaries should always be upheld to maintain a successful transaction for all parties involved. Any unauthorized access or renovations to the property can lead to legal and financial consequences, and it's important to hold all parties involved accountable for their actions. As a real estate agent, it's important to prioritize communication and transparency to ensure that ethical behavior and legal boundaries are always respected.

Final Question: What Would You Do?

If you were the seller in this situation or the listing agent, what steps would you take to prevent unauthorized access and renovations to the property? Share your thoughts in the comments below or with a colleague in an upcoming CE Class!


Reddit. (2012, October 13). Buyer's Agent Gave them a key. [Online forum post]. Retrieved March 3, 2023

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1 Comment

Walter Lee Harvey
Walter Lee Harvey
Mar 03, 2023

I strongly suggest that the sellers and their agent both file a complaint with the Real Estate Commission as well as the local Board of REALTORS®. This behavior reflects poorly on our profession and cannot be tolerated! As a former Real Estate Commissioner in Hawaii I would recommend revoking this persons real estate license. This warrants far more than a hand slap!

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