About a month ago Reflection Lakes was considering a very bad policy for access to its gate system that would have impaired Realtors ability to show homes, which in turn would impair sellers ability to sell their homes in an already tough real estate environment. You can read more about that past policy at Reflection Lakes Gate Policy Bad For Home Sales?
The new policy allows the gate to call an agent’s cell phone number so the agent can allow access once another Realtor get’s to the gate. And there in lies another real problem. I spoke with a board member prior to the last meeting, and when the board member proposed this idea as a possible solution I told him it wasn’t a good idea.
Here is the issue. Busy Realtors don’t use their cell phones for incoming calls or showings. The Ellis Team alone receives on average 80 calls per hour, and this doesn’t even include calls to setup showings which go to a separate showing desk to be logged into our computer system for propert tracking. RE/MAX receives many calls too, and we have many receptionists to take those calls.
It would be very rude for us to answer our cell phones each time someone called the office. Just imagine a buyer working with an agent, but instead of being able to talk to that agent one on one for a few hours while viewing homes or negotiating a contract, the agent was answering their cell phone multiple times per minute. Some of these calls would be for showing feedback, others might be from other clients, others might be from the title company or mortgage company, and now a new call to open a gate.
Keep in mind the agent may be on a listing appointment. Again, this potential sellers wants quality time with the agent they’re thinking about hiring, and they want to ask tough questions. People hate being interrupted by someone else’s cell pone every 2 seconds. It’s just rude to do that to someone. Now the Reflection Lakes gate calls the agent’s cell phone. The agent may be unaware of whom this Realtor is or if they really have an appointment, because the agent isn’t at their office, and would have to make another call to the showing desk to find out.
Sellers don’t want to list with agents who have nothing else to do but setup showings or sit around and wait for the phone to ring. Those aren’t the Realtor’s selling properties today. And what if the Realtor is on another line when that gate request comes through? What if that Realtor is on vacation? Realtors take vacations too, but the agent who doesn’t have a showing system in place with their company will lose showings.
Ultimately it will be the homeowner who will be hurt by this policy. Realtors should have a code that works to get into the gate. Adding a bunch more bureaucracy and phone calls won’t help the situation. Reflection Lakes won’t even allow this gate request to go to agent’s company, the very people who setup and manage the showings. It must go to a cell phone.
We have a tremendous gate problem in Reflection Lakes. When it was sold to us we were told we they picked the best gate company because repairs and maintenance would be less because this was a quality system. We didn’t know the gates would be so slow, and that the software wasn’t capable of keeping up because of phone transmission problems. Now it’s becoming a big issue just getting data to and from the gates. Adding a cell phone policy for Realtors won’t solve this. The truth is it’s a technical problem in the phone lines. If it’s just too much data, then we need a better software system. You would think for the money we paid for the gates the speed of the gates and the software would be sufficient.
Through July of 2008 the Ellis Team has sold and closed 154 homes. This is a tough environment, and agents are having to work harder and more skillfully to put deals together, and keep them together. At an average of 80 calls per hour, you can see there’s not a lot of sitting around waiting for the phone to ring time. And there’s certainly no sitting around waiting for the cell phone to ring just so we can let someone in Reflection Lakes who may or may not have an appointment to see one of our listings. If the board is going to take the time to adjust these policies, and speak with Realtors about what works and what doesn’t, at least listen to the advice you get instead of acting unilaterally. I know the board has tough decisions to make with this gate that doesn’t seem to quite work like it was promised, but please for the sake of our homeowners, take all the facts into account before making the problem worse.
I really don’t believe the security of our community is being jeopardized by Realtors having access to the gates via a code. The Realtors have access to the insides of homes, so why would you be afraid to give access to the gate?