metrolist ibox exchange

A Short Sale Home in Fair Oaks with Two Loans Closed Fast

wild chickens in sacramento and molokaiAs I drove away from my closed listing of a short sale home in Fair Oaks yesterday, I wondered why I picked up the Supra lockbox. It’s not like I can use the lockbox for anything ever again now that MetroList has rescinded its agreement to allow us to continue using our Supra lockboxes until they die. I had more than 70 lockboxes and did not exchange them all in the rip-off 2 for 1 Supra lockbox exchange because MetroList promised we could keep them. Which means now I have about 40 lockboxes rolling around in my trunk that are useless because MetroList backpedaled.

Well, I do know why I picked it up. I retrieved my lockbox because I owed it to the new buyer of that home in Fair Oaks to retrieve. Because I have a responsibility to my profession. We, Fair Oaks Realtors don’t go around leaving our personal property attached to homes in Fair Oaks, even if it’s useless to us. I wonder, though, how many agents will just leave their lockboxes? You know how some agents are.

Homeowners can thank MetroList for all those abandoned lockboxes that I predict will be happening throughout Sacramento.

The home in Fair Oaks that just closed was a short sale I had listed in MLS on May 15th. It was a Fannie Mae short sale; Seterus was the servicer for Fannie Mae, and I’ve closed hundreds of short sales since 2006, which means I have knowledge other agents do not. One of the things I know about Fannie Mae is it does not want to see any offer prior to 5 days on the market, with at least 2 of those days the weekend. Makes sense, Fannie Mae expects decent exposure on the market, no side deals. I also have an account at Fannie Mae’s portal that keeps me up-to-date on new rules and where I expedite my short sales.

We had multiple offers, too, and chose the buyer most likely to wait for approval, which is the buyer whose agent is cooperative and submits the offer the way we need it submitted for approval. You’d be amazed how many agents contest what is actually in their best interest and their client’s best interest, but what can I say?

Come August 15th, 3 months later, we had closed escrow, and there were two loans on this short sale. I also hear agents say they don’t want to deal with two loans on a short sale, probably because they’ve had bad experiences. They haven’t worked with me. I do many short sales with two loans. It’s really no big deal.

I’d say 90 days from listing to moving out of the short sale home in Fair Oaks is a fairly decent approval process. I didn’t see the buyer yesterday or I would have thanked him personally for going into escrow with us. My seller is thrilled beyond being thrilled, and extremely relieved, and that’s the most important thing to me.

P.S. Look out for those chickens in Fair Oaks.

Sacramento MetroList to Agents: We Lied, Too Bad, So Sad

3-lockboxes-sacramento-300x225Just when us Sacramento REALTORS thought it was safe again to bend over in the shower, our Mafia Sacramento MetroList proves us wrong. About 6 months after MetroList announced we were NOT required to sell our lockboxes back to MetroList at 60 bucks (or so) a pop and we could continue to use those lockboxes until the day they died, MetroList, without explanation, has reversed that decision. Wait, it gets better. Remember that shitty $60 trade-in allowance offered for the iBox Exchange? Now it’s only $20. They cut it by two thirds. But not wanting to be total assholes, apparently, MetroList will give every agent until the end of December 2015 to comply and buy new Bluetooth iBoxes, the Supra BT LE.

The way I found out was by logging into my Sacramento MetroList yesterday to read the announcement — which has since vanished from its homepage — so I thought it best to alert my fellow agents that some of us are about to get screwed even worse than last fall. If you sell 2 or 3 homes a year, this probably is not a big deal to you. But if you’re like me, a Sacramento REALTOR who moves more than 100 homes a year, it totally sucks. My Supra account reports that I personally maintain 62 lockboxes in my inventory, and 12 of those are new Bluetooth iBoxes.  This means I must sell 50 lockboxes, once worth about $5,000, for 20 cents on the dollar. Then I can replace that inventory by blowing $6,250 (*including tax for those of you doing the math) for the new Bluetooth iBoxes.

No matter how you look at it, if I want to maintain my present inventory, I’ve gotta dig into my nickel jar to find $5,000 to donate to MetroList. Not to mention drag out my red wagon to load up 50 lockboxes, and pull it along like a pack mule in 100-degree summer heat for 2 1/2 hours to reach MetroList. They should send a Rolls Royce to pick me up for the money I’m throwing at them.

What happened to the promise that we can keep our old lockboxes? I guess we’re SOL. My lockboxes still have plenty of juice left in them and should fully function at least another 4 to 5 years. They work, and when they don’t work for some reason, they can be fixed without much trouble. When a Bluetooth iBox malfunctions, you’re up a creek without a bolt cutters. I had a Bluetooth iBox die after only 20 showings. Stuck on the handrail of a home in Land Park. Just refused to operate.

I can speculate about why MetroList reversed itself without warning and without a conversation nor an explanation, but that would be pure speculation. It’s probably about the money, though. It’s always about the money. Especially when they say it’s not about the money, you can rest assured, it’s about the money.

Agents: If you don’t replace your lockboxes by December 31, MetroList will automatically fine you. Keep it up, and they’ll send you to, get this, a “tribunal hearing.” That’s a fine how do you do.

What Supra / MetroList iBoxes Won’t Tell You Until It’s Too Late

How to remove a defective MetroList iBox in Sacramento, made by Supra.

How to remove a defective MetroList iBox in Sacramento, made by Supra.

If it wasn’t bad enough that real estate agents were royally screwed last year during the famous two-for-one Supra iBox exchange — which means exactly what you think, trade in two lockboxes and get one in return — now those brand new, fancy schmancy bluetooth iBoxes are failing to function, what we call a malfunction; and the icing on top is it’s a malfunction without resolution. It’s a case of bend over and drop the soap because here in MetroList prison, they want to drive home the point hard and fast once again.

Sure, MetroList finally backed down and agreed that agents were NOT required to exchange MetroList lockboxes and we could continue to use our old infrared lockboxes. Except, many of the buyer’s agents in the field do not realize that many Sacramento listing agents did not switch to the new iBoxes. If an agent is a top producer, for example, she is not trading in dozens of perfectly good lockboxes with 75% of power remaining in the battery. Not unless she is a knucklehead. This means if a buyer’s agent trots out the door with just a Bluetooth cellphone App on his iPhone, he’s not opening many of the lockboxes in use throughout Sacramento, because those infrared lockboxes require a FOB along with the cellphone App.

No FOB, no openy lockbox.

It’s that simple. I would not say, though, that this is the #MetroListMess that is happening, although it could be. Because I know agents and many of us don’t have time to understand all of the intricacies involved with new technology, we just expect it to work. Tip #1, bring your FOB, people.

The more important issues are why do the Bluetooth Supra-manufactured iBoxes malfunction and why doesn’t MetroList have a solution? We had four Sacramento real estate agents attempt to open a MetroList iBox a couple of days ago. Two of them used a cellphone app with a FOB and two agents tried using the display key. The results showed up on the SUPRA website as an attempt to open the box, but the box refused to release the key much less the shackle. In talking with other agents, I am not alone.

Warning: Not every iBox will open nowadays.

Try calling Supra today. You will be placed on hold for 30 minutes and advised to call back After Hours, presumably when they are closed. Why is that? Why are so many agents calling Supra today? I wonder if it is related to the #MetroListMess. Dunno. After I finally connected, I was advised to contact member services at the Sacramento Association of REALTORS. Wait until you hear the member service advice.

First, they make it clear they do not trust their own members by stating we must pay them a $100 refundable deposit to rent a bolt cutters. They want to make sure they get the bolt cutters back. As further proof that they do not trust us, they ask that we give them, which we have already given them, our prized possession, the reference number from Supra. With trusty bolt cutters in the hands of a person like me, for example, who just had rotator cuff surgery and is still a recovering patient, I am required to then drive back to the property where the bad lockbox resides, cut it off with the bolt cutters, which is not as easy as it sounds, and then drive to MetroList to exchange the bad lockbox for another iBox, which could be just like the last one, defective.

I wrote to SAR and offered to give them $100 to forget that I once had this leased lockbox in my possession. Because you know, in the tradition of bend over and drop the soap, MetroList will probably find a way to make Sacramento REALTORS pay for the defective product they leased to us and seem to now take zero responsibility for, especially when we don’t return it at the end of the lease because it’s still attached to a home, in dead status. Except I failed miserably to make SAR understand that I was trying to give it cash to free me from MetroList prison. Just take the money and write off the loss of this lockbox, I pleaded.

SAR responded: “The $100.00 you would give us would be a deposit for you to check out the bolt cutters from us. That covers our cost of the bolt cutters in the event you don’t return them to us. It has nothing to do with MetroList being able to forget about the your lockbox.”

I explained again that I want to give them $100 to make this go away, but it still wasn’t sinking in. SAR wrote back: “The $100 I’m referencing is only to rent our bolt cutters.”

Words, just words on a page. Floating away into space.

What about the poor seller who has the defective lockbox on her railing, and the buyer who will have to deal with it after escrow closes? I asked SAR what happens to the lockbox, and who will cut it off since it’s not me and apparently it’s not SAR. The fellow working in member services at SAR responded: “If you are not cutting off the lockbox, then it’s not being cut off.”

I called SUPRA back, even though I did not want to sit on hold for another 30 minutes while SUPRA deals with all of the other iBox issues it must be facing, but I wanted to find out first-hand how to remove the lockbox. I felt I owed it to the seller since I was receiving little assistance from SAR, and MetroList wasn’t responding either to the email I cc’d. I asked SUPRA how can they expect a little old lady, especially one who is recovering from rotator cuff surgery, to use a bolt cutters?

Where can I buy a pair of overalls and work boots? I did not realize that trade attire was required to be a member of MetroList. I’ve never worked in the trades before. I’m just a Sacramento REALTOR, for crying out loud. I did not see this clause in the fine print of our MetroList lockbox lease agreement.

SUPRA said, and I kid you not, you can’t make up this stuff: “You should find a big burly gorilla of a guy” to go over to the home in Land Park and cut off the lockbox. My jaw dropped. Is this 1970? I ask: How Is This Still a Thing, John Oliver?

Tip #2: If you have a fully functioning infrared lockbox, you should probably use it.

Tip #3: Don’t put a MetroList iBox on a listing, say, in Lincoln, when you live in Land Park.

Tip #4: If you are a hoodlum looking for a way to swipe lockboxes, you still can’t get the key out even after you cut off the lockbox. But give me a jingle because this Sacramento REALTOR could use your services.

FOLLOWUP 3/1/15: MetroList, bless their hearts, has come to my rescue and will deal with the lockbox on the home in Land Park and has directed SAR to give me a replacement!

Upside and Downside to the MetroList iBox Exchange at Cal Expo

Real Estate Document On Realtor DeskWhen my team member Josh Amolsch and I walked into Cal Expo for the MetroList iBox Exchange, a vision of a Tiffany sterling silver flask flashed quickly through my brain. I had been joking around earlier about needing to find a bar that serves bourbon to get through the iBox exchange, but those jokes proved to be unnecessary. I did not need a sterling silver flask in my bag, not that I have ever owned such an item anyway but it is now on my extravagant holiday wish list. As an emergency backup for those Sacramento short sales that haven’t yet gone away.

A sea of tables were laid out before our eyes. If I had organized the event, I would have placed table stands with alphabet letters to direct traffic, but the event was very well set up. The people at each table understand their task and only their task and were able to easily direct us to the next table. We met Q at the first table, who was not named after the Star Trek character (because I asked). His eyes grew wide when he perused my lockbox inventory on his monitor and exclaimed: You have a lot of lockboxes!

I did not exchange them all. I kept roughly 40 of them because MetroList made a last-minute decision that we could keep our lockboxes if we didn’t want to exchange them 2 for 1 (thank you, MetroList). The reasoning from MetroList for the measly 2 for 1 exchange (when the rest of the country seemed to get 1 for 1) is because if it exchanged our lockboxes 1 for 1, our monthly dues would go up by $10. That would result in $120 extra a year, more than the cost of a new lockbox. Is that really true? MetroList says it is.

Also, my 40 other lockboxes have a lot of juice left in them. More than 50%. They will last at least another 7 years, I imagine, which is when the warranty runs out on the new lockboxes. Except we don’t own the lockboxes we picked up in the 2 for 1 exchange. They are leased to us, and if we lose a lockbox or some thief, heaven forbid, saws it off the gas meter or removes the door knob with a lockbox attached and runs off, a Sacramento REALTOR will have to pay MetroList $100 each.

That’s the downside. Because of that, I probably won’t use my new lockboxes unless I absolutely have to. But the exchange went very smoothly. We were in and out in 30 minutes, and I was able to blow up and capture 3 portals for my Ingress team. I own that California Bear on Exposition. The good thing is if I lose it, I don’t have to pay a hundred bucks like I would have to do if I lost my new lockbox.

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