REO Masterlock Image In research we conducted a few months ago on behalf of the National Association of REALTORS®, we heard many agents express concern about the many REO homes they had seen that were not protected by lockboxes. They told us that many REO agents were using “Masterlocks” like the ones we used to have on our high school lockers instead.  Agents were concerned about the safety of the home, not to mention the lack of professionalism that type of lock projected.

According to a press release just released by SUPRA, Fannie Mae has informed its listing brokers and Asset Management Providers (AMPs) that, effective July 1, 2011, “an electronic lockbox must be used if available in

[the] area.”

Fannie Mae instructs that the electronic lockbox should be placed in a primary location such as the front door to market a property.

Fannie Mae appraisers, contractors, inspectors and employees will access the property using a mechanical combination lockbox that is placed in a secondary location such as a back or side door. However, Fannie Mae specifically informs its brokers and AMPs that buyer’s agents and buyer’s lenders are not permitted to use the mechanical combination lockbox.

Fannie Mae’s action should increase the use of electronic lockboxes and discourage code sharing. For more information, please refer to Fannie Mae’s FAQs, located here.

MLSs may want to promote this new ruling to their members and maybe even consider revising their rules and regulations to address this new ruling and cut down on the unsafe use of lower security locks on homes.