Should Your Client Use Amazon Key for Real Estate Showings?

front door with welcome mat and door open

Amazon Key allows delivery people to enter a home to place packages inside.  The app is now expanding to new uses—including home showings. What effect will Amazon Key have on real estate agents? What do you need to know about Amazon Key if your clients use it? Here are the risks to know before you jump into this new technology.

The Pros and Cons of Amazon Key for Real Estate Showings

At first glance, Amazon Key is another type of smart lock with security features added. A camera comes as part of the package to help assure homeowners that they know what is happening in their homes. Users are notified when someone enters, so they can watch the camera footage if they choose to. Real estate agents need to be aware that anybody entering the home with Amazon Key will be recorded initially, perhaps raising privacy concerns. (Read more on how to prepare clients or buyers for home video surveillance when selling property).

In case of a delivery, the person just comes in the door, but at a real estate showing, people will move beyond the camera zone. This raises concerns about theft or damage to property outside of the camera range. Homeowners should be aware of the limitations of this service if they are thinking of it as a surveillance system to protect them during a showing.

There are a few more scenarios to consider:

  • If a listing client has Amazon Key active at their home, it would allow potential buyers to enter without an agent. The risks aren’t too hard to consider: theft or damage to the property that is outside the scope of the camera or injury to a visitor that goes unwitnessed. In addition, visitors won’t have anyone to answer questions or point out features (i.e., you’ll be trying to make a sale without the benefit of an experienced real estate salesperson). As a listing agent, if you endorse or recommend a client uses Amazon Key, they could hold you liable if anything goes wrong.
  • A listing agent could use Amazon Key to allow a buyer’s agent to do the showing. The listing agent takes themselves out of the picture and loses the opportunity to showcase a property when they do this. While lockboxes and other tools are already in play, some real estate pros worry about agents lowering the bar and making real estate more of a commodity than a relationship-based service.

Amazon Key is still new and not available in all locations. If it is available in your market, think about the possible E&O claims risks you might face if you use it for showings. And whether or not use you use Amazon Key for real estate showings, protect yourself from the risks inherent in sales activities. Make sure your real estate E&O insurance covers you for showings and open houses. Learn more about what CRES Real Estate E&O + ClaimPrevent® has to offer for showings and open houses coverage.

What’s your take on Amazon Key? Would you use it in your business?

This blog/website is made available by CRES Insurance Services for educational purposes to give you general information and understanding of legal risks and insurance options, not to provide specific legal advice. This blog/website should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed professional attorney in your state. Claims examples are for illustrative purposes only. Read your policy for a complete description of what is covered and excluded.

Originally Published December 6, 2017

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