Can condo rules hurt your sale?


Dear David,
Why do certain condo corporations throw up roadblocks when it comes time to sell? We bought our condo a dozen years ago. I remember the agent being late for our showing appointment because he had to drive across town and pick up the keys (other units we looked at had keys on the property). I didn’t think much of it at the time, but now that we’re ready to sell, our agent says that our strict condo rules might impact our sale. We’re not allowed to have a Realtor sign or a lock box to accommodate showings, is there anything we can do? – SHUT DOWN

DEAR SHUT DOWN: I expect to get a barrage of email after saying this, but condominium rules that prohibit real estate signs and lock boxes inhibit showing traffic, and may indeed have a detrimental effect on sales.

To be fair, these rules were established in response to a problem. No one wants to be greeted by an unattractive sea of Realtor signs as they pull into a complex, and a multitude of lock boxes clustered on the front door is just as unappealing. In some locations, owners have lobbied to “clean up” the condo by establishing rules that limit the use of real estate signs and lockboxes, or ban them altogether. These rules remove visual clutter and seem like great improvements at first glance, but when it comes time to sell, they make units less accessible to buyers and could end up costing owners a sale.

Lockboxes give licenced Realtors secure access to a property within a set time frame. When an agent is showing homes to a buyer, they’ll often plan to see a half-dozen properties or more in various neighbourhoods. Each appointment is booked for a specific window of time, and modern lock box security will deny access if the agent shows up early or late. As an agent travels from one appointment to the next, the process of picking up and dropping off keys for multiple properties from multiple brokerages is time-consuming and complex. Condominiums that prohibit lock boxes and force agents to chase down keys run the risk of being overlooked, especially when competing listings grant access by punching a code by the door. Many condominiums have found elegant solutions to the clutter problem by providing specially-designed (and attractive) lock box facilities on their properties.

I recently showed a condo that had a lock box hung on the railing of a house just a few blocks away, rather than making me pick up keys from the brokerage. It worked brilliantly. See if your agent can find an appropriate place for a lock box in the vicinity of your condo, so you’ll miss as few showings as possible. The “For Sale” sign is less critical, since most serious buyers will be working with an agent and have access to your listing on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS).

PRO TIP: If you’re a condo owner rallying for the prohibition of lock boxes and marketing signs, remember you’ll be selling your own unit someday. It’s worth pursuing an inoffensive solution to the clutter problem if possible. Today’s real estate industry operates on tight time frames and digital security. Sending agents across town to pick up keys will set your listing back 40 years, and may end up costing you a significant number of showings. #Advice #AskDavid #TheNegotiator

David is a top-selling Broker in Kitchener-Waterloo Region. He works personally with you when selling or buying your home. Call or text today for your free home evaluation! 519-577-1212.