Walking the Line: Unattended Buyers Bring Unwanted Consequences



PROBLEM: You’re the listing agent on a tenant occupied property. The potential Buyer needs to get construction bids and their agent is out of town, you agree to help. Buyer and contractor arrive at the property while the tenant is home.

Buyer and contractor need more time to assess work, you have another appointment and you ask the tenant if the potential Buyer and contractor can stay. The tenant agrees and grants permission. You leave. After your departure, another contractor arrives and shortly thereafter the tenant has to run-out leaving both contractors and the potential Buyer on-site for hours, alone.

Is this okay?

Never! First, Buyer’s should never be left alone at a property without the sellers and tenants permission. Whenever you’re in this situation you must note the names and identities of all people who are at the property; potential buyers, contractors, etc. This applies even if the property is vacant! Second, potential Buyers agent should make arrangements for someone from their office to accompany the Buyer, if they’re unable to make the appointment. Their representative must stay with them the entire time.

The reason this scenario turned into a BIG Issue is because the tenant notified the seller of the “people” at the property. The Seller filed a trespassing complaint against the potential buyer and contractor. The Sheriff’s department was dispatched to the property. This easily could have resulted in the collapse of the entire transaction.

SOLUTION: Always make sure the Seller and tenant, if applicable, are aware of who and when all persons will be at the property. Buyers should always be accompanied by their agent or another licensed agent. Property visits of any kind should have an appointment made between you, the listing agent and the Buyer’s agent and/or the Seller directly.


  1. BUSINESS CARD | Always leave a card when visiting a property, vacant or not.
  2. MAKE AN APPOINTMENT | Always call ahead when showing an occupied property. Respect the occupants!
  3. NO SHOW | If you are not going to make the appointment, call and cancel!
  4. SECURE IT | Leave the property the way you found it. Turn on or off lights. Close all cabinets, doors, garages, out-buildings, gates and fences.  Make sure to lock-up everything!
  5. BE WATCHFUL | Keep an eye on small children if their parents are not.
  6. RETURN | Make sure the key is left in the lockbox or returned to listing office, if applicable.


Written by Linda Kaneko, General Sales Manager, Select Group Real Estate. For questions or  further information email Linda.kaneko@selectgroupre.com.

  What would YOU like to see in the next edition of Risk Management? Let us know what we should cover in the comments below!



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