FAQ's

When are dues billed? Annually on November 1st


Do I get a paper bill? No. Electronic invoices are available after logging in at SMAR.REALTOR and select the “My Transactions” tab. Click on “Pay Open Orders.”


How am I notified? Emails notifications are sent weekly to those with outstanding dues. If you receive an email and you think you have paid, please contact SMAR immediately at via email or 301-274-4406. Text messages are also incorporated in the notification process. To update contact information, login to SMAR.REALTOR and click on “My Information” or send an email to the Membership Director.


Does SMAR save my credit card information and automatically charge me each year for dues? No. SMAR does NOT save credit card information.


SMAR collects at least $628 in dues. Does SMAR retain all of that? No. SMAR only retains SMAR dues, which is $246 for the 2016-17 dues year. The balance is transferred to MAR (Maryland Association of REALTORS®) & NAR (National Association of REALTORS®) immediately when paid online.


Why does SMAR collect dues in November/December instead of July? It has to do with when dues are due to MAR and NAR. Yearly fees for MAR and NAR are good for November 1 – October 31 and January 1 – December 31st respectively. SMAR was one of a dwindling number of associations that billed outside of MAR and NAR’s years. This required extra billing/invoicing setup and work for each of the three types of dues collected (National, State, Local) as well as handling pro-rations which were juggled separately. Additionally, our RPAC collection’s year was always out of sync with State and National due to our collecting at the end of what MAR and NAR consider the REALTOR® year.


Are payment plans accepted? Unfortunately not. As stated above, dues to MAR & NAR are transferred immediately. As a REALTOR®, you have access to the REALTORS® Federal Credit Union which provides a Dues Savings Account. Putting aside about $55 a month is what it takes to save for your REALTOR® dues ($63 a month if you have SentriLock). $5 is what is required to open an account. Click here for more information.


Is SentriLock included in the dues bill? No. SentriLock is a separate fee and there is a separate order/invoice on your member account if you participate in SentriLock. You access it the same way you would your dues bill.


What happens if I don’t pay my dues by December 11th? A $35 late fee is added on December 12th.


What happens if I don’t pay my dues by January 8th? An additional $35 late fee is added on January 9th.


What happens if I don’t pay my dues by February 5th? REALTOR® Membership is terminated. Access to SentriLock and SMAR Forms is cut off. Once membership is terminated, there is a $200 application fee to rejoin plus all outstanding REALTOR® fees. There is also a $50 reactivation fee for SentriLock cards.

 

MREC (Maryland Real Estate Commission) Website: http://www.dllr.maryland.gov/license/mrec/

Phone #: (410) 230-6230

How do I know what I'm required to take? Visit this webpage

What if I have a DC or VA license?  Check the tab on this page for more info.

I am a broker, manager or team leader. Do I have to take any special classes to renew my license? The only class that is required for brokers, managers or team leaders is the MREC Supervision Course. It is required every two years beginning 10/1/15.  This is in addition to MREC Agency, Fair Housing, Ethics and Legislative Update.

Does/Will SMAR notify the MREC the courses I have completed? Yes. All schools in Maryland are required to electronically submit course completions to the MREC within 14 days.

Where do I go to see what classes have been reported to MREC?  Click here and log in to MREC website.

How can I find out what classes I have taken? Besides logging into MREC's Continuing Education Banking page, SMAR has records of course completions for those who have taken classes through SMAR. You may login to SMAR.REALTOR and look under the "My Professional Development Tab.

After I logged into see what classes I've taken, I see a class is missing. What should I do? You should contact the school you took the class from.

Whom/How do I renew my license? You renew with the MREC. The link to renew online can be found on their licensee assistance page.

Is there anywhere else I can take CE Classes? A list of approved Education providers can be found on the MREC’s website.

Is there a limit to how many classes I can take online or in the classroom? No. Licensees may take all 15 required online, in classroom, or a combination of both.

I am looking for online classes. Does SMAR offer those? Yes - you may choose from two different providers - The CE Shop and RECampus. Click here for more information.

I am looking for a professional assistant's course. Does SMAR offer one? Not at this time. In the past, SMAR offered this course through the National Association of REALTORS. However, this course was discontinued due to lack of interest.  Check out a list of do's and don'ts for unlicensed personal assistants here.

The Southern Maryland Association of REALTORS® was the first in the region to use the Sentrilock Lock Box service. Since our conversion from the old MULTACC service in 2006, the entire metro area has converted to the same system. The change offers significant advantages to all REALTORS® in the area.

Why pay for this expensive electronic box when combos are so much cheaper?  Security.  Combination boxes cannot track who accessed the property. Lost or stolen electronic keys can be disabled within seconds without having to replace the box.  Electronic lock boxes eliminate the temptation to re-use the same combination across many lock boxes or to publish combinations in the MLS comments.  A lost or stolen set of keys or combination list would require visiting every property with an affected box.  REALTORS® have a responsibility to provide the most secure service possible for their clients.

I’ve heard Sentrilock boxes are not weatherproof. Is this true?  Sentrilock warranties its boxes against all weather conditions with the exception of sleet and/or freezing rain and total immersion in water for extended periods. Protective covers for silver boxes further minimize an already extremely low risk of weather-related damage. The exceptions for sleet and freezing rain have more to do with damage to the keypads from owners attempting to chip away ice with sharp tools than any electronic or mechanical failure of the box. Water should not damage the box as long as it can drain away without leaving the box submerged.

I see various colors/styles of the lockboxes.  Why the difference?  As technology has changed, SentriLock has worked to improve the functionality of their boxes.  In doing so, the appearance of each generation of boxes has changed.  All boxes will work with your electronic key and no software upgrade is necessary.

Can I turn in older lockboxes for newer ones?  No. Once you buy the box, it's yours. However, it is likely that older boxes will gradually be replaced by the newer ones through normal warranty-related replacements.

Can I sell or give away my boxes?  Yes. The boxes belong to you and you may see or give them away if you like. But BEFORE you do this, please contact SMAR (Trinell Church) and coordinate the transfer of your boxes while both your card and the recipient's card are still active. It will speed the process considerably.  You may also use our online form here.

Do I need a card reader?  Yes - a card reader is used to renew your card as well as transmit data from your card to the SentriLock website.  However, you may not need to buy one depending upon your needs.  Most offices have card readers for their offices and SMAR has one for member use.  You may also renew your card by calling SentriLock support, but there is a limit to how many times you may renew over the phone to ensure the data stored on your card is eventually transmitted to the SentriLock website via a card reader.  Also, the card reader itself is not a proprietary item. Any card reader that will read the smart cards used by Sentrilock and will work with the free card utility, (there are several models) is acceptable.

I have my own card reader already built into my PC.  What else do I need?  You need to download the FREE card software utility here.

Where can I get an order form and additional information?  Just click here for an order form and here is list of some of the Sentrilock system's features.

What type of batteries do I need for the lockboxes? The silver boxes use a camera battery that amounts to two "AA" batteries joined together by a tab soldered on the top. These batteries are readily available in stores or may be purchased from SMAR. Replacement requires removing two screws using a special hex key that can also be found in local hardware stores or obtained from SMAR. The blue boxes have their batteries inside the keysafe compartment. These boxes use a pair of 2/3 size AA camera batteries which are also available in stores, online or at SMAR.

How long do the batteries last?  The batteries used by all boxes have a shelf life of 5-7 years.  However, there are other factors that can affect battery life such as weather and the type of box (new vs. a replacement box that are shipped with used batteries).

How do I know when I need to replace the batteries?  The message light on a lock box with weak batteries will light up to warn users that the box is under powered months before they fail. Sentrilock also recently released an enhancement that emails lock box owners when their box reports an underpowered battery. Also, if you release the shackle or open the key safe and notice that the motor sounds slow or labored, consider replacing the batteries as soon as possible. It's better to do it ahead of time when it hasn't reached a critical stage then wait for the box to fail on the listing.

What if the battery has already died on a blue box and I can't open it?  Use the "Power Paddle." This device is available at SMAR for checkout and is also available for purchase from Sentrilock. It provides enough power to access the box for battery replacement, shackle removal or retrieval of keys.

What do I do if my SentriCard, Card Reader or Lockbox stops working?  Contact Sentrilock support and open a ticket. You'll need that ticket to get a replacement, if needed. Support will have you follow a series of steps to see if the item is defective - please be patient with them.  If the item is defective, you'll be able to contact SMAR for a replacement unless otherwise noted.

My lockbox has to be cut off a listing.  Now what? Sometimes the issue cannot be fixed on the spot and a box must be cut. Sentrilock knows this is inconvenient and works hard to mitigate the impact. They will arrange a visit by a locksmith to cut the box. They will arrange retrieval of the keys and returning the keys to the owner with the locksmith. The locksmith will ship the cut box back to Sentrilock. All follow up is handled by Sentrilock support. All you need to do is take your ticket number to SMAR along with your updated smart card to receive a replacement box. As soon as the determination is made that the box must be cut, you may come to SMAR for your replacement box. There is no cost to you for the locksmith, the shipping or the replacement box under warranty.

Can I access boxes in Virginia? Can Virginia agents access boxes in Maryland? Can I use a Maryland issued lockbox in Virginia and vice-versa?  The Virginia associations that handle the counties closest to Maryland have converted to Sentrilock as well. The lockbox and key cards are the same, however, a little extra work is required to permit use across licensing jurisdictions. In general, Maryland-issued cards only open Maryland-issued boxes by default. You must have access to other jurisdictions activated on your keycard by the SMAR staff. We will coordinate with the appropriate association and licensing authority to verify status and notify you when access is possible. Although it can be done faster, please allow 1-2 days for this process to be completed. SMAR does not have 100% control over when these requests are acted upon, so we cannot guarantee a speedy turnaround. A similar situation exists with lockboxes. They are coded to work with cards within a certain licensing jurisdiction. A Maryland lockbox placed on a Virginia listing can only be opened by someone with a Maryland-issued card or a Virginia-issued card with Maryland access as described above. Boxes can be "told" that they are to be placed on Virginia listings so that Virginia-issued cards may open them as well. The fastest way to get this done is to call Sentrilock support before you're ready to place the box on the listing. The process takes only a few minutes, but it is best to do it before you leave for the listing rather than when you're at the property.

Do you have a suggestion for our FAQ list? Send an email to info@somdrealtors.com and let us know.