What Are Real Estate Lock Boxes And How to Best Manage Them
One-part security system and one-part time saver, real estate lock boxes are a handy tool to help show a property and close sales.
What is a lock box?
Real estate lock boxes are secure hollow boxes that store keys to access a house or condominium that is on the market. This box is placed at the location and as the name indicates, the box is locked and accessible most often via code. The boxes are commonly hung on doorknobs or near the entry and are often in the shape of a padlock.
The tool has been used as early as the 1950s but gained traction in the 1970s with simple key and lock options. It has evolved today to electronic boxes that include punch code, tap card and thumbprint models.
Why use a lock box?
Lock boxes are popular in the real estate industry for the convenience it affords homeowners, agents, and buyers. With a lock box installed on property, you can save time and quickly access the box to get the keys and begin the tour. For agents it eliminates the need to get the keys from the owner or stop by the listing agent’s office prior to showing the property to a prospective buyer. For homeowners, they no longer have to be home during a walk-through and can leave the keys in the lock box and go about their day. Additionally, storing the key in a lock box can increase the number of showings of a home and help speed up a sale.
Check out this handy guide on How to open a lock box here: https://www.proagentsolutions.com/how-to-open-a-lock-box/
How to manage your lock box
Lock boxes, like all tools, must be handled responsibly. There a few steps you can take to take full advantage of using one.
- Get the homeowner’s consent. It’s important to establish a level of trust between the owner and realtor. If you are the seller’s agent make sure your client understands the risks and benefits of using a lock box. The main risk to the agent is being blamed for damage to a property or a security breach like unsanctioned access by a third party. Prior to installation it’s best to draw up an agreement and include a clause that states that you as an agent will not be liable for any damages that occur to the property.
- Choose a reliable lock box. Pick a sturdy metal lock box that can withstand the elements. As much as possible avoid plastic hardware that melts or cracks easily. This is particularly important if the house is in an area with extreme or unpredictable weather.
- Change the code often. When you install a lock box at a listing be sure to change the factory settings and create a new code. Don’t publicly advertise the code and only share it with relevant agents and buyers. Change the code when the house has been sold.
- Get one with additional security features. Select a lock box that changes codes on a daily basis and only sends the daily code to the phone of the agents who plan to access the house on that day.
- Select a lock box that limits access hours. This way you can limit visits to business hours. Another tip is to link the box with software that tracks access to the house in order to track movement and showings. You can use this information to help close a sale.
- Position the lock box carefully. There have been concerns that placing a lock box in a highly visible area will entice unauthorized access to the property. It’s advisable to place the lock box near a side entrance or in a less visible area near the front door. This location should only be shared with agents who intend to show the house to prospective buyers.
- Install a security system on property. Owners might see this as an additional expense but it can also be seen as an additional feature to entice prospective buyers. Installing a security system on property will help keep the location secure and together with the lock box help you monitor the number of people that access the home.
The growth in the usage of lock boxes and the advancements in technology surrounding it are testaments to the benefits it affords realtors. If you haven’t yet, try installing one at your next listing.