The easier it is for agents to access your home, the more showings you will get and the faster it will sell.
The best advice about showings is:
- Use a real estate agent Electronic Memory Keybox whenever possible
- The ideal showing instruction for agents is “Courtesy Call” or “Go & Show”.
- Use ShowingTime to book showings (details below).
- Use a combination keybox ONLY in special circumstances.
- Leave the home during real estate agent showings.
Real Estate Agent Electronic Memory Keyboxes
An Electronic Memory Keybox is a device that looks like a giant lock, and attaches to a door handle or doorknob. It has a compartment that contains a key to gain access to the house. It is also referred to as “Supra” Keybox or Lockbox. It can only be opened with an electronic key that only agents have.
4 reasons why you should use a real estate agent Electronic Memory Keybox
- Not using one identifies you as a “For Sale By Owner”
Virtually all MLS listed homes have them, and it’s rare that a 6% real estate agent doesn’t use one. The standard listing agreement used by 6% agents states that a Keybox is required to be installed. The only listings that don’t have them are typically “For Sale By Owner” type listings. When a listing states there is no Keybox, and instructs the agent to call the owner for an appointment, then the agent is fairly certain it’s a “For Sale By Owner” listing. Some agents will avoid such listings. If a seller follows all our advice, there is nothing in the MLS listing that agents can see that looks any different from a typical 6% listing.
- Security and Control
Electronic Memory Keyboxes can only be opened by a real estate agent with an electronic key. Every keybox has a unique number, and every electronic key also has a unique number. All keyboxes and electronic keys record access information. If there is ever a problem, your listing agent can find out exactly who entered the home and at what time. Another desirable feature is that Electronic Memory Keyboxes can’t be opened by anyone after 9pm or before 7am.
- Allows you to avoid being home during showings
(more about this below)
- Avoids missed showings
If an agent is required to make a confirmed appointment to show a house because there is no Keybox, there is a good chance that one of these will happen:
– Agent calls for appointment, gets your voicemail, and hangs up without leaving a message and skips the showing.
– Agent calls for appointment and leaves a text or message on your voicemail. You answer back and leave a message and the agent never responds.
– Agent reaches you to make an appointment. You sit around and wait, but the agent never shows up. You try to reach the agent but can’t, and the showing is never rescheduled.
– Some agents skip homes without Keyboxes altogether.
We ship keyboxes to our clients by UPS, and we provide the return shipping label for the return. All you need to do is put the keybox back in the box we shipped it in, add the label, and drop it off at the nearest UPS drop off location.
Electronic Memory Keyboxes are available in all MLS areas except McAllen.
The 3 types of showing instructions
Go & Show
This is the best, and is typically for vacant houses. Agent contacts ShowingTime service and schedules a showing. It is immediately confirmed, and agent goes to show and enters via electronic keybox.
This is second best. Agent contacts ShowingTime service and schedules a showing. Agent is given showing instructions listed, such as 1 hour notice required (or however long seller requires). Agent is cleared to show at a given time, but it can’t be earlier than the required notice. Seller (and/or tenant) is notified by text, phone call, and/or email that the showing is scheduled and at what time. Seller still has the option to cancel the showing if absolutely necessary. Access is by electronic keybox.
Appointment required – Using electronic keybox
This is next to the worst. Agent contacts ShowingTime service and tries to schedule a showing. Agent is told a confirmation is required by seller, and the agent will be later notified. ShowingTime contacts seller and waits for confirmation. Once confirmation is received, ShowingTime notifies agent they are clear to show at the desired time, but agent may not get the confirmation in time. If the seller asks for a different time, it goes back and forth again. Lag times in between the back and forth, seller’s or agents not responding quickly, and miscommunications all lead to lost showings.
Appointment required – no electronic keybox
This is the absolute worst. Instruction in MLS says to call owner for appointment. Seller controls the showings. Nothing but problems, complaints, and missed showings. Seller doesn’t always answer the phone, or voicemail box is full (of course, seller claims they will ALWAYS be available, which we already know is not true); agents call us to complain they can’t reach seller; property gets fewer showings and offers; and property takes longer to sell, and possibly for less than with proper showing instructions..
ST is similar to an answering service, and is available in all of our MLS areas. 99% of all homes for sale are set up with ST.
Agents love ST because they can go online or call one phone number and set up all their showings in a matter of minutes, and get any information they need such as keybox combinations, alarm codes, gate codes, pet information and other showing instructions. ST then calls and emails the client to alert them of the showing.
It’s a secure system, because all agents need to register with ST and obtain a “showing code” before they can use it. Any time they want to set up showings or get any information, they must provide their showing code.
ST is only for agents to set up showings through MLS, and not for use by the general public, so the ST telephone number should NOT be put on flyers, yard signs, or any other advertising materials intended for buyers.
Use Combination Keybox only in special circumstances.
You have the same “phone tag” problem with combo keyboxes as with calling for an appointment because the agent has to reach you for the combination. Another problem is lack of access control. Once someone has the combination, they can give it someone else or come back themselves any time without you knowing. You also never know for sure if the person you are giving the combination to is an agent.
You can sometimes get by with a combo keybox, because at least ST can give out the combination and you can avoid the “phone tag” problem. Also, with ST, agents need to give their security code before getting the combo, and ST records all showings and who the agent was.
We sell Master Combo keyboxes when a seller wants one. We have found them to be the easiest to use and the most reliable.
Leave the home during real estate agent showings
Statistics prove that buyers will rush a showing when a seller is present because they feel uncomfortable and like they are intruding. The less time they spend in the house, the more likely they are to forget it, and the less likely they are to schedule a second showing. Using an Electronic Memory Keybox makes this easier.
Value of Showing Agent Feedback
Please refer to Value of Obtaining Showing Agent Feedback on our Marketing page.
Various Showing Instructions
Some sellers will have some specific showing instructions, such as “don’t let cat out” or “dog in back yard may bite”. The problem with showing instructions written in the MLS listing or left with ST is that the agents forget them, lose them, or don’t read them in the first place. It’s best to put large notes (large because some agents need reading glasses) in the place where the information is needed. A note like “Don’t let cat out” should be on the front door so the agent will see it before entering the house. A note “dog in back yard may bite” should be on the back door leading out to the back yard. The only showing instruction that makes sense to put in a listing is if the seller requires a minimum amount of notice, such as “One hour notice required”.
Some sellers don’t want to use keyboxes due to a pet, and plan to come home and deal with the pet every time there is a showing. Unless the house is priced for a quick sale, this can be a major obstacle. Dogs can often be handled by leaving them outside, confining them to a room such as a utility room, or putting them in a travel crate (depending on the dog, the weather, and other factors). Many dog owners perceive these measures as some form of torture, and dogs are experts at making sad faces to instill guilt in their owners! Another alternative is leaving the dog with a family member, friend, or dog boarding facility until the house sells.
If you’re selling a single family house, your buyers are likely to be owner-occupants. If there is a tenant in the house, it’s likely the new owners will want the tenant to leave anyway.
Tenants tend to present showing obstacles, and don’t always keep the house in perfect showing condition. In some cases the tenant has certain scheduling conflicts, preventing the house from being shown at certain times. Even worse, we have seen situations where the tenant has something to gain by the house not selling, such as cheap rent.
For these reasons, if you have a tenant, it is probably in your best interest to get them out, clean up the house, and make it as easy as possible to be shown.
It’s wise to lock away cash, firearms, jewelry, prized knickknacks, and other valuables when you are marketing your house. Although theft during showings is extremely rare, there is no need to take a risk of things disappearing.
Agents can access Electronic Memory Keyboxes without a CBS code, but most appraisers and building inspectors cannot. CBS codes add an extra level of security that requires the user to enter an additional code to open the keybox. If you are ever asked for a CBS code so an inspector or appraiser can gain access, ask them to call us and we will give it to them.
Why WE like sellers to use Electronic Memory Keyboxes & ShowingTime set up as “Go & Show” or “Courtesy Call”:
- We won’t have to deal with the extra phone calls from agents who can’t reach sellers for showings.
- 9 out of 10 times (no joke) when a seller claims they always have their phone with them and answer it 24/7, we get phone calls from agents who can’t reach the seller.
- Houses will sell faster with a keybox because they get more showings. Almost all our listings are paid on a flat fee basis, so if it takes longer for a house to sell, it costs us more time and money!