Dear GMAR Member:
As you know, for several months, the GMAR Board of Directors has been examining whether to bring electronic lock boxes into our market.  This is on the heels of several years of members asking the Association to bring electronic boxes to our market, as well as those who have said we don't need them.
The Greater Milwaukee marketplace has been using combination lock boxes for approximately 40 years.  Combination boxes were seen as a step up from the previous system of keeping a large board with hooks behind the receptionist's desk in real estate offices. 
In the 1990s, electronic lock boxes came on the market.  Their function was the same, to allow access to a home without having to go through the trouble of going to the listing agent's office to get a key.  Electronic lock boxes also provided information on which agents went into a home, when they accessed it, and gave a listing agent showing information to present to their seller.
The Association has seen a growing sentiment among members toward electronic lock boxes over the last ten years, but there has been significant resistance because of the cost of electronic systems vs. the benefit they offer.  The issue of "security" has often been used as a major argument to compel those against or undecided about using electronic lock boxes.  But, the topic of security of a house, of agents, etc. has never won over a majority of agents and brokers, particularly when the cost of such systems is considered.
Part of the recent growing sentiment in favor of using electronic lock boxes is due to - and rightly so - concern about unauthorized access to a property via agents giving out combination lock box codes to potential buyers, contractors, etc.  This is a major violation of the REALTORĀ® Code of Ethics, but also illegal, opens liability questions for agents and brokers, and is embarrassing for the listing agent and broker.
Also, our society has become more accustomed to technological changes (i.e. car phones transforming into today's smart phones) and using those new technologies in our daily lives.  The information various electronic lock box systems provide is basically the same, and immediate.  Some systems notify the listing agent when the lock box is accessed.  A listing agent could actually call a showing agent while they're in the process of showing a house.
Additionally, as technological changes become more advanced, the cost usually comes down.  This has happened in the electronic lock box business.  Costs of lock box systems today are much less than when they were introduced in the early 1990s, and they offer more features and information.
Ultimately, at its meeting on November 16th, the GMAR Board of Directors decided to move forward and bring electronic lock boxes into the marketplace.  The Directors took a very long time in making their decision and weighed the opinions of all members who submitted them earlier in the year.  The factors that tipped the scale in favor of electronic lock boxes were, growing member sentiment, acceptance of technological gadgets, information offered to listing and selling agents, and current problems with illegally accessing properties.
Cost, of course, was the largest factor against electronic lock boxes.  However, the Directors felt an annual cost of, at most, $150 per member was a reasonable fee for the benefits electronic lock boxes offer.
The GMAR Executive Committee will spend the next few weeks negotiating with potential vendors to make sure the GMAR can get the best deal possible for members.  We will forward more information to you as soon as we know it.
As always, your thoughts, comments, and opinions are welcome.  Please send them to mike@gmar.ws.
Thank you,
Mike Ruzicka
GMAR President
(Sent out by Shorewest to its agents/Shared with GMAR)   
A male contacted several agents in the Shorewest South Metro office, as well as the First Weber office in Brookfield, regarding showings and the purchase of both residential and commercial properties. This person called while outside a Shorewest agent's listing and advised that he wanted to see the property, as well as another in West Milwaukee. This person stated that he has a substantial amount of money to spend, and also referenced 10-31 exchanges. He also stated that he didn't need to see several properties specifically, but wanted the Shorewest agent to write a cash offer on a commercial property. He said he was only in town a short duration, and was working as a musician while here.
The Shorewest agent provided the following synopsis of the comments/events throughout her 1.5 hour showing/tour of 3 homes:
To view comments, click here.
Co-broke agents, as a courtesy, have been known to remove the listing brokers lock box and bring it to the closing. However, co-broke agents have prematurely given the keys to the buyers, before they are actually owners. This has presented many problems, such as buyers moving in personal items early, starting renovation projects or painting walls and accessing the property without the owners or agent's knowledge.  Any of these actions could result in serious liability for the agents, especially if the property fails to close.  Additionally, do not remove keys from a lock box without permission if it's not your listing. 
The GMAR office will be closed for Thanksgiving and the Friday after (November 23-24). 
The GMAR store is closing at the end of the year and everything in the store is 20% off. Stop in and stock up!
If you have any questions, please call Alberta: 414-778-4929.
The newly established Realtor Veterans Committee, chaired by Dave Delahunt, is collecting coats, hats and gloves for homeless vets. We are working directly with the Milwaukee Homeless Veteran's Initiatives.
You can drop off used men's and women's coats, in good condition at the GMAR office. You can also drop them directly at the Homeless Vets Initiative, 6317 W. Greenfield Ave. in West Allis.  Now...go check your closets!    

Wednesday December 6th at the Hyatt Regency Hotel Downtown

The Celebration Will Include the Annual Awards For:
RealtorĀ® of the Year - Roxanne Platz, First Weber Inc.
Affiliate of the Year -   A+ Mortgage Services, Inc.
Dedicated Service Award - Laura Kruschka, RE/MAX Realty 100
And the GMAR Board of Directors Installation:
2018 GMAR Chairwoman: Vickie Kelsall, Century 21 Affiliated
Gary Swittel, RE/MAX Realty 100
Jeremy Rynders, Keller Williams
Arthur Mays, Realty Among Friends
Amy Curler, First Weber Inc.
New this year: End your evening with cocktails and conversation after dinner at the rooftop ballroom of the Hyatt with great views of the city! We will have a cash bar as well as sponsored drinks and food.


To learn more about local real estate or to become a GMAR member visit gmar.com