How Sacramento MetroList iBox Exchange Affects Home Sellers

3-lockboxes-sacramento-300x225The reason Sacramento real estate agents are getting hosed by MetroList is because . . . well, I’m not really sure of the explanation that MetroList gave me when it called to discuss my “hatchet job of MetroList.” There was much blabber about blubber: how large our MetroList is and how many lockboxes we have in our system, and how none of us will really know exactly what went on behind the scenes and never will know because it’s confidential and not for public knowledge.

It’s a secret organization we Sacramento real estate agents are required to belong to if we want to conduct business, and we’re not entitled to know what goes on. MetroList would like you to know, though, that the deal it got “beats all other deals in the long run.” Even though many other MLS systems in the country negotiated a 1-for-1 exchange. We are instead offered a 2-for-1 exchange and we should be grateful, sighs MetroList.

In case you don’t know, when an agent exchanges her 2 lockboxes for one lockbox, that lockbox is considered a leased asset. The way this information was initially presented was confusing, and it made it sound like the agent might be responsible for the lease payment, but actually it is MetroList that will pay on the lease. Through 2020. It claims that all other MLS’s are in the same boat on the SUPRA lockbox exchange program in that they are all leased lockboxes. The agents don’t own them when exchanged. The difference between those MLS’s and our MetroList, claims MetroList, is our MetroList told us we don’t own the lockboxes.

Was that disclosure by mistake or on purpose? It doesn’t matter. We can complain all we want, and march up and down in front of MetroList offices at 1164 National Drive carting picket signs that read: MetroList Lockbox Ripoff! 2-for-1 Unfair to Agents! Highway Robbery MetroList! and it won’t do anything except get you on television. And people say that Elizabeth is a bad influence.

The situation is we real estate agents are unhappy about it, we’re losing half of our lockbox inventory, and according to MetroList it’s better than it could have been, and when you think about it, it’s probably all SUPRA’s fault.

On the other hand, here are some tips for exchanging your lockboxes at the MetroList iBox exchange:

For starters, they are heavy. I own roughly 70 lockboxes. With a torn rotator cuff, I can’t carry them. But my team member Josh Amolsch is kind enough to offer his assistance and transportation. At first, I considered using my red Radio Flyer wagon, but then I came up with a better idea. Rolling luggage! Pack those suckers as tightly as possible and I might be able to fit them into several Victorinox dual caster rollers. Those things are built like steel. I have a feeling Building C is a long ways from the parking lot at Cal Expo.

Second, MetroList printed material says we should expect to wait 90 minutes to exchange 10 lockboxes. I suspect that’s because there is a separate lease agreement for each lockbox, but they don’t really say. But it does make me suspect that it could take all day to exchange my lockboxes, so I have swapped my appointment time with another agent, which means I can be at CalExpo early in the morning on another day. I guess I should pack lunches and drinks. I wonder, can you bring in bourbon into Cal Expo or do you have to buy it there?

Third, there will be two days my home sellers might have no lockboxes. Because I will need to divvy up the south part of the Sacramento Valley from the north to efficiently collect all of my lockboxes; but don’t fret, I will note MLS showing instructions. I probably own enough contractor’s boxes to install those on my active listings for showing in the interim. The best idea I’ve come up with so far is to label envelopes with each address, insert keys and seal the envelope for replacement storage until I get my new Supra iBoxes.

There is always the option during the MetroList iBox exchange to leave keys for pending listings in my office for pick up at closing, and I imagine many agents will select that alternative, which will be an inconvenience for many of us. But the way I look at it is we probably won’t have to go through this again until at least 2020 when the lease is paid off by MetroList. Then again, that didn’t stop me from upgrading to the iPhone 6. Just sayin’.

Update: In a surprising turn of events, MetroList just announced agents will not be required to exchange their lockboxes, and we can continue to use our existing lockboxes until the boxes, themselves, no longer work.

You can read more about the actual lockbox exchange itself at Cal Expo in this next blog, the Upside and Downside to the MetroList iBox Exchange at Cal Expo.

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