Frequently Asked Questions

FAQ-SellersAbout Lockboxes

Am I required to use a key lockbox?
It is completely optional but highly recommended for any MLS listing. Any MLS listing in the MLS, no matter what company listed it, will see fewer showings without a lockbox. Agents are reluctant to show homes without lockbox access because they know that no lockbox makes it much more difficult to persuade the buyer to buy the home.

What is the advantage of using a key lockbox?
The key lockbox enables the environment most likely to result in an offer; the buyer and their agent walking through the property undistracted and unhurried. The buyers don’t feel like they are imposing upon the seller’s time. They can freely talk about what they like and dislike with their spouse/friend and agent. The agent can respond to that feedback without fear of offending the seller or starting an argument. The buyer is comfortable, doesn’t feel like someone is waiting to get their house back, and can freely imagine living in the home. They haven’t been distracted by meeting a stranger, wondering if they should make small talk with the seller, or been bowled over with a sales pitch from a stranger(the seller). The agent can focus on selling the home.

Can agents show my home any time they want if I use a key lockbox?
No. You still must individually approve each showing. If you prefer that agents be able to show the home without contacting you we let the agents know that as well.

How do agents gain access to the key lockbox?
Each agent has their own secure password protected electronic key to gain safe access to the key inside the lockbox. These industry procedures for using a key lockbox have been in place for 30+ years. These procedures are time-tested and are the reason that problems with key lockboxes are virtually unheard of.

What if I will be home during the showing anyway because I have children, pets, etc?
The home is more likely to sell if you are not there. If the buyer sees you, even as you are leaving, they instinctively hurry through the home. There is nothing you can do or say to keep them from this behavior. Take the children and/or pets for a walk, to the mall, or a park. This may seem inconvenient, but it maximizes the opportunity to get an offer. If you insist upon being there, realize that this is less than ideal. This is not advice specifically for our customers, it applies to anyone selling their home through the MLS. We suggest you have a lockbox so that if a showing happens to be requested when you won’t be at home, you don’t need to be there.

Why don’t other companies offer lockboxes with their MLS listings?
Some people are uncomfortable with the idea of a key lockbox until they learn the facts. Other companies don’t bother to tell home sellers how much it hurts you to not have a key lockbox. Unfortunately, their customers find out the hard way.

Are key lockboxes secure?
Yes, they are built like padlocks and are extremely tough. They are probably stronger than your door or anything else you would attach them to.

MLS, Fees, and Commissions

What is the MLS and who owns it?
The MLS (Multiple Listing Service) is owned/controlled/operated by the local association of Realtors. This is the same MLS to which all area Realtors belong. To input listings, you must be a licensed member of the Lubbock Association of Realtors (we are). MLS members cooperate by showing and selling the homes listed by other members, for which they receive a commission for bringing the buyer to the seller. The commission amount offered to the agent who brings the buyer is always listed (required by the MLS) along with the detailed information about the home and picture(s).

The MLS is the primary tool agents use to find a property when they have a buyer. Over 80% of buyers use agents to help them find properties (especially the most motivated buyers: relocations, preapproved, etc.). For most agents, the MLS is the tool used everyday to find a home for their buyers (for many agents, it is the only tool they use to find homes). The MLS is not available to the public, only MLS members can view the MLS listings. In recent years, most MLS systems have distributed some listing information to websites like Realtor.com and allowed MLS members to show some listing information on their own websites.

Our service enables you to get the best of both worlds: get MLS exposure to buyers and pay a commission only if you accept an offer from a buyer involved with an agent. Sell the house yourself if you choose, and PAY NO BUYER AGENT COMMISSION. You have the freedom to do as you please.

What telephone number will be on my MLS listing?
All buyers and agents with buyers would be instructed to contact us directly, leaving you the time to do what you need to do in your everyday life.

Will agents with buyers boycott my listing because I am saving so much money?
No. Agents want to find a home that meets their buyers needs as quickly as possible, as long as they get paid a competitive commission for bringing the buyer. It is extremely rare that an agent would refuse to show a home that pays them a competitive commission and meets their buyers needs. There may be a very small number of agents that violate the Code of Ethics and Federal law prohibiting a boycott, but it is also rare. The MLS listing DOES NOT TELL THEM HOW MUCH YOU ARE PAYING TO LIST YOUR HOME, only what you are offering to pay the agent who brings the buyer, so the agent won’t know how much you are saving!

It is common for an agent who hopes to list your home themselves to say that agents won’t show your home to their buyers. While making this statement violates Federal Law and the Realtor Code of Ethics, realize that this is an attempt to list your home because the agent doesn’t have a good reason why you should pay their higher price.

In addition, the local, State, and National Associations actively police agents who make these comments. Email us for a link to a recent article written by a Realtor Association Attorney that states:

“Two or more firms should never agree to refuse to deal with or cooperate on less favorable terms with another competitor (usually a discount broker) or attempt to drive such competitor out of business. Boycotts such as these are illegal. Nothing can be done to intimidate “discounters” so that they will abandon their alternative marketing strategies. You should never indicate that other brokers would not do business with the discount firm.”

What about commissions?
Agents have the buyers and will work hard to earn a commission. Almost 90% of all transactions involve agents. 70% to 90% of the transactions involve a “Buyer’s Agent”; therefore, it’s of little importance who lists your property. To encourage any agent to bring you a buyer, you should offer no less than a 3% commission to the buyer’s agent. The seller customarily pays the commission even if the agent represents the buyer and not the seller. When you list your property with Lubbock Discount Realty, there is no “listing” commission. The commission that you agree to pay in the listing agreement is paid to the agent who produces a contract on which you close, and is the amount of the commission offered in the MLS.

What if I sell the house by myself?
If you find your own buyer, NO COMMISSION IS DUE! It’s your property. If you want to advertise the property elsewhere, or want your own “For Sale By Owner” signs, there are no restrictions, although we think it is ill advised to place a “For Sale By Owner” sign at the property next to another sign. Call the office for further explanation. Again, if there is no agent involved, there is NO COMMISSION DUE!

Other Questions

How do I know if the buyer will get approved for a mortgage?
We here at Lubbock Discount Realty have financing available through our partner Mortgage Companies. Of course buyers can get financing anywhere they wish. Today, most buyers get preapproved for a mortgage before they begin to look at homes, especially buyers that work with agents who often make that a requirement before homes are viewed. The buyer should present a preapproval letter on the letterhead of a mortgage lender and signed by a loan officer.

Requiring a pre-approval letter keeps you as the seller from having to determine whether the buyer will qualify for a loan and makes the process much simpler.

What is title insurance?
Title insurance protects the named insured against loss because of defects, liens, encumbrances, adverse claims or other matters not shown or disclosed to the new owner that attach before date of policy.

What is a wood-destroying organism inspection report?
A wood-destroying organism inspection report is a written opinion by a qualified state licensed structural pest control inspector based upon what was visible and evident at the time of inspection. The inspection report does not in any way represent or guarantee the structure to be free from wood-destroying organisms or their damage, nor does it represent or guarantee that the total damage or infestation is limited to that disclosed in the report. Wood-destroying organisms include subterranean termites, dampwood termites, carpenter ants, wood boring beetles and wood decay fungus.

What are the hazards of lead-based paint?
All buyers and sellers are required by law to receive and read a pamphlet outlining the hazards of lead-based paint for homes built before 1978. Be sure to ask your real estate agent for a copy.

What are closing costs?
Closing costs are an accumulation of charges paid to different entities associated with the buying and selling of real estate. For sellers, they are usually about 1% – 2% of the total sales price of a property(not including real estate commissions). Some of the closing costs you might encounter are: escrow fee, documentation fee, homeowners’ association fees, pest/rot inspection, and title insurance premium.

What is the difference between “pre-qualified” and “pre-approved”?
If a buyer is “pre-qualified” it has been determined, with a loan officer, what price the buyer can afford based on the down payment, debts and the amount the mortgage company will approve for the mortgage. Being “pre-qualified” is only a determination of probable credit. If “pre-approved”, credit, employment and funds have been approved by the lender.

What should a home inspection include?
Every inspection should include, but not be limited to, an evaluation of the following:

  • Foundations
  • Roof
  • Heating and air conditioning systems
  • Ventilation
  • Common areas (for condominiums)
  • Septic tanks, wells or sewer lines*
  • Insulation
  • Plumbing and electrical systems
  • Ceiling, walls and floors
  • Doors
  • Hazardous materials concerns*

* There may be an additional fee for this.

What property details are usually included by Listing Services?
Usually, properties listed will include the following details:

  • Location
  • Photograph
  • Price
  • Utilities
  • Amenities
  • Annual property tax
  • Current financing (when assumable)
  • Listing company

What pages are generally included in the Purchase and Sales Agreement?

  • Agency Disclosure
  • Financing Addendum/Clause
  • Earnest Money Receipt
  • Inspection/Clause
  • Conditions/Disclosures Addendum
  • Contingency
  • Addendum Outlining Special Conditions
  • Lead-Base Paint Notification
  • Property Disclosure Form (completed by Sellers)

What is the difference between a REALTOR® & Real Estate Agent?
REALTOR® identifies real estate professionals who are members of the National Association of REALTORS® and subscribe to its strict Code of Ethics. Not every real estate agent is a REALTOR®. A REALTOR® may be an appraiser, property manager or involved in some other aspect of the real estate business.

Have Another Question? Need More Help?

Please fill out the form below and one of our Realtors will contact you. Need an immediate response? Please call our office directly at (806) 577-4677.