Soliciting Expired Listings: Ask Technical Terry

Soliciting Expired Listings: Ask Technical Terry

Ask Technical Terry Silhouette

Ask Technical Terry is a series RMLS™ aims to offer once a month. RMLS™ subscribers will drive the content—submit any question about RMLS™ to Technical Terry in the comments or by emailing Don’t be shy—we won’t identify you by name.

Dear Ask Technical Terry,

It seems like not a day goes by I don’t read another story about a seller who is inundated with phone calls, being solicited after their listing expired or was cancelled. In many cases it’s not just the seller receiving calls but family members! I used to farm expired listings too—in fact it was a great source of listings at one time in my career. I was the one doing the calling and interacting though—now there are services that will call about hundreds of expired listings over and over, and they’re not polite to the seller. What can we do?

Spitting Nails in Springfield

Dear Spitting Nails in Springfield,

I hear you loud and clear! I’ve read these kinds of stories too and honestly there are times I’m really embarrassed for our industry. There’s not a whole lot that can be done on the RMLS™ side if the process is being conducted by real estate licensees, and they are truly calling only expired and cancelled listings. Where the problems come in is when the seller is on the Federal Do Not Call (DNC) list. In theory, the companies that offer expired/cancelled listing mining services vet the lists against the DNC but I’ve certainly heard of sellers on the DNC that have been solicited. Where RMLS™ can provide support is if the listing is neither expired nor cancelled, or has been relisted when the seller is being solicited. Any RMLS™ listing that is considered active should never be solicited, and this includes those in withdrawn status. RMLSweb offers a search called “Actual Expireds” under the Search menu that can be used to ensure the expired listing you’re about to call has not been relisted.

Let’s clarify what the Withdrawn status means on RMLSweb. Here’s a short overview from Document #1213, Listing Status Definitions, on RMLSweb:

Withdrawn (WTH): If the owner requests it, and has signed the proper paperwork, you can withdraw a listing in the RMLS™ database.

The RMLS™ board recently formed a task force to look into possible options for addressing subscriber/client frustration with the solicitation of off-market properties. Keep an eye out for my next blog post—I hope to have more information to share about potential options for you and your seller.


Hello ATT!

This afternoon I received an email claiming that SentriLock wants us to use a different app. Is this legit?

Wary at Wallowa Lake

Hey WWL!

That email you received is legit! SentriLock is changing the name of SentriSmart™ to SentriKey™! They just recently made the big announcement and sent an email to their active users.

SentriKey™ features a new look and clearer prompts. Android users will find improved Bluetooth® connectivity.

If your device is set for automatic updates, check it out by opening the new icon on your phone. If you update manually, download the latest update.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a very important app update I need to attend to…

Ask Technical Terry

Soliciting Expired Listings: Ask Technical Terry

Open This Lockbox! Ask Technical Terry

Ask Technical Terry Silhouette

Ask Technical Terry is a series RMLS™ aims to offer once a month. RMLS™ subscribers will drive the content—submit any question about RMLS™ to Technical Terry in the comments or by emailing Don’t be shy—we won’t identify you by name.

Dear TT,

First—thank you, and thanks to RMLS™—for keeping subscribers updated with the latest in lockbox technology. In doing so though, it puts stress on us REALTORS® to make sure we have the latest phone, computer, or tablet, and sometimes that gets confusing. Take the new SentriLock Bluetooth lockboxes—while I’m sure they’re a nice piece of technology, I’ve had a few issues getting mine to open. Do you have any general troubleshooting advice you can give? Keep in mind I’m generally in front of clients when the lockbox won’t open! Darn that Murphy’s Law!

Confused in Coquille

Dear CC,

You’re spot on—the new SentriLock lockboxes are a better piece of technology overall, but they also require the user to familiarize themselves with basic Bluetooth troubleshooting tactics to avoid embarrassment in front of clients like what you’ve experienced. Here’s my advice:

  • Make sure your cell phone is running the minimum operating system for SentriLock Bluetooth support. On Android devices, this means operating 6.0.1 or higher. On Apple devices, this means iOS 8 or higher.
  • Ensure your cell phone is running the latest version of SentriSmart™: the current version for both Android and iOS is 3.7.2. You can check your version by opening the app, selecting “Settings,” then scrolling down to “Version.”
  • Check that Bluetooth is turned on in the phone you’re using! This may sound simple, but the RMLS™ Help Desk has had calls from more than one subscriber whose Bluetooth radio was not turned on in their cell phone. Most phones provide access to a settings menu to control various aspects of your cell phone. You should find the on/off switch for Bluetooth in this area of your phone.
  • Make sure the Bluetooth radio is on in the lockbox! Remember that you need to press the ENT button on the face of the lockbox (shown below) in order to switch the lockbox’s Bluetooth radio on.
SentriLock Bluetooth with ENT Highlighted
  • Turn off the Bluetooth radio on your phone for five seconds, then turn it back on again.
  • Close other apps that may be running on your phone. Depending on the type of phone (Android or iPhone) the process for closing running apps will vary.
  • Reboot your cell phone. When was the last time you restarted your cell phone? Much like a computer, rebooting the phone can make a world of difference.
  • Make sure the lockbox you’re attempting to open via Bluetooth is indeed a Bluetooth lockbox! The older NXT lockbox (shown below) looks the same as a Bluetooth lockbox with one exception: Bluetooth lockboxes have a white front, not a blue front. [We really do want to see all the older NXT lockboxes out of the marketplace—if you happen to encounter one, let us know and we’ll contact the subscriber to get it swapped out.]

In the big picture, you may need a bit more understanding about how Bluetooth works with your specific cell phone, including some routine maintenance tasks (closing apps and rebooting the phone on occasion) to make your usage of the new Bluetooth lockboxes more successful.

CC, I hope this was helpful! Don’t forget, you can always contact SentriLock at (513) 618-5800 or the RMLS™ Help Desk at (503) 872-8002 [toll free (877) 256-2139] for assistance.

Technical Terry

Dear Technical Terry,

One of my listings is a solid hour from my office—two hours round trip. Yesterday I made the trip in order to put a lockbox on the listing. Then this morning I received an email from SentriLock about updating the lockbox firmware! Do I really need to drive all the way back to do that before anyone can access the listing?

Yours in Real Estate,
Fern in Forest Grove

Dear Fern:

How frustrating it would be to get that email right after making a long trip! Rest assured, you don’t have to return to this listing before it can be shown.

Here’s the story: the Bluetooth lockboxes we received for the upgrade events last fall have the newest firmware that was available at that time. SentriLock did issue a new firmware version at the end of December, but it’s not a required update. In fact, none of the firmware updates that SentriLock has released are required! The lockboxes will still function without updates! These updates just fix issues with battery life and working with Bluetooth radios on newer phones. They are good to apply, but are not required for the lockbox to function.

If you do want to update the firmware on your Bluetooth lockboxes, there are two ways to do it. If you have easy access to the lockbox—say it’s sitting on your desk—I’d advise using SentriSmart™ as the lockbox owner or as an agent with ownership privileges (aka team members) and select the “update firmware” option under Lockbox Tools.

The second way to do it is through a passive update. Passive firmware updates happen when the box receives small pieces of the update every time a broker opens that box to show a listing. The incremental update could take 15 or more container accesses, since agents may walk away from the door while showing the property. When the update is initiated and stops prior to completion, the next agent to access the lockbox using the app will start the firmware update from where the prior connection left off. (Think of this as the torrent version of updating your lockbox.) Once again, updating this firmware manually is not required.

As you can see, firmware is nothing to fret about!

Yours at RMLS™,
Ask Technical Terry

Soliciting Expired Listings: Ask Technical Terry

Stumped by Single Key, Found Some NXTs: Ask Technical Terry

Ask Technical Terry is a series RMLS™ aims to offer once a month. RMLS™ subscribers will drive the content—submit any question about RMLS™ to Technical Terry in the comments or by emailing Don’t be shy—we won’t identify you by name.

Dear Technical Terry:

I am loving the new Bluetooth lockboxes! The conversion ran smooth as silk and I’ve had no issues whatsoever with accessing the new boxes. I do, however, have some concern about the new “single key” policy that allows me to use ONLY SentriSmart™ OR my SentriCard® each day. What is the rationale for that policy?

Concerned in Coquille

Hello CC:

I’m glad to hear your SentriLock conversion experience went smoothly—they really are a fantastic company to work with!

About single key: the RMLS™ board had become very concerned about the amount of SentriLock key access violations being reported and discussed on social media. These reports are not unique to our market, so SentriLock had been working on the single key concept to tighten up lockbox access misuse for some time. One of the key events that lead to the board deciding to move to single key was the report of a RMLS™ subscriber updating their SentriCard® then giving it to their assistant to use while the subscriber used SentriSmart™ for the day. Clearly a violation of the RMLS™ Rules and Regulations!

Here’s what you need to know about the single key process:

  • Once SentriSmart™ is opened on your cell phone, that becomes your key for the day.
  • SentriSmart™ provides you with a complete set of lockbox management tools, so it is the preferred method for accessing the SentriLock system.
  • If SentriSmart™ is your preferred method for using SentriLock, do not keep your SentriCard® in the desktop reader or RAD. The SentriCard may update overnight, leaving you unable to use SentriSmart™ the remainder of that day.
  • Keeping your SentriCard® in your wallet or bag is highly recommended—it can become your key for the day either if SentriSmart™ or your phone stop working.
  • If SentriSmart™ or your phone stop working after the app has been opened for the day, you can still get an update code from SentriLock for your SentriCard® and use it for the rest of the day. Just contact SentriLock using the phone number on the back of your SentriCard®.
  • Keep in mind that if you update your SentriCard® after 4:00 PM Pacific, it will be your designated key for the following day as well.

The bottom line is that the single key concept was implemented to provide additional security and tighten up the potential for misuse of the SentriLock system by unauthorized users. All you really need to remember is to open the app on your phone prior to going out to show properties for the day AND keep your SentriCard® on hand just in case as a backup.

Technical Terry

Dear Technical Terry,

Oh NO! This weekend I was KonMari-ing my garage, and I found four more NXT lockboxes! (Let me tell you, these things do not spark joy.) Can I still turn them in for Bluetooth lockboxes? What are my options here?

Decluttering in Damascus

Dear DD:

Great question, and just in time! Once you thank those lockboxes for their service to your real estate business, head to your local RMLS™ office with them. We can still upgrade NXT lockboxes to the newer Bluetooth model—at no cost to you—before Friday, February 1st. Hurry in, you don’t have much time left!

Technical Terry

Soliciting Expired Listings: Ask Technical Terry

Lockbox Woes, Listing Load Refresh: Ask Technical Terry

Ask Technical Terry is a series RMLS™ aims to offer once a month. RMLS™ subscribers will drive the content—submit any question about RMLS™ to Technical Terry in the comments or by emailing Don’t be shy—we won’t identify you by name.

Dear TT:

I’m curious why RMLS™ is changing its lockboxes. I have had great success with the current lockbox and can’t imagine the newer version has enough new features that it’s worth the hassle of a conversion. Can you convince me it’s worth all the trouble?

Frustrated in Fairview

Dear FF:

I totally understand the short-term disruption presented by changing out your lockboxes. While the lockbox companies are quite skilled in organizing their events to minimize disruption it is still a hassle for you, and for that I apologize.

The RMLS™ Board of Directors thought long and hard when the opportunity to upgrade became an option with the release of the SentriLock Bluetooth lockboxes. The decision is difficult in general terms because most of the board members actively sell real estate—just like you. They fully realize the disruption conversion events create. That taken into account, they agreed that the benefits of the Bluetooth lockbox were significant enough to embark on the conversion.

Here are just a few of the benefits the new Bluetooth lockbox provides to subscribers:

SentriSmart™ will have more capabilities! Here are the benefits RMLS™ is excited to bring subscribers:

  • Open the key compartment directly from the app. Currently, users must enter a mobile access code AND have cellular coverage—no cell coverage is required with the new Bluetooth lockbox!
  • Release the lockbox shackle using the app.
  • Take ownership of a lockbox through SentriSmart™.
  • Dual-licensed REALTORS® can change their lockbox region for use in Oregon or Washington right from within SentriSmart™!
  • Virtually all lockbox settings that currently require a time-consuming process of updating your SentriCard® and using it to transfer changes to the lockbox will be able to be taken care of through the SentriSmart™ app.

SentriConnect is a new app available with the RMLS™ upgrade to Bluetooth lockboxes. SentriConnect controls lockbox access by non-SentriLock users at a  much higher level than previously:

  • Listing agents may temporarily grant lockbox access for contractors, appraisers, out-of-area REALTORS®, or locked-out homeowners.
  • Greater flexibility to define the time window for this access.
  • Immediate notifications of access code use—since the access is provided via an app the notifications are much faster.

That’s just a fraction of the benefits the RMLS™ Board of Directors saw when they determined the upgrade to Bluetooth was worth the short-term disruption. If the above improvements aren’t enough to convince you, consider that you’ll be swapping out an older piece of technology with a brand new lockbox…for free.

One more thing—have you ever had to check out the “power paddle” from your local RMLS™ office, in an attempt to restore power to a dead lockbox? This process was not super easy and didn’t always work. SentriLock Bluetooth lockboxes feature a port on the outside of the lockbox that can receive a jump from a battery jumper pack (available for $15 at any RMLS™ office). The jump will open the lockbox, then the batteries inside can be used to switch out with the dead ones inside! Then just replace the batteries in the jumper pack and you’ll be ready to go whenever you have a dead lockbox again.


Hello Technical Terry:

It certainly came as a surprise when I navigated to RMLSweb in August and found the login screen and desktop page with a completely different look. At a recent office meeting I heard that RMLS™ is working on giving Listing Load a treatment next. What can you tell me about that?

Curious in Clatskanie

Hello Curious:

It’s true! RMLS™ does have a refreshed version of Listing Load in the works. Don’t get too antsy though—RMLS™ is taking the time to get plenty of input from different stakeholders and users to make sure details can be worked out before it goes live. We did a similar process in advance of the login screen/desktop page refresh, but we’ve got an additional resource this time around.

What additional resource is that? It’s our new RMLS™ Product Manager Beth Raimer! Beth has been studying subscriber comments, talking with RMLS™ subscribers, and holding focus groups around the RMLS™ region. If you’d like to participate in one of Beth’s focus groups in the upcoming weeks, contact her via email. Multiple listing services are all about cooperation between participating REALTORS®, so your input will be most welcome as we seek to make the RMLSweb of the future the best it can be for our very diverse subscribership.

Soliciting Expired Listings: Ask Technical Terry

Eclipsing CDOM: Ask Technical Terry

Ask Technical Terry is a series RMLS™ aims to offer once a month. RMLS™ subscribers will drive the content—submit any question about RMLS™ to Technical Terry in the comments or by emailing Don’t be shy—we won’t identify you by name.

Dearest Technical Terry,

Oh em geeee! I’m atwitter thinking about the upcoming eclipse and how our SentriSmart™ app and SentriLock lockboxes won’t work during that time. I have clients that are convinced that their perfect home can only be discovered during the time of totality! What am I going to do?

Clueless in Coquille

Dearest Clueless,

Not to worry! Not only is Coquille not in the path of totality for this eclipse, but the eclipse will have ZERO bearing on your use of the SentriLock system.  SentriLock’s technology should not be impacted in any way by the solar eclipse.

Traffic, on the other hand? I’m thinking you may just want to pick another day to cruise around looking for your clients’ perfect home. But what do I know? Isn’t the customer always right?

Technical Terry


Dear TT,

I was just discussing days on market with my clients the other day and had a hard time explaining the difference between DOM and CDOM is. Can you help?

Dum DOM in Damascus


Of course I can help! Days on market, or DOM, is a standard industry term used to describe the number of days between list date and the off-market date. When you have a listing that simply goes from a single list date to a single off-market date (let’s say in 50 days for an example) the calculation is quite simple. In this example, DOM and CDOM would both be 50 days.

It’s when you have a property that you list for sale, then cancel it, then relist it with a new MLS number that the calculations get a bit trickier.

Picture this: you list a home and after 30 days you haven’t received any offers and the seller wants to do some repairs. You cancel the original listing and then relist once the repairs are done. The second listing gets a new MLS number. When the gap between your cancellation of the first listing and the relisting date is fewer than 31 days, any off-market gap will not be counted in the CDOM calculation.

So if the first listing had 30 days of market time, the time when the listing was off-market for repairs was seven days then the new listing sold/closed in 21 days, the CDOM would be 51 days. This scenario is called linear relisting.

A final scenario is when you have a listing for sale and cancel it to get a new MLS number with NO gap between the cancellation of the first and second listings. In this case, CDOM would reflect the number of days the property was on the market from the original list date of the first listing through the off-market date of the second listing. This is called an overlapping relisting.


Does that help? RMLS™ also offers Document #1742, How CDOM is Calculated, if you want to read further.