Beware No Trespassing (even if you do have a keybox)

Learn something new every day. Can an agent access a vacant home with a keybox, without an appointment? What if that agent represents a buyer under contract on that home?[photopress:no_trespassing.jpg,thumb,alignright]

I had to learn this answer the hard way a couple of years ago. Here’s what happened:

I sold a vacant home in Issaquah to clients subject to inspection. During the inspection, it was noted that the furnace had a very high level of CO (92%) and needed to be replaced. Seller (an attorney) would not replace the furnace. Buyers decided to replace it themselves before they move in and waived the inspection contingency.

Given that it takes a few weeks after ordering a furnace to get it installed, I, knowing that the house was vacant, met the furnace installer (call him Bob) at the home for measurements. No, I did not make an appointment. During the measuring, the furnace guy TAKES THE FURNACE OUT OF COMMISSION! Of course, it was in the dead of winter and the weather was below freezing. Furnace guy says that by state law, he is required to decommission a furnace if it is a safety issue and considering that the furnace was burning outside of the combustion chamber, it quite obviously was a safety issue.

Now we have a vacant house with no heat, with a seller who refused to pay for a new furnace with the inspection period waived and with me and my furnace guy Bob having entered the home without an appointment. Listing agent is furious with me and calls his broker who calls his attorney who calls my broker who calls me and says that, Guess what, technically it IS considered trespassing to re-enter a home that is pending even with the pending buyers or buyer’s agent.

The solution was simple enough. Seller had the furnace installed (immediate when in an emergency situation) and buyers paid for it at escrow. And I learned a new lesson. The hard way.