Make sure your Realtor® is able to show you all active listings

Real Estate Agent with Thompson Company, REALTORS® MD594797

Is your Realtor
® able to show you all available listings? It may not be an obvious question to ask but it ought to be ...

I went on a home-tour with a lovely new client last weekend. When I got out my card to open the lock-box my clients inquired if that is the so-called Sentri card.

It turned out her last Realtor
® (I'm hesitant to refer to her as such but not knowing to the contrary I'm assuming the best) did not have one and "would only be able to show her listings on combo lock-boxes." Huh? Was my initial reaction. How is that possible? According to my client the other agent found the card too expensive "but not to worry" she had "a friend who could borrow her her card if need be." Quite honestly, that statement left me speechless.

The majority of listings in Central Maryland can be accessed via the Sentri key card - it's an essential tool for every Realtor
®. The Sentri lock-box offers the advantage that every access can be tracked. We will know who opened the lock-box on what day and at which time - although not required, they are the safer choice.

Being a Realtor
® is not cheap - the Sentri card & lock-box is just one of many expenses. If your agent is not willing or able to pay the dues for some or all the services that are key tools for every professional Realtor®, then you have to wonder what other things are being skimped on.

When you set out on your home buying adventure and interview different Realtors
® make sure you ask whether or not they can show you all available listings. It may not be an obvious question to ask but it ought to be since it is about the listings you want to see not which ones your Realtor® is able to show you.

Make sure your Realtor
® has access to all listings! If the answer is NO then you have to question whether or not this is his/her profession or just a hobby.

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Thompson Company, REALTORS

16910 Oak Hill Rd, Silver Spring, MD 20905
o: (301) 384-9177 c: (240)593-2860

Andrea is a REALTOR® based in Silver Spring, MD, who has enjoyed assisting buyers and sellers in Montgomery and Howard County, MD (and beyond) for 16+ years now. She always answers the phone with a smile, enjoys running, hiking, and traveling, speaks German, reads a lot, blogs a little, and drinks too much coffee. 


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 Andrea Bedard, Thompson Company, REALTORS: from Just Listed to Just SOLD


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Show All Comments
Chuck Carstensen
RE/MAX Results - Elk River, MN
Minnesota Real Estate Expert

I think there are a few out in this area with out there "key"  not sure of all the reasons.

Jan 16, 2012 01:33 PM #1
Ralph Janisch ABR CRS Broker
Janisch & Co. - Conroe, TX
Selling Northwest Houston to good people like you!

What I'm seeing more and more of is agents using Combo boxes instead of the vastly more expensive electronic lockboxes.

Jan 16, 2012 01:40 PM #2
Mike Cooper, GRI
Cornerstone Business Group Inc - Winchester, VA
Your Neighborhood Real Estate Sales Pro

The Sentri-lock is showing up here in the valley, but we don't use them.  I'm heading out Wed with new clients.  One of the listings that met their criteria has a SL.  So, I took it off my showing list.  I can't imagine why a Northern VA Realtor would bring a SL into this area when don't use them.  I have to assume she doesn't know, but she won't get many showings on her listing.  I should get one.  Andrea, can I borrow yours Wed? 

Jan 16, 2012 02:04 PM #3
Pamela Seley
West Coast Realty Division - Murrieta, CA
Residential Real Estate Agent serving SW RivCo CA

I'm sure most buyers wouldn't even think to ask the question of an agent, will you be able to show me all listings? As times get leaner, more agents will stop paying their board and MLS dues.

Jan 16, 2012 02:05 PM #4
Tammy Lankford,
Lane Realty Eatonton, GA Lake Sinclair, Milledgeville, 706-485-9668 - Eatonton, GA
Broker GA Lake Sinclair/Eatonton/Milledgeville

I do have a couple of dedicated listing only agents who don't have a key.  And I provide all the lockboxes.  Also as the broker I can loan my key to licensees within my office so I do when they need to place or remove one.  But all my selling agents have keys (although I pay for them)

Gotta agree though, an agent trying to show property has to have a key.

Jan 16, 2012 02:48 PM #5
Andrea Bedard
Thompson Company, REALTORS® - Silver Spring, MD
M.A.; REALTOR® Silver Spring, MD and beyond

It depends on what the standard in the area is, of course. In Central Maryland we use both, combo and Sentri with the majority being on Sentri. If you don't have access to 60 or 70% of listings then how can you work in the best interest of your client?

Hi Chuck: This was the first I've heard in a long time ... I don't think you can really work around here without one.

Hi Jeanne & Ralph: I can def. understand the price issue - I've used a combo on occasion, but really prefer not to . It's the not having access to all the listings a client wants to see, I have a problem with.

Hi Mike: Before Sentri, most of us were on Supra (and combos) but Southern MD used the Sentri already - it was really a hassle if I showed in that area but couldn't access the homes across the county line. I did not think that was fair to my clients and referred them out to someone who was able to do both. It doesn't make sense at all why anyone would use Sentri in your area if it's not the norm?! That's just as much of a disservice to their client! Too bad my VA license is on inactive or we could have joined up :-)

Hi Pamela: That's a terrible thought, isn't it?! All the fees and dues do add up but it's just necessary - I'd much rather pay less but if I want to succeed, I don't have a choice. It's not fair to the client to say "oh sorry, I didn't have the money so I can't show you the home even though it may be the perfect one"

Hi Tammy: Now that makes sense to me - if you are not active as a buyer's agent then there would really be no need. What a great broker you are Tammy, to cover that fee! I know it's not always easy but IMO it would be impossible to work professionally in our area if one can't access the majority of listings.

Jan 16, 2012 03:10 PM #6
Wallace S. Gibson, CPM
Gibson Management Group, Ltd. - Charlottesville, VA

The "borrowing another agent's card" is the disturbing part to me.  That is a violation and BOTH agents would be in trouble if they did that....


Jan 16, 2012 03:13 PM #7
Andrea Bedard
Thompson Company, REALTORS® - Silver Spring, MD
M.A.; REALTOR® Silver Spring, MD and beyond

Hi Wallace: I think they should get in trouble! When I started out I was told that I cannot share my supra (that's what we had back then) with anyone and I never did. It makes sense - not only are they posing as a different person but what about liability?

Jan 16, 2012 03:48 PM #8
Silvia Dukes PA, Broker Associate, CRS, CIPS, SRES
Tropic Shores Realty - Ich spreche Deutsch! - Spring Hill, FL
Florida Waterfront and Country Club Living

Hi Andrea, I agree with that.  In our area it would be a MLS violation to use someone else's lockbox key (we use Supra) as they are all coded to a particular agent.  I occasionally get an out-of-area agent call who needs access for showings but doesn't have a key pad, I usually put on a combo just to accommodate that showing and only because I like to think that this would be in the best interest of my seller so that the property can be shown.

Jan 17, 2012 01:11 AM #9
Mike Cooper, GRI
Cornerstone Business Group Inc - Winchester, VA
Your Neighborhood Real Estate Sales Pro

There's always room for you!  8-)

Jan 17, 2012 03:12 AM #10
Andrea Bedard
Thompson Company, REALTORS® - Silver Spring, MD
M.A.; REALTOR® Silver Spring, MD and beyond

Hi Silvia, I wouldn't give out my key-card, that's for sure. The combo comes in handy in examples like yours but, generally, I try to avoid it. I've seen too many on which the last agent didn't erase the code for example! Scary!

Hi Mike, I appreciate that but that commute is just a tad long!

Jan 17, 2012 12:48 PM #11
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M.A.; REALTOR® Silver Spring, MD and beyond
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