Call First, Lockbox: What Does this Mean for a Sacramento Listing?

Real Estate Agent with Lyon Real Estate BRE #00697006

My sellers know that I track activity, all the comings and goings at their home. That's one of the reasons to use a lockbox. The little infrared gizmo beams all agent access info directly to a website for me. As a Sacramento short sale agent, I follow up on my listings. I email agents who show and ask if they have questions. It gives me an excellent way to obtain buyer feedback for my sellers as well.

When a seller of a new short sale listing emailed to say he had an evening showing yesterday, I looked up the agent information in MLS so I could contact her. She didn't use the lockbox, and she didn't have a business card. I warn sellers to not let people into their homes who do not produce a business card. All agents, when they are working, should carry business cards.

You'd be astonished at what people say when I throw out this scenario: Say, a For Sale sign goes into the yard and a nice looking couple knocks at your door. They say they spotted the For Sale sign and want to know if your home is for sale. What do you do? Nine out of 10 people say they would let these people in and show them around. No, no, no, you do NOT let strangers into your home. An agent would show you a business card. No card, no entry. Besides, most showings require an appointment or at the very least a phone call.

But this guy felt OK about it because the agent called him beforehand to let him know when she was coming over. The listing was put into MLS as: Call First, Lockbox. Some agents think that means call the listing agent. Other agents think it means call the seller and make an appointment. It really means call the seller, tell the seller when the agent will show the home and . . . GO. This way, a seller needs only to return the call if the time is inconvenient to show. This is standard showing practice in Sacramento.

If we wanted agents to make an appointment, we would have entered the listing into MLS as Appointment with Seller. If we wanted agents to call the listing agent, we would have entered the listing into MLS as Call Listing Agent. This is an important item for buyer's agents to know, especially in this sizzling hot Sacramento market. Buyers are practically breaking down doors to get in. They are lined up for showings.

The home that my seller showed to the agent without a business card? It went into escrow yesterday. This happened when other agents were calling and leaving a message, asking the seller to call them back. They didn't get a call back from the seller. They didn't get a call back because it was listed: Call First, Lockbox. The seller was too busy accommodating agents who showed up after leaving a message to bother calling back those who did not understand MLS directions.

Buyers, if you wanted to buy a home in Carmichael yesterday but couldn't get in to see it, perhaps this is why.

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Elizabeth Weintraub is an author, home buying expert for, a Land Park resident, and a veteran real estate agent who specializes in older, classic homes in Land Park, Curtis Park, Midtown and East Sacramento, as well as tract homes in Elk Grove, Natomas, Roseville and Lincoln. Weintraub is also a Sacramento Short Sale agent who lists and successfully sells short sales throughout the four-county Sacramento area with an emphasis on Elk Grove. Call Elizabeth Weintraub at 916.233.6759. Put 40 years of real estate experience to work for you. Broker-Associate at Lyon Real Estate. BRE License # 00697006.

The Short Sale Savior, by Elizabeth Weintraub, available with free shipping.

Photo: Unless otherwise noted in this blog, the photo is copyrighted by Big Stock Photo and used with permission.The views expressed herein are Weintraub's personal views and do not reflect the views of Lyon Real Estate. Disclaimer: If this post contains a listing, information is deemed reliable as of the date it was written. After that date, the listing may be sold, listed by another brokerage, canceled, pending or taken temporarily off the market, and the price could change without notice; it could blow up, explode or vanish. To find out the present status of any listing, please go to


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Kathryn Maguire (757) 560-0881 - Chesapeake, VA
Serving Chesapeake, Norfolk, VA Beach

Yes, how hard it is for some agents to follow simple instructions.  I just don't understand it!

Apr 21, 2012 02:27 AM #1
Jon Zolsky, Daytona Beach, FL
Daytona Condo Realty, 386-405-4408 - Daytona Beach, FL
Buy Daytona condos for heavenly good prices

Elizabeth - I like reading our posts and play a good student where I think that I know the answer. Often times I do, but sometimes I fail. Like here.

I thought it meant call Listing agent. Not because it means this here, we have "call L/A", or "Call LO". The reason is that here we do not call the Sellers, so this scenario did not even occur to me.

Another reason to be loscal and to know local

Apr 21, 2012 03:14 AM #2
Tom Arstingstall, General Contractor, Dry Rot, Water Damage Sacramento, El Dorado County - (916) 765-5366
Dry Rot and Water Damage Mobile - 916-765-5366 - Placerville, CA
General Contractor, Dry Rot and Water Damage

I'm no expert Elizabeth, but the directions seem pretty clear to me. Thanks for explaining how homes selling works in Sacramento.

Apr 21, 2012 05:05 AM #3
Elizabeth Weintraub Sacramento Real Estate Agent, Top 1% of Lyon Agents
Lyon Real Estate - Sacramento, CA
Put 40 years of experience to work for you

We have it pretty easy in Sacramento. There are parts of the country where no agent is allowed to talk to the seller ever. Or, sometimes the listing agent has to be present for showings, which must limit the number of listings an agent can take because an agent just can't be in 3 places at once.

Apr 21, 2012 07:17 AM #4
Chris Ann Cleland
Long and Foster REALTORS®, Gainesville, VA - Bristow, VA
Associate Broker, Bristow, VA

Our showing customs here are pretty much the same unless spelled out otherwise.  And naturally, there is a sizeable contingent of our REALTOR® population in Northern Virginia that don't follow the directions.  

Apr 21, 2012 08:20 AM #5
James Dray
Fathom Realty AR LLC - Bentonville, AR
Exceptional Agents, Outstanding Results

Morning Elizabeth can't say I haven't thought about it but so far I've never done it.  I have had agents who have and the conversation was one sided.  Enjoy the day

Apr 21, 2012 08:11 PM #6
Inna Ivchenko
Barcode Properties - Encino, CA
Realtor® • Green • GRI • HAFA • PSC Los Angeles CA

''Nine out of 10 people say they would let these people in and show them around.''~ wow, so, almost everyone will do showing when someone knocks at their door? 

hmmm, i think, it is not true for LA....people here obsessed with privacy...Short sales houses  here often don't have sign in the yeard...

Apr 24, 2012 02:37 AM #7
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