So you met with a real estate professional. They gave you a sales pitch, presentation and a marketing strategy that you thought sounded good. You signed the exclusive right to sell listing agreement. The newly hired agent then had photos, a virtual tour and, or video produced by a local photographer. You are feeling good about this newly hired agent. All seems great, right? Maybe not. You might have just hired a “lockbox agent.” A lockbox agent is a term we coined many years ago in-house because we have seen all types of real estate agents. Using a lockbox is not a problem. They can be handy if a buyer’s agent wants to show the home on short notice and the listing agent can’t be in two places at once. This is not a lockbox agent because they are using it as a backup tool for last-minute showings.
A lockbox agent is an agent who relies upon on the lockbox entirely because they are lazy and think the property will eventually sell itself since they have a listing sheet chalk full of details, professional photos, virtual tours and, or video. When the home doesn’t sell, the lockbox agent will ask for a price reduction. The lockbox agent’s plan from the get-go was to show the seller that they put forth a lot of effort by getting the listing to sparkle and they are “invested” in getting your home sold but they really aren’t. Sometimes a price reduction will get the lockbox agent off their ass, but this usually isn’t the case.
While some homes can certainly sell with an agent who relies on the lockbox approach, most homes need the listing agent to show the property. Any real estate professional who takes on a listing for a full-service fee should be showing the property every time they get a call. It makes a huge difference. The industry is full of lockbox agents and it’s a shameful disgrace to those agents who work hard at each home showing to get that property sold.
When a seller hires an agent they are paying for full service, not half service. It’s the agents duty to market, show and ultimately sell the home. When a lockbox agent throws a lockbox on the house and uses a showing service hotline, they are relying on the buyer’s agent who knows little or nothing about the home to sell the home for them.
A listing agent needs to be present for 95% of showings so they get see the buyer demographics for the home. If an agent doesn’t understand the demographics for the said property they cannot market properly. Today’s marketing is based on data and without this online marketing cannot be targeted properly. Also, if an agent is not present for showings they cannot inform buyers about the information the sellers provided (ie. new systems installed, how much they spent on improvements, ask questions and get real feedback from the prospective buyers. Knowing what prospective buyers don’t like is important.
Unfortunately, most sellers won’t know what type of agent they hired until it’s too late. Make sure you know that your real estate agent will be present for most, if not all showings.