OHHH Please, Tell Me That You Didn't Ask Me That........

Real Estate Agent with Keller Williams Realty Chesterfield

OHHH Please, Tell Me That You Didn't Ask Me That........

Let me say this is a rant right up front and I am sure that there will be some that will disagree and that's ok.

Not too long ago I received a phone call from a fellow REALTOR®, at least I think she was, asking about one of my listings.  She asked if it was still available.  I answered Yes it is.

She then asked if it was a foreclosure.  Again I answered Yes it is.  She then asked if she could schedule it to show and I said SURE.  I asked her when she would like to show it and she asked me if it was on a combo lockbox and my answer to her was No ma'am I have it on an electronic lockbox.  She then asked me why I had it on the electronic lockbox.......I almost fell out of my seat in surprise that she would ask that question.

Electornic and Combo Lockboxs

I told her that I have a responsibility to my seller, even if it is a bank owned property, to keep the property secure.  One way that I can do that is to NOT have the property on a combo lockbox.  Why?  Because I have no control over who that, or any other agent, will give it to OR who their client will give it to.  We have enough problems in our market with vandalism and I am not going to help it along with free access.  I might as well just leave the door wide open.

I said that this is a rant up front.  I feel better now, thank you for letting me vent.  This is covered in our listing agreement and above that I believe it is part of my fiduciary to my clients when they are absentee owner or live in owner to keep their property secure.

BTW, she did not schedule the showing.  Did I lose a potential Yes?  Is the property still secured Yes!

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Don Rogers is a licensed REALTOR® in Missouri.  I specialize in St. Charles County Missouri and have called O Fallon MO my home since 1993.  If you are looking to buy or sell or you are relocating to the area and would like information about the St Charles County MO area do not hesitate to give me a call at 314-954-6775 or if you would prefer to send me an email.



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DeeDee Riley
Lyon Real Estate - El Dorado Hills CA - El Dorado Hills, CA
Realtor - El Dorado Hills & the Surrounding Areas

Hi Don,

The electronic box is what all of our agents in the MLS use.  The REO agents will also but a combo box on it to allow for repairs, the appraiser, and other people they are  giving permission to.  But any agents viewing properties here must enter with an electronic key.  It records the agent entry and the time of day so to a listing agent really valuable.  I'm glad it's that way for us. 

Great post!

Jan 15, 2011 03:34 PM #95
Barbara Altieri
RealtyQuest/Kinard Realty Group, Fairfield and New Haven County CT Real Estate - Shelton, CT
REALTOR-Fairfield County CT Homes/Condos For Sale

Don -- I use only electronic. I have had this happen to me.  I suspect they don't have (pay for) a key or come up with some lame excuse that their key is not working and can I meet them at the property. 

Jan 15, 2011 03:47 PM #96
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Times have sure changed. When I started in real estate the listing agent went along on all the showings unless they knew and trusted the agent with the buyer - then that agent took the key from the listing office and returned it after the showing.

All I can think is that it was a good thing there weren't many buyers running around in those days!

Jan 15, 2011 07:47 PM #97
Donna Webber
ArcRealty Inc., Real Estate Brokerage, Toronto, ON, Canada - Thornhill, ON

Several years ago The Toronto Real Estate Board introduced electronic lock box system.  I thought it was great but the outcry against the expense was so great that the Board discontinued their use. I think it was a great disservice to the home seller. 

Jan 16, 2011 01:07 AM #98
Carol Tunis
Florida Homes Realty & Mortgage - Saint Augustine, FL
Carol Tunis...a "HouseSold" name!

I'm so glad you brought this up.  Locally, an agent had acquired the combo code on a foreclosure, from an outside agent.  The local agent, blank emailed all his potential buyers the code and asked them to go see it and if interested, let him know!  How about that!!!

Jan 16, 2011 03:18 AM #99
Robert Courtney
Lihue, HI
Century 21 All Islands, RA, CDPE, MCRE, CIAS

Security and ease of showing!  Both have the Sellers best interest in mind.  I probably would fall more on the Security issue and hope I am dealing with professional interested buyers agents on the other side to put a deal together.  Good post Don, success to you in 20011!

Jan 16, 2011 03:31 AM #100
Gene Riemenschneider
Home Point Real Estate - Brentwood, CA
Turning Houses into Homes

I live right on the border of 3 MLS areas.  Sometimes I want to show homes in the nearby community where they are often listed on two or 3 MLS's.  When they are not listed on mine I need a combo box.  I admit I am too cheap to pay for all 3 memberships.  It does not happen a lot. 

However, I do call and explain who I am and why it is an issue.  I rarely have a problem.

Jan 16, 2011 04:05 AM #102
Robert L. Brown
www.mrbrownsellsgr.com - Grand Rapids, MI
Grand Rapids Real Estate Bellabay Realty, West Mic

Security is the key. You need to do what's in the best interest of your client.

Jan 16, 2011 12:38 PM #103
Amanda Smith
Allison James Estates & Homes Elite - Hemet, CA

Our MLS uses Sentri boxes which in my opinion are better than Supra.  However since our local MLS is the only one that uses them it causes problems.  For one, we don't have access to Supra unless we join another MLS.  Out of town agents can't get in our boxes unless we give them a contractors code (which is fine but out of town agents don't seem happy that they have to call for access).  In my experience REO properties have been required to have a combo box on them so the asset management companies and the banks have access if they want on the property.  They do allow an electronic loxbox in addition to a combo.

Jan 16, 2011 01:43 PM #104

Maui refuses to get behind the idea of Supra Lockbox.  We used them in FL and I miss my Supra.

We could get electronic reports about who had entered the property and when.  It was fabulous!


Aloha, Gina Duncan


Jan 16, 2011 05:59 PM #105
Paula Burt

I love arriving at a showing and walking up to a combo box only to find, when I go to enter the code, that the code is still showing on the dial.  The last agent never cleared it!  How can they be so lazy and careless?!  Boggles the mind!

Unfortunately, we have to use the combo boxes sometimes, like on the listing I just took that has to be listed in two MLSs because it's so close to the neighboring one, and they don't have access to our brand of electronic boxes (we don't have Supra; we have Sentrilock).  So we have to use combo boxes for when they show the property.  I put both on, and the combo is only given to agents from the neighboring county.  I'm considering changing the combo after each time the showing desk has to give it out.


Jan 16, 2011 07:09 PM #106
Peter Rozsa
Cupertino, CA - Cupertino, CA

In San Francisco Bay area, the local MLS requires all agents to use a Supra Box! You can also have a combo in addition. There's a heavy fine that's strictrly enforced if you don't have a Supra box. Before this rule was implemented (last year), often the cheap crap combo boxes didn't work, the agent forgot to put the combo in the private remarks of the listing, etc, etc.

Before last year, many agents had me call them for the combo. They asked my ID and DRE number and then they gave me the combo. The only problem with this scheme is that I could have given them anyones number and name because they had no way to verify who I was over the phone. Other times I called, they never answered the phone and returned my call two days later. When they did call two days later, I always told them my buyer had already made and got an acceptance of an offer we sent in yesterday so you lost a sale.

Jan 17, 2011 02:50 AM #107
Dale Terry
Yadkinville, NC

I can't imagine giving the code of a lock box to someone.  Both ways can work properly if we do our jobs.

Jan 17, 2011 07:13 AM #108
Dawn A Fabiszak
Private Label Realty ( Denver metro area, Colorado - Aurora, CO
The Dawn of a New Real Estate Experience!

Don ~ it almost sound as if she wasn't an agent and just wanted to see the house without an agent.  I'm sorry to hear that you have had some vandalism in your area.

Jan 21, 2011 02:25 PM #109
Victoria CB Trees
Victoria CB Trees Real Estate Services - Chiloquin, OR
Principal Broker

We use the Suprakey system here in Klamath County, too.  I like it because I register the boxes online and can see who accesses the box.  I think in 6 years I've had only one agent call for a key, who didn't have an electronic keycard.

REOs here also require their own boxes, but we put our own on as well, and I don't know anyone who gives out the bank's code, to anyone.  Our own box is there...

Here's something I didn't see anyone write... there's a big scam going on where thieves advertise homes for rent on Craigslist, and these homes are not theirs, but are for sale and vacant.  I wouldn't be at all surprised if that prospect you "lost" was a thief.  With or without gaining entry, they manage to collect large deposits from unsuspecting renters, and then disappear into the wind.  The home owner is left to deal with a pissed off, ripped off renter.


Jan 22, 2011 03:10 AM #110
Don Rogers
Keller Williams Realty Chesterfield - O'Fallon, MO
Realtor, Broker, CDPE, GRI, OnullFallon MO & St Charles County MO homes

Good morning CB,

There are so many things that can go wrong when a combo lockbox is the only form of entry into a property.  It does not matter how secure you may think the home is.  We have heard of the Craigslist scam here not to mention all of the other areas that can go wrong.

IMHO, the cost of the lockbox should not even be an issue it is a cost of doing business.

Thank you ma'am for stopping in this morning and adding your comment.

Jan 22, 2011 03:34 AM #111
Mark Tucker
The Law Office of Mark Tucker - Mesa, AZ

Better safe than sued!

Jan 24, 2011 01:34 PM #112
Sandy McAlpine
Search Lake Norman Homes For Sale - Lake Norman NC

I have some sellers that prefer the combo box, but we talk about the differences upfront on the listing

Mar 14, 2011 07:36 AM #113
Matt Robinson
Professional Investors Guild - Pensacola, FL

Don, I am always thankful when a property is on a combo box, just because it's easier than updating my key.  However, that's just my personal preference, and I would NEVER question another agent for putting a SUPRA/electronic box on a listing.  I put them on most of my listings too, unless I run out, and then sometime I use combos on my lower end props.  But I can't imagine an agent having the audacity to imply you did something wrong by having one on there. 

Some people!

Aug 29, 2011 05:58 AM #114

I guess some areas of the country are just backwards with regards to a lot of this stuff! My own parents live in Marcellus, Michigan and their home has been for sale with 3 different agents in nearly 2 years. 2 of the 3 didn't use the MLS or realtor dot com!!! Their current realtor is primarily a contractor!!! I have referred brokers to them and given them lots of advice about how to sel their home and how to choose a realtor. They just get swayed by smooth talk and other nonsense! Their first realtor took awful photos and put them in his local Lake Property Magazine... which took him 2 months to publish. He did nothing else!!

I am a realtor in southern California and things are sure different here! My parents are still trying to sell and I am beyond frustrated with all the screwballs out there!! 

Jun 11, 2012 05:50 AM #115
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