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Paul S. Henderson, REALTOR®, CRS, South Puget Sound Washington Agent/Broker! (Fathom Realty Washington LLC)

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Nina Hollander, Broker
Coldwell Banker Realty - Charlotte, NC
Your Greater Charlotte Realtor

If the agent admits he/she didn't check for stragglers and that the house was secure, I would think it's the agent who's responsible. (And that is one reason I don't have open houses--security for my clients.)

Aug 23, 2015 09:58 PM
Barbara Todaro
RE/MAX Executive Realty - Happily Retired - Franklin, MA
Previously Affiliated with The Todaro Team

that's an interesting question.... I think it's always a risk for the homeowner to allow an open house....maybe a release of liability should be part of every open house package!!!  there is always some type of risk to a homeowner when a home is on the market...

Aug 23, 2015 09:44 PM
Jill Murty, Realtor - Orange County, CA
Movoto - Laguna Niguel, CA

I think the agent blew it.

The agent should have checked the house prior to leaving.  I always check to be sure all doors and windows are locked.  If the slider isn't locked, an innocent visitor probably walked outside and didn't think about locking the door when they walked back inside.  Windows are a different story.

If something seems or feels weird or out of place, I'll ask a neighbor, agent, broker, my husband or whoever to walk through the property with me. 

Aug 23, 2015 03:40 PM
Ron and Alexandra Seigel
Napa Consultants - Carpinteria, CA
Luxury Real Estate Branding, Marketing & Strategy


Yikes, when we showed commercial property, I always did a tour before closing...it was not like a house, but a small office building is similar in some ways.  I think the agent may be at fault. A

Aug 23, 2015 02:23 PM
Tammy Lankford,
Lane Realty Eatonton, GA Lake Sinclair, Milledgeville, 706-485-9668 - Eatonton, GA
Broker GA Lake Sinclair/Eatonton/Milledgeville

Wow, I would say the agent had a responsibility to get everyone out.  Another reason I don't do opens and no one should do them alone.

Aug 23, 2015 01:36 PM
The Woodland Team of Texas
The Woodland Companies - Austin, TX
Land Specialists

Something for the insurance company lawyers to figure out.

Nov 25, 2018 05:56 AM
Debbie Gartner
The Flooring Girl - White Plains, NY
The Flooring Girl & Blog Stylist -Dynamo Marketers

That is awful. So sorry to hear that.  Sounds like the agent is liable here.  It was completely preventable.

Aug 23, 2015 08:36 PM
TeamCHI - Complete Home Inspections, Inc.
Complete Home Inspections, Inc. - Brentwood, TN
Home Inspectons - Nashville, TN area - 615.661.029

 Good Monday morning Paul. My guess would be the agent. I hate when things like this happen.

Aug 23, 2015 06:58 PM
Inna Ivchenko
Barcode Properties - Encino, CA
Realtor® • GRI • HAFA • PSC Calabasas CA

That is terrible. Keep us updated what are the outcomes of that investigation.

Aug 23, 2015 04:05 PM
Mike Rock
Complete Design - Granite Bay, CA
Granite Bay Luxury New Construction...For Less

Thats a horrible story, if it is as you say, the guilt party is clear. E&O wont cover that.

Aug 23, 2015 02:02 PM
Noah Seidenberg
Coldwell Banker - Evanston, IL
Chicagoland and Suburbs (800) 858-7917

I am not sure Paul but I am really sorry. I hope your sisters neighbor was not hurt or traumatized.

Aug 23, 2015 01:51 PM
Bob Crane
Woodland Management Service / Woodland Real Estate, KW Diversified - Stevens Point, WI
Forestland Experts! 715-204-9671

I am sure the lawyers and insurance agents will assess a blame.

May 30, 2018 09:44 PM
Richard Robibero, e-Pro, ABR, SRS
Panorama R.E. Limited - Toronto, ON
Selling Your Home as if it were My Own!

I do open houses, Broker Opens, wine and cheese mixers, etc, and they're great and fantastic for me and the seller. I inform the Seller of all risks, benefits, cons, etc. The fact that someone hung around afterwards would indicate to me that the Realtor didn't do his job properly.

If you don't like doing open houses that's fine but to disparage the practice by saying they don't work and "see, you'll get robbed!!!" is false. I've sold homes specifically because from holding an open house.

Aug 24, 2015 10:59 AM
Chris and Dick Dovorany
Homes for Sale in Naples, Bonita Springs and Estero, Florida - Naples, FL
Broker/Associate at Premiere Plus Realty

Agent.  I would pull that contract so fast her eyes would spin.

Aug 24, 2015 10:46 AM
Olga Simoncelli
Veritas Prime, LLC dba Veritas Prime Real Estate - New Fairfield, CT
CONSULTANT, Real Estate Services & Risk Management

It's like leaving the car keys in the ignition and the car gets stolen... the one who didn't check is liable, it would seem.

Aug 24, 2015 04:52 AM
Temple Callahan
Connect Real Estate - REALTOR / BROKER - Ventura, CA
Search Ventura County Homes For Sale CA

Holy cow!!  Thank you for posting about this.  Increased awareness for all of us agents...

Aug 24, 2015 04:42 AM
Joe Pryor
The Virtual Real Estate Team - Oklahoma City, OK
REALTOR® - Oklahoma Investment Properties

I would leave liability up to an attorney.

Aug 24, 2015 04:08 AM
Robert Bob Gilbert
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Anderson Properties - Katy, TX
Your Katy TX ( West of Houston) Real Estate Expert

I am guessing the robbers hid in the home? If so I think the Broker and the agent have some liability for this theft. Before leaving any open house the entire premises should be checked for whatever issues might be present. 

Aug 24, 2015 03:53 AM
Tony Lewis
Summit Real Estate Group - Valencia, CA
Summit Real Estate Group Valencia & Aliso Viejo

Consult an attorney

Aug 24, 2015 02:51 AM
Sharon Altier
Coldwell Banker Realty - Elmhurst, IL
Luxury Property Specialist, CSC, SFR

Sounds like agent enabled free entry.  Even if they looked around, the thief was probably hiding.  Is an agent to look in every nook and cranny?  What if the Seller came home to find agent looking under beds, in closets, etc.?  They would think agent is robbing them.  The open house should have been properly manned to watch each person entering the home.  Thank goodness it was only material items stolen, vs someone attacked!  Too much liability to do open houses..

Aug 24, 2015 02:40 AM
Jeff Pearl
RE/MAX Distinctive / LIC in VA - Lovettsville, VA
Full Service Full Time Realtor

I bet this varies by state. But I always check all rooms, windows, and doors after an open house as general safety practice. Luckily it wasn't worse. Seems like it would be hard for owner to prove exactly when all those items were stolen.

Aug 24, 2015 02:06 AM
Evelyn M Epperson
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - Johns Creek, GA
A Tradition Of [Excellence, Trust & Service]

The sellers insurance will pay for any stolen items.  But I can not say who is liable.  When I have an open house I always tell my seller's to remove any valuables when they leave or lock them in a safe if they have one.  I also work in pairs so if anyone goes upstairs the agent will go with them.

Aug 24, 2015 12:14 AM
John McCormack, CRS
Albuquerque Homes Realty - Albuquerque, NM
Honesty, Integrity, Results, Experienced. HIRE Me!

Yikes!!!  I don't do open houses and am glad I don't have the liability.

Aug 23, 2015 11:42 PM
Michael Setunsky
Woodbridge, VA
Your Commercial Real Estate Link to Northern VA

Paul S. Henderson, Realtor, Tacoma Washington I don't know who is legally responsible, but the agent did drop the ball by not securing the property. That was definitely too close to home!

Aug 23, 2015 11:16 PM
Roy Kelley
Retired - Gaithersburg, MD

The agent is responsible for securing the home but liability for the stolen items is another question. 

Home owners are at risk when they allow open houses. Valuables need to be secured.

Aug 23, 2015 11:09 PM
Kat Palmiotti
eXp Commercial, Referral Divison - Kalispell, MT
Helping your Montana dreams take root

I can definitely see that things could be stolen even if the agent IS on top of every visitor (look how easy it is for people to steal wallets right out of other people's pockets). That being said, in this case the agent didn't seem to be paying attention and would be liable.

Aug 23, 2015 10:33 PM
Richard Weeks
Dallas, TX
REALTOR®, Broker

Good question.  I would say the agent showed a lack of competency.

Aug 23, 2015 10:19 PM
Susan Haughton
Long and Foster REALTORS (703) 470-4545 - Alexandria, VA
Susan & Mindy Team...Honesty. Integrity. Results.

I agree the agent was negligent, but I think Barbara Todaro 's comment is also very valid. 

Aug 23, 2015 10:18 PM
Gita Bantwal
RE/MAX Centre Realtors - Warwick, PA
REALTOR,ABR,CRS,SRES,GRI - Bucks County & Philadel

I like Barbara's comment. I will discuss it with my Broker.

Aug 23, 2015 09:49 PM
Jeanne Feenick
NextHome Premier - Basking Ridge, NJ
The Agent you choose REALLY does make a difference

Oh my, what a bad - and scary - situation. Agree agent blew it. And also reminds me to keep a careful eye and tally on Open House guests.

Aug 23, 2015 09:33 PM