Should we have complete access to property while in due diligence?

10 Replies

Hi everyone ! 

We just got an offer accepted and are currently in our due diligence period. I asked our realtor to request the code for lock box or copy of the key from seller, in which she said "I will ask although I highly doubt they will release a key." I was under the impression that is why we pay diligence money and earnest $. It this common? Our inspection is in a couple days which both sides are aware of, although we really need to get contractors in there throughtout the week for bids. I don't want to have to have the realtor there every time... We need to come and go frequently to really double check our numbers and the property as a whole while in DD.

Any advice? What is the best way to approach this? Should we just overly  express our need to get in there for/with contractors? 

Realtor is always supposed to be present. They definitely cannot give there buyers the key. What we do is set up a couple to time periods for inspections on different days and then have all the contracts and inspectors to show up during one of those two times. 

I have bought 5 properties and am under contract with 3. Honestly it is against the law for you to receive keys. Depending on the rules vendors can get codes but that is usually only from seller side. Honestly beyond the couple of hour inspection everything else they off is "bonus" if you buy single family. Estimates and such from multiple contractors usually felt to occur  after the property is yours.

Keys are transferred at closing is the practice in my state, likely the same in others.  I recommended confirming with your realtor first and trying to schedule all the contractors for the day the inspection is.  Pending on the sellers they may be alright with you showing up as long a notice is provided but most will require a realtor present especially if you want to get in with a bunch contractors.

Agree with everyone.  No keys prior to closing and the realtor should be present. 

The other thing is your due diligence period is generally just a GC and maybe a home inspector.  I would certainly not expect the seller to accommodate all my contractors traipsing through their house.  At some point I'm expected to be enough of a professional to estimate my costs.  The GC is just validating my numbers and ensuring I didn't miss anything.  Then the inspector is making sure there aren't any big "gotcha" items.  I don't get unfettered access to the property, until it is mine.

@Allison Ezzi  

I do not know what size of property you are purchasing, so adapt the following as applicable.

As an investor, you will often purchase {partially} occupied properties, which continue to be someone's home during the diligence window.  You can't have the buyer popping in for tea unannounced every few days.

You should have no problem scheduling a building inspection and, if warranted by the findings, a structural or environmental engineer.

No need for keys or coming and going frequently. 

We just closed on one house today and have one in escrow, that we should close next week.  (Please note, that both of these houses are unoccupied).  For the one that closed today, the listing agent gave us 1 day codes whenever we wanted them (I think we requested codes 5 different times) and we could use the code whenever we wanted on that day.  No realtor was ever present.

For the one that should close next week, the listing agent just gave us a key and we have had contractors in and out of the house for weeks.  

We have never had an agent tell us that they had to be with us when we have requested access after a signed contract.  Some have volunteered to meet us, but we always say we don't want to waste their time -- which is true.  It seems like we did have one unlock a door for us one time and then he left and asked us to lock up when we were done.  Once again, that was an unoccupied house.

We always make it clear that we are investors, so perhaps that has made a difference.

@Julia Blythe  

We too have had early access to vacant properties for renovations, but around here you will be asked to post a bond or make your EMD irrevocable (maybe sweeten it a little as well).

The obvious risk in this situation is the deal falls through and you have just renovated the vendors property for them.

I could certainly see where the listing agent would not want to grant you any further access to a property outside of your initial inspection. They do not represent you interests. What if your GC that you brought in a few days after the inspection noticed something terrible with the property that your inspector did not? That would be a very risky situation for the seller as you might still be able to back out.

Originally posted by @Julia Blythe :

We just closed on one house today and have one in escrow, that we should close next week.  (Please note, that both of these houses are unoccupied).  For the one that closed today, the listing agent gave us 1 day codes whenever we wanted them (I think we requested codes 5 different times) and we could use the code whenever we wanted on that day.  No realtor was ever present.

For the one that should close next week, the listing agent just gave us a key and we have had contractors in and out of the house for weeks.  

We have never had an agent tell us that they had to be with us when we have requested access after a signed contract.  Some have volunteered to meet us, but we always say we don't want to waste their time -- which is true.  It seems like we did have one unlock a door for us one time and then he left and asked us to lock up when we were done.  Once again, that was an unoccupied house.

We always make it clear that we are investors, so perhaps that has made a difference.

It's great when you're the buyer to have easy access.  But I doubt you'd want your own agent to be so cavalier with a finished rehab you are reselling.  Agents are supposed to schedule all entry to the properties, and only share codes or keys with other agents for supervised entry.  I know my agent (and I) trust some of the local inspectors and appraisers that we know and have no issue giving them access. IMO unless the listing agent knows you and your team really well, they aren't doing their job IMO by giving you and your team access without being present.  

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