Saturday, February 16, 2008

Security When Selling Your Home

With home security and the safety of their families increasingly on consumer’s minds, the Georgian Triangle Real Estate Board (GTREB) is pleased to announce a new initiative that addresses these issues during the marketing and sale process for area homes, condominiums and other properties.
GTREB and its REALTOR® members have recently adopted the mandatory usage of “electronic” lockboxes on all property listings (where appropriate) posted to GTREB’s Multiple Listing Service (MLS®). The use of lockboxes has always been encouraged to our members as they facilitate a secure and convenient manner in which to control access to seller’s homes while at the same time providing for the ease of buyer showings. Unlike their mechanical counterparts electronic lockboxes offer a number of distinct advantages to sellers, buyers and REALTORS® alike.
First, the electronic lockboxes maintain a log of who has entered the property and when. GTREB members access these lockboxes via the use of a “Smart Card.” GTREB is the first real estate Board in Ontario to integrate a computer chip into their Ontario Real Estate Association photo identification cards. When inserted into the lockbox, the card and accompanying PIN number not only provides access to the key compartment, it also records onto the card’s computer chip, the access information to that property. Members must re-activate their card every 48 hours in order for it to function. During the re-activation process, information from the card’s computer chip is uploaded to a central server thus providing an electronic log of showing information pertaining to every active MLS® listing with a lockbox within the Board’s jurisdiction. GTREB members can now provide their seller clients with a printed list of all showings that have taken place indicating the date, time and REALTOR® that showed the property.
Secondly, mechanical lockboxes required that in order to maintain the security integrity of the lockbox and home, the lockbox combination needed to be changed regularly. With the electronic boxes, the Smart Card’s access code is essentially being changed every 48 hours via the re-activation of the card itself thus eliminating the need to change any combination code to a lockbox itself.
Non-GTREB members such as out-of-town REALTORS®, property appraisers, home inspectors, contractors and other parties who may be authorized to enter a property can do so via the issuance of a 1-Day code in order to access the lockbox. Again, each of these entries is logged onto the central server providing detailed reporting of who has entered the premises.
The purchase of 1,400 electronic lockboxes combined with other associated costs represents a significant capital expenditure for the Georgian Triangle Real Estate Board and its members. We view this technology as offering our seller clients, the best available form of security protecting their homes and valuables during the marketing and sale process. An increasing number of homes now contain expensive finishes, computer, home entertainment and other equipment all of which creates added exposure to theft and or vandalism which must be protected. In addition, buyers are not unduly inconvenienced with additional time spent, when the GTREB REALTOR® they are working with requires additional time picking up and returning keys to the respective listing broker’s office(s) for those properties they are showing to the client.
Lastly, GTREB members enjoy the benefits of going directly to the property listings they have made appointments to show without having to pick up and return keys to the listing broker’s office. Not only does this represent a savings in time, it offers an environmentally friendly or “green” approach to showing properties stemming from reduced vehicular travel and the associated costs. While sellers have the option of waiving the use an electronic lockbox on their property, many are hard pressed not to acknowledge the advantages this technology offers.
The use of electronic lockboxes is clearly an example where all parties to the real estate transaction benefit including the environment and is just one more way where working with a “local” GTREB REALTOR® is to a consumer’s advantage when selling or buying Georgian Triangle real estate.

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Royal LePAGE Locations North (Brokerage)

330 First Street, Collingwood, ON L9Y 1B4



Email:
rickcrouch@propertycollingwood.com



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Rick relocated to Collingwood from Toronto in 1985 through a transfer with Goodyear Canada. In 1987 Rick was recruited by a major client of Goodyear’s, managing their Canadian business based in Barrie before moving to Chicago in 1992 as Vice President of Sales & Marketing. Upon returning to Canada in 1996, Rick ran an industrial products manufacturing company in Stratford, Ontario. In 1998 Rick returned to Collingwood with his two children. Rick is a licensed real estate Broker with Royal LePAGE Locations North in Collingwood and holds his MVA designation (Market Value Appraiser-Residential). He is an active volunteer in the community serving several years on the Board of Directors with the Collingwood Chamber of Commerce as Treasurer, 6 years on the Board of Directors for the Southern Georgian Bay Association of REALTORS® of which he is the Past President (2008) and currently serves on a committee with the Ontario Real Estate Association. Rick is a diverse executive manager with extensive experience in strategic planning, manufacturing, finance, human resources and quality assurance management.