When a home goes on the market in one of the local Florida Multiple Listing Systems (MLS) and is listed by a local Real Estate agent, statistics report the greatest number of buyer showings occur within the first 2-3 weeks. A key strategy Realtors use to get a higher sales price is to expose the home to as many buyers as possible during this time period. Doesn’t it stand to reason, the more people exposed to your home, the better chance you have of getting it SOLD! To show, Realtors look to content in the MLS that stipulates how the home is available to be seen by potential purchasers, accompanied by their Realtor.
Some of those showing options include: Vacant, Lock box-Nobody occupies the home, the sellers are out often or possibly on vacation etc. In either case, it is OK for the Realtor working with the buyer to simply go directly to the home with a buyer and gain entry through using a lock box. There are many different types of lock boxes, but the safest and most secure by far is the SUPRA brand, issued only by the local MLS. Not all Realtors own these boxes nor have access to them, as they’re quite expensive and they must pay an additional fee to the MLS for the Blue tooth connected Key Fob. In Palm Beach County, the Beaches MLS imposes a $5,000 fine for any member that shares their access device with any other Realtor or customer. Only choose a Realtor that has this device, or you may miss out on that perfect house!
Call First, Lock box-Generally, the phone number listed in MLS is the Realtors office, cell or even the seller’s. The Buyer’s agent calls and establishes a mutually agreeable arrival time. If no one answers the phone, the agent leaves a message and goes directly to the home without further communication attempts, unless the Listing Agent or seller calls the Buyers agent to reschedule.
Appointment With Tenant-In some parts of the country, disturbing tenants requires 24- to 48-hours notice. The phone number listed is the tenant’s, and the agent must negotiate an agreeable showing time directly with the tenant. These are typically the most difficult properties to see since tenants have no real benefit to showing the home. Often the tenant of the seller requests that buyer’s agents show the home only on certain days and / or within a specific time frame. If they’re not available, hopefully there will be a lock box installed.
Appointment with Owner-There is no lock box. The owner dictates when agents can show according to the owner’s whim and schedule. The Buyer’s agent must schedule an appointment in advance. Unless the owner is always home, this is not the most desired method, as the one showing that is missed, may have been the one buyer that would have bought that property!
Appointment with Listing Agent – Agents must call and make an appointment with the Listing agent who, in turn, calls the seller to make an appointment, or has pre-authorized access. The listing agent many times is present when the buyer’s agent shows the home. Of course the listing agent usually knows the house the best but, are they always available, probably not!
Key in Listing Office or Courtesy Key-There is no lock box. After scheduling an appointment, the buyer’s agent drives to the listing agent’s office, picks up the key, shows the home and returns the key to the listing office. This is really the way Real Estate was shown years ago and many agents prefer not to have to hunt down a key and drive the extra distance, as it’s highly inefficient.
Call Listing Office-For more specific information about showing, the buyer’s agent needs to call the listing brokerage to obtain that data.
Some Drawbacks to Home Selling Without a Lock box!
Statistics reflect that homes without lock boxes receive fewer showings overall than homes with lock boxes and have longer Days on Market (DOM).
1) Agents can’t always control the time between their showings and could miss an appointment or be so late it is canceled. Many times it never occurs, even at a later date!
2) Some agents don’t want to bother with making an appointment, so that listing goes toward bottom of their showing list, or never makes it on the list at all!
3) Sometimes buyers spot a home for sale while on tour with the buyer’s agent and ask to immediately see it. Without a lock box, it makes the possibility of an impromptu showing much more difficult.
4) It’s been discussed around the water cooler than some buyer’s agents believe that listing agents deliberately withhold lock boxes from a listing because the listing agent intends to double-end<http://homebuying.about.com/od/glossaryd/g/DualAgency.htm> the deal and sell the home without cooperation from other brokerages.
5) Buyers prefer to tour homes without the seller present and without the seller’s agent in proximity because their presence often times makes them uncomfortable. Buyers want to be free to express opinions with their agent, that they would not otherwise bring up in the presence of the owner or listing agent.
Bottom-Line, Lock boxes make sense, and the electronic SUPRA version offers sellers “peace of mind”, as the information these boxes electronically submit back to the listing agent allows for timely reporting which licensed agent has accessed the property at any given day and time! You’ll also know who to blame when the cat escapes the house too!
This discussion was brought to you by one of our industry experts:
Henry L Kaplan, GRI, SRES, Sales Manager
Boynton Beach Office