“Hmm, I Wonder Where That Lockbox Key Went??”

An interesting little contest is shaping up over a certain Twin Cities foreclosure that came on the market yesterday for 50% of its tax assessed value.

I am withholding the address because I have a client interested in buying it, but here’s the background:

A saved search on my computer popped up the home 90 minutes after it hit the market yesterday morning.

Because the agent remarks indicated the home was “As is,” and the price was tantalizingly low, I called the listing agent to make sure it didn’t need hundreds of thousands of dollars in repairs.

“Negative,” he said.

“But, it’s already sold,” he continued.

“The bank already signed an offer that came in the first 45 minutes it was on the market.”

The Plot Thickens


With all the details involved in getting a Purchase Agreement executed, it’s almost inevitable that there’ll be at least one loose end — especially if there’s a bank involved, as is the case here — that will give one party or the other an out.

And with instant, multiple offers, that’s exactly what the bank wanted.

So late last night, I received an email from the listing agent indicating that the first, supposedly accepted offer wasn’t in fact completely executed, and that all interested parties were invited to join the bidding.

Sand in the Gears

Once whoever took the keys and lockbox cover returns them, that is.

It turns out that the (vacant) home wasn’t available to be shown almost all of yesterday because the lockbox keys (and cover) had been removed.
The agent’s email publicly asks whoever took them to return them — their identity isn’t really much of mystery to the listing agent, who knows exactly who got in yesterday and who didn’t (or soon will).

The listing agent’s email continues that the bidding process for the property will be delayed until the key is returned, and that if it isn’t promptly returned, the locks will be changed to accommodate agents whose showings were thwarted yesterday.

Nice to see a listing agent handling it this way: level playing field, open and transparent communication to all interested parties, etc.

Real Estate “Whodunit”

Ditching the lockbox key is actually pretty rare (If I had any doubts about the screaming deal this home represents — I don’t now).
It’s also more likely to backfire on the agent pulling it; clearly, it’s already seriously annoyed the listing agent, which is never a good thing.

It’s also eminently traceable, given how well-documented showing requests are today (100% computer-driven).

By contrast, in my first week of law school school in 1987, when a certain dusty treatise that everyone needed for a research project disappeared . . . it wasn’t so easy to trace.

Want to find out what happens to “the home with the missing keys” next?

Stay tuned . . . .
About the author

Ross Kaplan has 19+ years experience selling real estate all over the Twin Cities. He is also a 12-time consecutive "Super Real Estate Agent," as determined by Mpls. - St. Paul Magazine and Twin Cities Business Magazine. Prior to becoming a Realtor, Ross was an attorney (corporate law), CPA, and entrepreneur. He holds an economics degree from Stanford.

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