“In terms of electronic lockbox services, the trend is toward an enterprise-wide model. More and more of our Associations want to make it a core service, meaning that everyone will share equally in the cost and in the benefits.”
—James Reynolds, Director, Regional Sales for SentriLock
James Reynolds has been in the real estate industry for more than three decades.
With the moniker of SentriLock “employee no. 1,” he has been with the company since its inception nearly 20 years ago. From his experience with BORIS Systems to REALTOR.com to his current
role as Director, Regional Sales (Midwest, East, and Eastern Canada Territory) for SentriLock, Reynolds has seen the cycleof technology decisions repeat itself, and associations take on changes in the vendor dynamic.
We recently sat down with Reynolds for a discussion about technology changes within the industry over time. With the upcoming release of the SentriKey Showing Service™ and continuous lockbox enhancements, technology adoption at the association level is top of mind.
Looking Back at MLS Technology
Reynolds spoke about the trend of electronic lockbox adoption at the association level and how it mirrors a trend that MLS technology underwent in the late 1980s. “At that time, associations provided a full MLS catalog of home listings every two weeks or so,” he says. “Agents would flip through the catalog and schedule appointments for homes that may or may not have been available from the time the catalog was published, not to mention by the time an agent made it out to a listing with a client.”
The change to a computerized MLS didn’t happen overnight. “It was a slow, subtle process of associations working with members to evaluate the need, explain the benefits of moving to a computerized MLS, and then slowly, over time, reducing the frequency of their telephone book-sized listing catalog delivery to the point of extinction,” Reynolds says.
Looking Ahead to Electronic Lockbox Conversion
If history tends to repeat itself, and you’re in an association that’s facing some opposition to electronic lockbox conversion, what can you do?
Reynolds says it’s paramount that you understand who your agents serve – their clients. “Today’s consumers are tech-savvy and safety conscious,” he says. “It’s understandable that smart homeowners would expect their listing agent and association to provide a high level of security and accountability. They expect, and are entitled to, a higher level of security through their real estate relationship.” If your association can’t deliver, chances are another one will.
These days, mechanical lockboxes just can’t compete. They’re not able to provide the security and trackable information that electronic lockboxes can. “There have been plenty of news stories over the years about homes for sale that were ‘secured’ by mechanical lockboxes having been vandalized or burglarized,” Reynolds says. “This is a PR nightmare for the real estate agents and associations directly impacted by such events, damaging their reputation and credibility in their market. It also reflects poorly on the real estate industry, in general.”
With this in mind, it’s important to demand the security and trackable access logs, notifications, and information that electronic lockboxes provide for all involved. It’s no longer a competitive advantage to provide electronic lockboxes; it’s now an expectation.
With the continual addition of enhanced features that benefit the buyer, the seller, the listing agent, the selling agent, and the association(s), it’s smart business to get on board now.