I can see why you need/want to accompany all showings. And that's great. In our area, however, unless you're talking about a higher-end property, accompanying showings is very rare, and we've had very few problems. No stolen items, no damaged property, and oddly enough... even without the listing agent there to point out all the wonderful aspects of the home, we have managed to sell homes in our area for many decades.
The electronic lock box system may not be foolproof (and lord knows there are plenty of fools in our industry), but it is a darn good system and works very well. Maybe it's possible, just maybe that using the lockbox system, outside of your real estate practice, has it's place and isn't always "lazy or stupid".
Additionally, it's okay to diasgree, in public as long as it's polite and professional, and the only thing I've seen on this thread that wasn't polite and professional was the use of the terms "lazy & stupid".
I noted that part of my answers is quoted by you about what I heard that some buyer agents will not show a house if they need to make an appointment. Unfortunately, when things are taking out of context, then it can be misinterpreted, such is this case.
And, Kevin, I am surprised that you would copy and paste some body's private email to you online (I assume you received Jen's permission?) and not ask me to explain, certainly not how I would have conducted my business.
I do want to clarify - I have never refused to show a property when an agent and/or a potential buyer calls me and ask me if I can help, However, if you read my posting carefully, that is not the norm in Marin. It has nothing to do with laziness, just how customary things are run. There are listings where the sellers require appointments, and that's how it will be conducted. I do let my sellers know that they may lose some showings by requiring that, if they are fine with it, that's how that house will be shown.
You will be surprised at how a buyer wants to see a house right there and then and sometimes an agent did not think of a certain home or was not able to get an answer from the seller, and they will be out looking at a house that afternoon. We have buyers agent call the house while they stand in front the house (they are driving around and see the for sale sign, not planned). Do you want your seller to miss that opportunity because the listing agent might not be around?
One of my clients who sold her house in Marin and moved to Laos Angles last Thanksgiving had a window of two days (one on each end of a certain week when she was coming in and out of town) to look for a house - she was from a foreign country, coming to visit the family and buying a home for her kids.
They planned to see certain homes, but one of the listing agent just had a surgery, could not show the house during either of those two days. The buyer agent showed the house to my client without the listing agent's presence.
Guess what, that;s the house she bought. All in two days. One day to see, came back the next week to review.
if they insisted on seeing the house with listing agent's presence, the house would not have been shown and not sold; at least , not so fast and not to her. It was a hassle-free sale from what I heard.
So take your pick during a buyers market and if I don't pass judgement on you, please do not do that to me, especially if you don't know all the situation.
That is an understandable email and not surprising. Not everyone is educated on how the process works and I would come to the same conclusion.
In Southern Claifornia you are not only the minority your are the microscopic minorty. Tens of thousand of homes are sold each year in Southern California alone under the lockbox system and this has been going on since even before I bought my first home in 1986. Nothing new here. When I bought my second home in 1994, My agent took me to dozen of occupied homes through the lockbox system without the listing agent present. There is a system and it works.
The issue of LAZY? Ha now that is a laugh. I have shown as many as 20 homes in one day, want to come along for that ride and then at the end of the day define LAZY?
The point of contention is that there is a system, it is used all over the country everyday, you disagree with that system and that is okay for you to disagree. Several of us here on the post are just pointing out how things are done and that it is not as problematic as you suggest, simple disagreement on proceedure.
First, we educate our clients so that they know to lock all their valuables and certain medicines away. This is true whether it is for buyer agent showing the home or for when the listing agent is holding open house - we do not follow prospects around the house.
Our lock box key needs to be sync with the server on a daily basis, which ensures the agent who possesses the lock box key is current with MAR. We also need to enter a password in order to open the lock on top of the daily sync. All buyers will be accompanied by their agents.
Another practical reason is the market. Because there are a lot of houses on the market, and the fact that this is a buyer's market, we encourage our sellers to be flexible concerning showing instructions.
I have heard of instances where the buyers agent will not bother to show a house if they have to make an appointment to show the house, not to mention if they have to wait until it's convenient time for the seller or the listing agent just to make sure they are around. Sometimes the buyers are only in town for a certain period of time.
As competitive as the market is, I think the sellers will need to weight certain things to decide what they want to do.
I believe most agents are responsible - they have to be on the receiving end also - I have not had heard complaints about showings so far - other than when agents don't show up after they called asking to show.
Many buyers are also turned off by having a house "sold" to them by the listing agent. They want to be able to talk openly with their own agent and not have to walk around the house whispering about what they like or don't like, or worse, how much they would or wouldn't spend. Having the listing agent hanging around is almost as bad as when the sellers stay home themselves. Putting your home on the market is definitely an inconvenience but the more convenient you make it for everyone else involved, the quicker you will get it sold and the less time you will have to deal with the inconvenience.
Things are done differently in different regions of the country, and I'm certain that Kevin & Jovana didn't mean to state that a different way of doing things is "lazy & stupid".
I can give you dozens or reasons why lockboxes make sense & none of them involve laziness or stupidity.
I can see the other side of the coin too and why an agent might think "accompanied" showings are a good idea, and would never suggest that their way of doing things was "lazy or stupid", simply because I don't do it that way.
If you really want to crank down on who gets in, there is a CBS setting. The Call Before Showing (CBS) setting requires the buyer's agent to call the Listing agent for an additional code to open the box. Using the CBS you could presscreen the agent calling and determine if you are comfortable enough to give out the CBS. Additionally you know right then and there who is going in and at what time. You can even tell the agent to make sure that their client's kids do not play with the toys in the house.
There is a note section in the software so a note will pop up right after the box is opened and you can type in any important notices for the agent. Whether this is a perfect system is really not the point, however it is not the wild west where anything goes on a listing just because the list agent is not at every showing.
Just FYI, last week I took a buyer out. It was my first time with them, and their first time seeing houses. One of the homes I wanted to schedule could not be shown, because the agent had to be present, and she couldn't show it at all that day. My buyer made an offer on one of the homes I was able to get them into, and they are now in contract. This is a first contact with a buyer to contract in one week. I wonder how the homeowner whose house I couldn't get into would feel if they knew I wanted to show it and couldn't get it?
I properly prepare my clients for this procedure. You are mis-representing how the process works. The Lockbox system in our trade area ( and we both work the same "regoinal" trade area as members of Socal MLS) is not open to just anyone. You need to hold a valid DRE license, you need to abide by a code of Ethics. There is accountability. The Supra iBox system requires your key to be authorized daily to access the boxes; so the MLS can shut you down promptly if you misbehave. If you are running around putting dial combo boxes on your listing then yes I agree your should be at every showing. Otherwise I refuse to make a property difficult to see when 99% of the competting listings are 100 times more flexible than yours.
Education and Preparation of your clients really make a difference.
Kevin if you really feel this is the way to sell a listing..........more power to you. I have been able to make the system work as it is designed.
I am a relatively local Realtor and would like to offer a couple of suggestions.
You are selling your home in a buyer's market, so one of the keys to getting a home sold is what we call "accessibility". Putting a lock box on a listing makes it accessible. When you listed your home you probably sign an authorization to use the lock box. Did you discuss your specifc parameters?
I was trying to show a listing to a client. No lock box, No showings on weekends. No showings during the evening. Only during the week from 9am - 5pm Monday through Friday. That property is a short sale!
So my suggestion would be to ask your Realtor to tell you what options you have:
1. They can be required to call first. Your cell at work, just to let you know they are showing.
2. You can ask for one, two, three hours notice.
3. You can restrict the showing ours (only between 9am and 5pm)
4. Appointment only with listing agent...probabaly the most restrictive.
If your home is priced right and marketed correctly you should have a lot of showing activity during the first two or three weeks on the market. Your goal is to get the home sold during the first 30 days, because statistics show homes that sell in the first 30 days sell closest to asking price.
The longer a home sits, the bigger the gap between selling and asking price. So being more accommodating earlier in the listing period is a very wise decision.
Hope this is helpful. Know that with electronic lock boxes the Realtor knows who was in your home, and for how long. You should also ask for showing feedback from all Realtors that show your home. I suggest reviewing that feedback one a week, with your weekly market update.
I think, as a potential seller, that this statement is of concern to someone who may be just getting started to sell. It's pretty clear that there are regional variations in what is customary. If a seller is in an area where it is common for occupied homes to have a lockbox and for listing agents *not* to be present during showings, and they read the above statement - what are they going to think when they look for an agent and the agents tell them that they should be using a lockbox? "These agents are all slackers!" When really it's just a matter of the common practice in that area. They may even go so far as to ponder "Well, if all of these agents are slackers, maybe I'll just list my home by owner."
I know that when it's time for me to put my home on the market, our agent (who was our buyer's agent eight years ago and is truly awesome) and I (and DH) will work together and do what it takes to get our house sold. I suspect that a lockbox will be a part of the picture. Fortunately, I know that he's neither lazy or stupid (or we wouldn't be going back to him), and will use all of his resources to get our home sold at a good price.
If we're not doing it your way, we're doing it wrong.
Nice, very nice.
The lockbox system we use in your area is computerized, it opens with my palm treo phone and I can program just about every aspect of that lockbox with the software on my phone. Whenever an agent logs into the lockbox, the system takes the agent's name, time and date. I am notified by email when any of my boxes have been accessed and who accessed them. If you agent is not using an ibox and uses the old school combination dail box, you have problems that would take too long to address in this forum.
When I list a home I take the time to explain this entire process, how showings occur, what to expect and what to do to keep the weird stuff to minimum (like kids playing with toys). I also explain (in detail) the procees of accetping an offer, all the action items that occur during that process, the time frames and the esrcow process. If your agent has not done this, then you are at a disadvantage.
I am not here to rake your agent over the coals, but there are plenty of agents such as myself that take this profession very seriously. I take great concern when my clients put their biggest asset in my trust and care.
The lockbox system is very good when used in the way it was intended. It is essential in this market that you have a supra ibox and that you make the times available to see your property as flexible as possible.
I am sorry you are having a bad experience in selling your home.
Thanks Ted! I needed a laugh today :)
If you are uncomfortable with having the lockbox showings, let your agent know that you really prefer them to personally show the property from now on. If they refuse, find an agent who is willing to cater to your requests- it is your right to be represented by a real professional.
I'm not familiar with you area's protocols regarding showings. That said however, when I list a home the owners are always called before a showing takes place to alert them. Some Client's homes can only be shown if we contact them, others allow the home to be shown as long as a message is left on their cell phone or answering machine. No one should ever appear without an appointment! Agents who allow their client's children to run loose are simply not good agents. I would suggest that you contact your listing agent and ask that you be contacted on your cell phone before all showings.
One option that I give to clients is to leave the lock box loose so that if you are home, you can take it inside with you. You must remember to put it outside when you leave, but it insures your privacy while you're home. I also advise clients not to allow anyone - and I mean anyone - into the property unless advanced notice has been given; this is a safety issue, especially with small children in the home.
As a precaution you should remove all personal documents, checkbooks, passports, jewelry, prescription drugs, etc from the home. Realtors should be doing our best to keep control of people, but it's not always possible. So protect yourself.
How many listings do you folks have?
Although it is never enjoyable to be surprised by potential buyers who want to view your home, think of the alternative. That is, no one showing your home. Talk to your agent and ask them why you are not getting calls in advance. Does the listing have your phone number and a note that says "call at least 1 hour prior to showing"? Further, I am sure you chose a Realtor, who Richard pointed out, would be working with you to ensure that you are not being troubled outside of what you should expect. Truly, selling a home is an inconvience on your life, but one that is necessary. One more thing, I would suggest that you do not want your agent present for viewings when the buyer and his viewers are looking for at your home. So, communication is the reason many buyers or sellers are dissatisfied with their agent. Both you and your agent should work on having a better relationship, thus ensuring a more pleasant experience.
Let your agent know of your unhappiness with this breach, and let him know that all future showings MUST be confirmed with you, prior to handing out the combination.
We are all professionals lets try to act like it. Calling each other Stupid and lazy makes us look bad... besides this is a public forum and by calling each other names it only makes you the person doing it look bad... Think before you speak...
It looks like you have had plenty of answers from agent so far, but none from a Santa Clarita Agent. When I take a listing it is my goal to address these issues that you have, showing instructions. I do not leave my clients home until we have a clear understanding about other agents showing instructions. After retiring from LAPD I bring an additional set of views when it comes to homeowner safety and advice. I ask my homeowners what their needs are, if there are any restrictions, such as day sleepers, animals, small children, single females who live at the home alone etc... I Listen and then evaluate what the show instructions will be in the MLS to the other agents. The show instructions are never made available to the public for safety reasons. If you request a 1, 2 , 3 hour advanced notice then I clearly state that the agents Shall call in advance. Also, letting my clients know to remove all valuables and even prescription medications from public access, yes even medication, there is a problem with homeowners missing their prescriptions. This all boils down to Agent control period. The agent that is showing the home must have their clients under control and give courtesy to the homeowner and their contents, basically act as though they are guests in your home, don't act like you are entitled to do what you please because you have access to someone elses home. Now keep in mind agents drive their clients around and will pull infront of a property and just knock on your door without warning. You as a seller have every right to deny an agent from showing your home, simply let them know the house is unavailabe for showing at that time, tell them to call back and schedule an appoinment, you have every right to do that. I have other valuable points that I share with my clients to ensure a smooth, happy, safe transaction. You Jenny should demand quality service from your agent. Your agent can also put hours of restriction on that lockbox so no one can enter during specific hours. If you have any questions please do let me know.
Jennifer Ricco CDPE,e-PRO,WCR, Retired LAPD
Keller Williams VIP Properties
Quality Consulting Through Continuous Improvement
I do not allow agents or sellers to be in a home when I show it. Too many really bad experiences with that. Naturally I explain it more diplomatically, but it's very difficult for buyers to be open and honest with a homeowner or an agent (other than the one they came with) hovering around and/or pointing out features. If there are many many upgrades that are not obvious, leave a highlight sheet at the house for the homeowner to leave out when it's shown.
I must say, however, it does cause some problems for the Buyer Agents, when they would like to see a property and cannot get an appointment to get in. It could cause a potential lost sale. At the very least, the buyer agent should call the listing agent to let them know they are coming by to see the property and your agent should then inform you.
In reference to the agent who showed your home with out notice. I've done that my self as I may be showing in the area and the clients want to see a home. I normally knock first and if they have children I take turns with the couple or I keep an eye on them.
We expect every one to be professional but it doesn't always work out that way.
The best of luck with the sale of your home. Oscar Saroza Associate-Broker Atlanta GA
Here is another idea. In order to get the combo to the box an agent must call your agent and you agent has to set the appointment time with you.. then he can give out the combo information. He should have a special combo for the box not the one it came with. Your agent should put in the listing that all viewings are by appointment only and that an appointment must be made at least 1 hour in advance.
If your area uses supra boxes have one of those installed and have it set up with specific showing times.
If anyone shows up without an appointment tell them they have to contact your agent before they can show the property. You want agents to have access but you also have rights. This is something you need to discuss with your agent... immediately.