I had a conversation with a colleague this week about using lock boxes. She hadn’t been able to convince her seller that using a lock box was advantageous and whether having a lockbox on her door was even necessary to sell her home. Those of you that don’t know, a lockbox is an apparatus that usually holds your front door key securely inside; your listing agent will attach it (the lockbox) in a convenient location somewhere on or near your home, making it very easy for the buyer’s agent who wants to show your home to gain access. To get the key out of the lockbox, a Realtor would use an electronic key or an app on their smart-phone to access the lockbox.
In the South Florida market, Real estate agents have become very accustomed to lockboxes and almost expect them for the convenience they afford. Often agents will schedule several homes to show with their buyer and will want to have the ability to quickly go from one property to another without having to worry about keys. If your home is one of the few properties without a lockbox, it puts a monkey wrench in the flow of things. Homes without lockboxes run the risk be tagged “Difficult to Show.”
Without a key on site (in a lockbox) there are usually only few other ways to gain access to your home; none of which agents care for:
- Seller has to be home to let you in
- The buyer’s agent has to go to (listing) agent’s office to get and later return the key
- Listing agent has to go to your property to unlock the door and wait at the property with the showing agent until done
Agents don’t have time to worry about keys nor do they like having to schedule around other people’s time such as the home owner or listing agent. Thinking you will always be home or that your listing agent will always be available to accommodate another Realtor’s showing schedule is not realistic. A showing can happen at anytime and arrival time to your home is usually within a broad time-frame which fluctuates within a half hour to an hour. It is usually inconvenient for the listing agent to sit around your home waiting for a showing, and it’s often challenging for a buyer agent to keep a precise schedule.
Agents are like water, they follow the course of least resistance. If your home is difficult to get inside an agent may drop it from their showing schedule.
What would be your objection to a lockbox anyways: Safety? Security? Someone coming in your home unannounced? The South Florida MLS uses a lockbox system call Supra. It is very secure and affords Realtors many options controlling the lockbox functions. Once you see the lockbox firsthand and understand how secure it is (holding your key inside) and all the control you and your listing agent have over others having access to the key inside. The box itself is virtually indestructible and it would be far easier for a nefarious intruder to break down your door instead of trying to gain access to a lockbox. Going that extra step to assure your home accessible at any given time will go along way in helping you sell your home.
Realtors in South Florida using the Supra system can:
- Block-out showing times;
- Provide you (the seller) with online access where you can restrict showings;
- Require all showings to be confirmed by you, by me, by both of us, or completely automatically;
- Know exactly when any Realtor accesses the lock box in real-time;
- Post all showings and agent feedback in real time online.
Block-Out Showing Times Feature:
You can ask your agent to automatically block off showings (and disable your lockbox) for any specific time or recurring time frames. Unless otherwise objected, I like to restrict home showing times to fit between: 9AM to 7PM daily; before or after that time-frame Realtors can not automatically schedule a showing online and the lock-box goes into complete lock down – The lockbox is completely disabled and no one has access. It’s also good to know for example, when when an owner has a vacation home and wants to “use” it for the weekend they can block out times days or weeks in advance. It’s simple to block out those days and time they plan on being at the property. Scheduling block-out times is very easy. Another option is the do not disturb feature. This gives a seller the ability to disable the lockbox ANYTIME desired.
Do Not Disturb (DND) Feature:
You have total control when someone can use the lockbox. You can disable the lockbox on your property at any time – from the comfort of your home. Say for instance you are feeling a little under the weather, took the day off from work and are at home bedridden; you called your listing agent and asked them not to schedule any showings for the day but … you keep thinking about the key in the box outside. Not to worry, all you have to do is enter a simple code (provided by your agent) and that code will completely disable/lockout anyone that tries to get access until you turn off the DND function. You can keep it off for minutes, hours or days – you have total control over that lockbox.
Every Time your lockbox is accessed by a Realtor their unique electronic key instantly embeds their personal identification, date and time of access and the information is then transmitted wireless to Supra which can be accessed online. We always know who was at your property and when.
In addition to documenting who has accessed the lockbox, the Sellers’ Gateway also solicits agents’ feedback about your home, keeps a tally of all the showings you had, and will even show future showings. Our sellers love this feature and it’s only possible when using both the Supra lockbox and our ShowingTime scheduling system.
Going back to the question at hand – Should you use a lockbox when selling your home? Of course I feel strongly that it is in your best interest as a seller to use a lock box. A lockbox makes a home much more accessible to buyers and their agents and provides you with a complete and accurate record of showings. The key inside is safe and secure and you always have total control. When I visit for a listing presentation I will bring a sample lockbox with me. I will show you all the features of the lockbox firsthand and how we interact with it.
Having a lockbox at your home increases the number of showings and foot traffic through your property. The buyer’s agent still needs to make an appointment with the listing agent to show the house and no one can gain access to your home without your knowledge.