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Posts Tagged ‘lockboxes’

Can I post my Lockbox code on the MLS?

J. Andrew English J. Andrew English
Wednesday, June 9th, 2010

The answer varies by which MLS your property is placed in. For a definitive answer in you area, give us a call and we can tell you exactly based upon your city. Most MLS’s still allow an owner to publish a lockbox code in the private remarks of the MLS. In addition, those that did away with LB codes in the past are now starting to come around again. Austin, TX  for example had banned codes in the MLS  for years, but now allows the code to uploaded via an attachment to the MLS listing. NWMLS  in WA State previously banned Mechanical lockboxes all together but now allows for a variance with written permission from the MLS prior to use.

In short, when in question, just call us and ask.

What does this mean to me… the seller?
If an MLS will not let you publish your code in the listing, you can always include something like…”Seller available at xyz phone #. Please call for lockbox code”.

Sentrilock versus Supra Electronic Lockboxes

J. Andrew English J. Andrew English
Wednesday, February 10th, 2010

We refer to lockboxes that track showing activity as electronic lockboxes and boxes that do not track data as mechanical lockboxes. Electronic boxes are purchased by Realtors(R) through their local Association of Realtors(R). They are not available through any other vendor outside of the local Association.  Why is this? Each association contracts with a supplier and then sells these boxes right back to their own members. This is an enormous source of revenue for the Associations.  The association does not have to worry about competition, thus, they can sell these boxes to their members at extremely high margins. Mechanical boxes on the other hand can be purchased anywhere by anybody. I should point out that certain MLS’s have banned the use of mechanical boxes all together. (Sacramento for example)

Suppliers of E boxes – Basically, there are 2 different suppliers that local Associations can purchase boxes from – Sentrilock and Supra. The thing to remember is that a particular association can only be set up on one system, thus, the association must make a choice. They either want all Sentrilock boxes or all Supra Boxes. They can’t have both. Examples – Phoenix, Las Vegas, Austin, DFW, etc.. are all set up on the Supra System. San Diego, Lake Havasu, Grand Rapids, etc.. are all on Sentrilock.

Pros – Cons

Supra – Extremely easy to use for the Realtor, supra website is set up so that the Realtor(R) can pull showing activity easily for each box, lighter weight. Cons – key jams are not uncommon, shackles break, you must update your D or Active Key constantly to be able to use the box.

Sentrilock – Key Tray and Shackle are much more dependable, a simple light weight card is used to access each box, multiple functions can be performed while at the lockbox. Cons – heavy and extremely odd looking device, extremely confusing and difficult to operate for new Realtors(R)

Overall – Both boxes are functional and serve a valuable purpose. I’d like to see Realtors(R) be able to purchase boxes straight from the source instead of getting gouged by the local associations.

Multiple MLS’s now forbidding the use of Mechanical Lockboxes

J. Andrew English J. Andrew English
Tuesday, June 9th, 2009

Recently, it has become more and more popular for MLS’s to forbid the use of a combination lockbox on an MLS listed property. The MLS’s general reasoning is that they feel the combination lockbox compromises safety. While I agree the E lockboxes are much safer, the fact is that the MLS makes money by charging agents for E lockboxes. An agent can only purchase an E box from the MLS, thus, the MLS controls all of the revenue generated by these boxes. Furthermore, the MLS also makes money by charging monthly service fees for keypads. (these are the devices that open the E boxes) The bottom line is that the MLS profits greatly by forcing agents to use their boxes.  How can an MLS enforce this policy? Easy, they fine any brokerage that places a mechanical box on the property. If you refuse to pay the fine, they shut off your MLS service.

A few MLS’s that have adopted this rule:

NWMLS in WA
Northern Nevada MLS
Sacramento, CA MLS.

How to handle showings when lockboxes are not an option

J. Andrew English J. Andrew English
Friday, February 1st, 2008

Unfortunately, a lockbox can not be installed on every single property. Different situations require different methods and adjustments. Let’s say you have 2 large dogs living in the house and a lockbox is not an option. How can you still maximize showings?

By listing one phone # within your listing, you can ensure that if someone wishes to make an appt, you will always know which phone they will be calling. I would strongly suggest using your cell phone for a variety of reasons. I can promise you, if you list a phone # within the listing that you do not regularly have available to you, you will not maximize your showings. Here is an example, last Saturday and Sunday I received 4 different phone calls from agents wanting to show properties. They had become so frustrated w/ the seller not answering the phone, they were calling me to see if I had any special access to the property. Essentially, we had 4 sellers who all lost showings because they were unavailable. (I gave a follow up call to all 4 and not one answered my call)(2 agents stated they had been calling the seller for days)

One thing you can do is change your voicemail to ensure the caller that in the rare event they have reached your voicemail, you will return the call within 15 minutes and that the property is still available, etc… Also, when you speak to the agent, try and accommodate the showing time request. The single quickest way to ensure a buyer skips a showing appt is to force them into a time to see the property that they did not want/request. By being upbeat and accommodating on the phone with the agent, you will greatly decrease your # of no shows.

Help Increase your Showings

J. Andrew English J. Andrew English
Wednesday, January 23rd, 2008

In order to sell your home in the current market, you must make your property available to be shown to prospective buyers. As a seller, you want to keep in mind that inventory is high all across the United States & buyer agents only have so much time to show properties to their client. Unfortunately, very few agents leave messages to schedule showings, thus, as a seller; you want to answer every phone call possible that comes to you. Do not screen your calls during the selling process. The single biggest complaint I receive from other agents is when they want to show a property, but the owner simply won’t answer the phone.

How does a seller avoid this problem?

Lockboxes can be the single most important tool in selling your home. A lockbox gives the agent the ability to show the property w/out having to speak with a seller or agent. (You can ask for a courtesy call in the MLS if preferred) Simply installing a lockbox on your property can help increase your # of showings dramatically. Certain circumstances require that a seller must be present for all showings, and that is certainly understandable. However, whenever possible, try and have a lockbox available on the property to help increase the # of showings your property receives.