2015 Apr 17th

Why Lockboxes Help a Hoboken Condo Seller

It’s Friday.  My day to make appointments for showing buyers properties over the weekend.  I’ve been telling you for the past year what a shortage of inventory there is in the Hoboken real estate market.  How every nice property receives multiple bids.  Those same properties, before the bids come rolling in, are also in extremely high demand for showings by agents.  Saturday and Sunday are the busy days – it’s when most buyers are off from work and can go looking at prospective homes.  One would think that a listing agent, whose job it is to get the most money in the least amount of time for the seller, would understand that easy access to the property is in the seller’s interest.  Real estate is nothing more than supply and demand.  The more people who see a place, the more offers there are likely to be presented.  The more offers there are, the more money the seller is likely to get.  Simple stuff. chicken I just called to make an appointment to show a new listing at a very sought-after complex.  One where 2 bedrooms have been selling like hotcakes and prices have escalated by $100k in a year.  I was told there was one key at the office.  When I suggested that maybe the listing agent put a lockbox on the property, at least for the weekend, he told me he “doesn’t do” lockboxes.  It’s too much trouble “because the key could get lost”.  Well, the key can get lost no matter if I take it out of a lockbox or get it from the office.  The problem is that on Sunday morning, when 50 agents all want to show the same unit, and there is no open house and only one set of keys, chaos ensues.  Some agent has the key, the listing office is not sure which one has it, and we all run around after each other playing chase down the key instead of being able to do our jobs professionally.  Sometimes you just can’t get the key so the property doesn’t get shown.  Yes, I find this incredibly frustrating.  But you know who really suffers?  The seller.  There are real buyers who want to see the place who don’t get in because there is only one set of keys and no lockbox.

  1. Craig

    I think the perspective of property owners still living in the residence for sale is in order here. The problem with the old manual tumbler type of lock boxes most agents still insist on using is that they are not secure. Don’t take my word for it. Check out the YouTube videos where amateurs easily defeat them in about a minute – and show the rest of the world how to do it in the process.

    In my opinion, if every agent universally used the Supra electronic models, then using a lock box wouldn’t be an issue. But I have yet to see an agent in Hoboken use one. They require agents to use an electronic key card that only authorized users can get to access the box, and an electronic log is kept of who accessed the property and when. That way if anything happens, there’s a record of who was in the home at the time.

    Why every real estate agent hasn’t switched over to the electronic models is beyond me. But as long as some use the old manual combination tumbler models, I as a seller personally would only consider those for use on a vacant residence.

  2. Lori

    Craig – if you had the experience with keys that I do, you are kidding yourself to think that the current system of picking up keys at the respective realtor offices is secure. Keys are misplaced and lost all the time. I have often had an agent hand me the keys to an apartment in the middle of the street without even asking who I was. I have had agents get angry because I asked their name and agency and for a business card before I would pass keys on to them. A lockbox is no less secure and, truthfully, in 11 years of selling real estate in Hoboken I have NEVER heard of an incident of a lockbox being broken into or an apartment being entered wrongly as a result of a lockbox. We are switching to the Supra system but most agents are against it because it is very expensive and we pay for it personally.

  3. Craig

    You make an excellent point Lori. However, my thinking is leaving a key in the office may not be any more secure than an old tumbler style lockbox – but at least the property owner knows who to hold responsible if the key is lost. That’s basically the advantage of the Supra system. If something happens, you at least know who had the key at any given time during the day.

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