In what circumstances is it appropriate or inappropriate to use a lockbox?
Prairie Shore Properties
There are some special circumstances where it’s better for the listing agent to accompany the client, but most of the time the listing agent’s presence at the showing is unnecessary. In fact, I find that most buyers prefer that the listing agent is not present. Buyers often feel more comfortable in speaking candidly, and will stay in the home longer when we are alone. It also makes it easier to show. Instead of having to be there exactly at 12:15, I can say that we will be there between 12:00 and 12:30, which helps tremendously when you are out showing several properties. Lockboxes make it easy to show, and shouldn’t that be the goal?
I believe the use of lockboxes devalues what we do in the eyes of the consumer. In these competitive times of discount listing services, FSBO companies and the overall lack of faith in what a Realtor actually provides for the listing fee, we cannot afford to not personally show our listings. Some agents believe that if the unit is vacant, there is nothing for them to do. I believe it is not just our job to market our inventory, but, as sales professionals, it is our duty to be available every step of the process. Contrary to some beliefs, nothing sells itself. By not servicing our listing in person we not only cheat our sellers and ourselves out of valuable feedback, but we become a contributing factor to the lack of respect our industry often receives.
Koenig & Strey GMAC
Generally speaking, I don’t think there’s a problem using a lockbox. In fact I would like to see the city move toward lockbox usage. If you look in the Chicago suburbs and in most markets across the country, agents successfully sell homes using the lockbox. I don’t see why it has to be any different in Chicago. Of course, there are times when a lockbox is inappropriate, such as per the seller’s request, multi-family properties with tenants, new construction with multiple floor plans, etc.
The lockbox is not a secure solution for our sellers or Realtors. As we obtain the codes from the listing offices, most agents enter the code on the listing sheets. Our buyers could see the codes if we’re not protecting our sheets which places our sellers at risk. In addition, many agents are unavailable to give out lockbox codes. When this occurs, these properties aren’t shown on the day that the sales contract is written, eliminating them from the list of available homes.