What was the real estate agent thinking?

Home Builder with The Flooring Girl

carpet in West Harrison NY 10604On Friday, I went to an appointment for some carpeting.  The house is for sale...and apparently, it's been on the market for 3 yrs (various agents...and the homeowner did not want to discuss this topic.)  The homeowner (who does not live there) knows the carpet in the family room needs to be replaced...it is very dirty with all sorts of stains.  I found her an inexpensive neutral and light colored carpet.


This was a summer home/2nd house for my customer.  There are various "issues" with the house, even though it is fundamentally a good home in a nice area.  Most of these issues can easily be addressed (e.g.  get rid of the extra stuff there, replace the carpet, tidy up a bit).  I encouraged my customer to do this and gave several suggestions (Yes, I learn a lot from the stagers and the agents here).


But, here's what boggled my mind and made me think "What on earth was the agent thinking?"

There are two parts of the driveway...one leads to the front door and one to the back door downstairs.  The front door opens up to entrance/living room...all with hardwood floors and a beautiful view of the lawn and lots of beautiful trees.  The back door is the basement which has vinyl (and lots of clutter and I think maybe even a spider web).


So where is the lockbox???? You guessed it, it's on the back door.  Why would someone want the basement to be someone's first impression of the home??? It made no sense to me.  I told my customer that is the simplest change that should be made...even before we install the carpet.  (Or at least I hope she yes to the carpet).


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Joy Daniels
Joy Daniels Real Estate Group, Ltd. - Harrisburg, PA

I hope she says YES to the carpet too.  It saddens me when I hear stories like that showing an agents inability to truely represent a clients best interests. 

Jun 10, 2012 08:40 AM #54
Debbie Gartner
The Flooring Girl - White Plains, NY
The Flooring Girl & Blog Stylist -Dynamo Marketers

Robert - Yes, it that is so true.

Donna - Yes, I thought it was strange too.

Aimee - Yes, I would hope the instructions said that, but I don't have access.  In this case it can't be on the back to prevent thieves from seeing it...neither the front nor back are visible from the road (and regardless there is a for sale sign on the road.  The front/back are actually on the side of the driveway and the view to the lockbox on either side are equally visible (or non visible).

All - I also just realized since this house has been on the market for 3 yrs...that means 3 winters...and there is no way when there is snow out that people are going around the house in the cold and snow.  (They may not even in the rain).

Jayne - I know, it sounds weird.  In speaking to the homeowner, it sounds like it never even came up in conversation.

Erica - Yes, it seems like that would make the most sense.

Carla - Yes, exactly, the best impression first.  Great analogy.

Joanna - Yes exactly.

Michael - Excellent point, she really does need to clear out the area there.

Debbie - YOu're welcome.  Thx for stopping back.  I really hope I can land this job so that I can see the outcome on all of this.  I am really curious.

Jun 10, 2012 08:58 AM #55
Susan Neal
RE/MAX Gold, Fair Oaks - Fair Oaks, CA
Fair Oaks CA & Sacramento Area Real Estate Broker

Hi Debbie - It seems to make no sense, but sometimes it is the seller who is paranoid about having a lockbox hanging in plain sight on the door of a home that is vacant. Much better to hang it on the gas meter or hose bib where it is less obvious than the front door, but still easy to find and encourages entry through the front door.

Jun 10, 2012 09:40 AM #56
George Souto
George Souto NMLS #65149 FHA, CHFA, VA Mortgages - Middletown, CT
Your Connecticut Mortgage Expert

Debbie when I see the question "What was the Agent thinking?"  The answer always seems to be simple the same "They were not" :) :) :)

Jun 10, 2012 09:55 AM #57
Debbie Gartner
The Flooring Girl - White Plains, NY
The Flooring Girl & Blog Stylist -Dynamo Marketers

Susan - I'm not sure...you may be right, but it didn't sound like the agent/owner even had a conversation about it.

George - LOL...that's probably true, regardless of profession.

Jun 10, 2012 10:37 AM #58
Gary Frimann
Eagle Ridge Realty / Signature Homes & Estates - Gilroy, CA
REALTOR and Broker

Debbie, that is a very weird situation...  I wonder if the homeowner wanted it there so as not to arouse suspicion that the home might be vacant.  Sometimes that is the case.

Jun 10, 2012 11:03 AM #59
Christine Donovan
Donovan Blatt Realty - Costa Mesa, CA
Broker/Attorney 714-319-9751 DRE01267479 - Costa M
Debbie . I'm sure there are many issues that have resulted in no sales for so long. You gave them a good suggestion in moving the lockbox. First impressions are so important.
Jun 10, 2012 11:30 AM #60
Debbie Gartner
The Flooring Girl - White Plains, NY
The Flooring Girl & Blog Stylist -Dynamo Marketers

Gary - I'm not sure...and I'm not sure it was really discussed.

Christine - Yes, I can see there are many issues.  This is just one of them (and easy to solve).

Jun 10, 2012 11:39 AM #61
Joan Whitebook
BHG The Masiello Group - Nashua, NH
Consumer Focused Real Estate Services

Oh my ==this brought memories of a house I showed last year were we entered through the garage.. It smelled like someone died!  I didn't even get to open the door to the home.. my buyer ran out asap... I called the listing agent and she was clueless...  and insisted there was no problem..

Jun 10, 2012 12:08 PM #62
Dave Halpern
Keller Williams Realty Louisville East (502) 664-7827 - Louisville, KY
Louisville Short Sale Expert

Very illogical. The owner probably dictated it, or, the front door configuration may not have accommodated it.

Jun 10, 2012 12:28 PM #63
Kevin O'Rourke - Keller Williams Miami Beach Realtor
Keller Williams Miami Beach Realty - Miami Beach, FL
CDPE Miami Short Sale Agent 305-520-9436

I agree that the Front Door is the ideal place, and probably the place we agents would look first.  But I guess we have to assume they had a (good?) reason to place the lockbox on the rear door.  When out showing a home to buyers I would be happy to find the lockbox on either door.  The real problem comes when it is somwhere hard to find and the listing agent did not give a heads up.

Jun 10, 2012 01:11 PM #64
Evelyn Kennedy
Alain Pinel Realtors - Alameda, CA
Alameda, Real Estate, Alameda, CA


I agree that the agent was not using good judgment.  Some sellers don't want the lock box on the front door, but since it is a second home the agent was the one who elected to put the lockbox on the back door.

Jun 10, 2012 01:34 PM #65
Karen Feltman
Cedar Rapids/Iowa City, IA Lepic-Kroeger REALTORS - Cedar Rapids, IA
Relocation Specialist

Being on and off the market for such a long time tells me that the placement of the lockbox is not what is keeping the house from selling.  Interesting choice though...I wonder if the key does not work in the lock on the front door very well?  I would have the seller try the key and see if the door maybe needs to be adjusted.  Maybe there is a logical explanation.

Jun 10, 2012 01:44 PM #66
Jerry Newman
Brown Realty, 210-789-4216,www.JeremiahNewman.com - San Antonio, TX
Texas REALTOR, San Antonio Military Relocation

Hi Debbie, I have had sellers ask me not to place my lock box on the front door, but at least I leave it somewhere near the front door, so that buyers will get a great first impression. Going around the back is not always a good choice, but I can only wander what that agent's reasons were for doing it.

Jun 10, 2012 02:28 PM #67
Tammie White, Broker
Franklin Homes Realty LLC - Franklin, TN
Franklin TN Homes for Sale

Since the home isn't lived in full-time, maybe the agent was thinking better to have it less visible. I agree with you totally though. I would never put a lockbox on a basement door.


Jun 10, 2012 02:58 PM #68
Valerie Zinger
House Proud Ottawa-Ontario-Canada - Ottawa, ON
Home Organizer
Debbie. You gave her excellent advice. Those first impressions of a home are the most important. I think they make or break an offer.
Jun 10, 2012 07:51 PM #69
Nancy Frimann
Eagle Ridge Realty/Signature Homes & Estates - Gilroy, CA
California Real Estate Broker

That is weird... I had one once where the neighbor was going to put out the lockbox and all contacts had to be made through her.  Unfortunately, the homeowner was in the hospital for a while, and to further complicate matters, it appears that the neighbor was never home.  Frustrating as a buyer's agent.

Jun 11, 2012 05:15 AM #70
Debbie Gartner
The Flooring Girl - White Plains, NY
The Flooring Girl & Blog Stylist -Dynamo Marketers

Joan - Oh my, that would be a major turn off...and one you'll never forget.

Dave - It did seem illogical and according to the owner she had not requested it.

Kevin - I'm not sure there was was a logical reason...it is possible, but the agent never explained it to the client.  Maybe the parking is a bit easier here, but it doesn't even seem like that would be an issue for the front door.  I really am curious to know the reasoning (or if there was any).

Evelyn - Yes the homeowner didn't seem to care.

Karen - Clearly the placement of the lockbox is not the key factor here.  but, it is one of several contributing factors and it is not putting this home in the best light so it's just making it even harder to sell.

Jerry - Yes, I am very curious to understand.

Tammie - Yes, it is illogical to me.

Valerie - Thx.  Yes, they buyer should see it from the front door first for sure.

Nancy - That is crazy.  Now that's a challenge to get in to view that one.


Jun 11, 2012 11:29 AM #71
J. Philip Faranda
J. Philip Faranda (J. Philip R.E. LLC) Westchester County NY - Briarcliff Manor, NY

I get the security thing, but why would the key be to the back door? 

Jun 11, 2012 12:26 PM #72
Debbie Gartner
The Flooring Girl - White Plains, NY
The Flooring Girl & Blog Stylist -Dynamo Marketers

Phil - I don't know.  And it is no more/less secure here...each door is equally visible from the main driveway and neither visible from the road.

Jun 11, 2012 12:35 PM #73
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The Flooring Girl & Blog Stylist -Dynamo Marketers
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