I prefer the electronic boxes to the combination boxes for security reasons. But some agents just are not competent or are lazy. Can't be more blunt than that. And if they see an electronic box they go barging right in with their innocent customers. When they find the owner in the bedroom sans clothing, you can imagine the problems that ensue. So unless you are plainly told you can go it without calling the listing agent or owner, keep out until you get permission!
This is an official rant to less-than-professional Realtors: A lock box does NOT give you license to violate showing instructions!
The ease with which a Realtor can show a home has a direct correlation to how often the home is actually shown. I get that. But there ARE situations where "leave message and go" isn't appropriate. The seller may have small children at home, work from home, have a physical handicap that requires a little extra time to leave the home for a showing (or a host of other issues).
The first less-than-professional situation occurred with an out-of-town Realtor who GAVE HIS LOCK BOX KEY TO HIS BUYER (a personal friend). Of course, the friend didn't have access to the MLS so he didn't know the Showing Instructions and just let himself into the house. My seller was a single-woman who worked from home. Imagine her surprise when a strange man let himself into her house with no advance notice. (Yes, I turned the Realtor in for the many violations that occurred in this situation AND required him to write a letter of apology to my seller).
The most recent Showing Instructions violation occurred on a listing with "24 hours notice required" and "Call Agent" on the Showing Instructions. My seller has small children and is having a difficult pregnancy. I received a call from a Realtor to show the property the same day. I called her back within 20 minutes to find out her time-frame and call the seller to determine if the less than 24 hour notice could be accommodated. Imagine my surprise when the Realtor told me, "Oh, don't worry, we just viewed the home. We knocked on the door and no one answered so we just went in." You did what? Are you serious? What if my seller was having a difficult day and chose to not answer the door? I was appalled! (Yes, I will be writing another complaint).
Once is an anomaly, twice is a trend so I immediately drove over to another listing that has a daughter at home alone during much of the day. I had horrible visions of someone walking in unannounced while she was in the shower! I took the lock box OFF the front door and handed it to her with the instructions to set it out only when she gets a message that someone will be showing the home or when she leaves the house.
Let me go on record here. If you violate Showing Instructions that say "2 hour notice required", "24 hour notice required" or "appointment required" and therefore violate my sellers' privacy and security, I will write an official letter of complaint to the Board.
John Elwell - REALTOR
Bill Nye Realty, Inc.
Licensed in Florida