Guide to Showings, Keyboxes, and Showing Service
The easier it is for agents to access your home, the more showings you will get and the faster it will sell.
An efficient property access system is one of the most valuable services a real estate agent can provide for a seller, so take advantage of the electronic memory keybox.
The majority of your showings will be from real estate agents. It is these showings that this web page is about. Obviously, you will be showing the home by appointment to buyers without agents.
The best advice about showings is:
- Use a real estate agent Electronic Memory Keybox whenever possible
- The ideal showing instruction for agents is "Call & Go", also referred to as "Courtesy Call".
- Use CSS in areas where it is available (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.
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 all real estate agents have their own electronic key, which 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 9am.
- 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 message on your voicemail. You call back and leave a message on the agent's voicemail. Agent never calls you back again.
- Agent reaches you to make an appointment. You sit around and wait, but the agent never shows up. You call the agent and get a voicemail, 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 Temple & McAllen.
"Call & Go" or "Courtesy Call" showing instruction (requires an Electronic Memory Keybox)
This avoids missed showings due to "phone tag" between you and the agent, and is the most common showing instruction found in MLS listings for agents to follow.
It means the agent will call to inform you of the showing. If the agent gets your voicemail, he/she will leave a message stating their name, contact information, and what time they plan to show the home. You can still call them back to cancel the showing if you have to. They gain access through the Electronic Memory Keybox with their electronic key.
Centralized Showing Service (CSS)
CSS is similar to an answering service, and is available in DFW, Houston, McAllen, San Antonio, and Central Texas MLS areas.
99% of all homes for sale in these markets are set up with CSS.
If your home is in any of these MLS areas, you definitely want to be set up on CSS.
Agents love CSS because they can 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. CSS then calls and emails the client to alert them of the showing.
It's a secure system, because all agents need to register with CSS 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.
CSS is only for agents to set up showings through MLS, and not for use by the general public, so the CSS 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, because 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 in areas where CSS is available, because at least CSS can give out the combination and you can avoid the "phone tag" problem. Also, with CSS, agents need to give their security code before getting the combo, and CSS records all showings and who the agent was.
We provide the Master Combo keyboxes when a seller wants one. We have found them to be the easiest to use and the most reliable. If we send you a combination keybox, it is yours to keep.
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 CSS 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.
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 & CSS (where available) set up as "call & go":
- 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!