Back in the day, before the invention of a key lock box, neighborhoods were so safe that most people never had to worry about locking their doors before going to bed at night, and your neighbor didn’t have to knock before breezing into your home either.
Of course, it was a simpler time then. Crime as we know it wasn’t an issue and neighborhoods and towns, were so small that everyone knew one another. People even trusted their real estate agent enough to leave their keys with them, knowing that their neighbors would keep an eye out for their property when they weren’t around.
A lot has changed since then, not least of which is the introduction of key lock boxes.
The lock box is quite inconspicuous in appearance and looks more like a fake rock than anything else. Most people typically attach them onto objects that are close to their house like a gate or a tree, and sometimes to the actual door handle.
A Brief History of Lockboxes
During the 1970s when lock boxes were just introduced, one needed a small silver key in order to unlock it, which is why these keys are still referred to as a “lockbox key” to this day.
After the key lock box, the contractor/combo lockboxes were introduced. Now, the difference with these is that opening them requires that you engage its manual lever while pressing the required combination in the number buttons provided on the box.
In time, the electronic lockbox took the industry by storm and were pretty much widespread all over the country by the 1990s. The great thing about the electronic lockbox is that it documents each person that it grants access to, which means that those with access codes have to enter them first and then snap the key into the appropriate spot before the lockbox releases the keys.
To reduce the need for keys, most people these days use the infrared powered blue Supra box, which is also known as an iBox. These come with a sensor that enables the person holding it to open it using a synchronized cell phone or electronic display key. The user just needs to flash their information in front of the sensor and after verifying the agent’s details, the iBox releases the keys.
See how Simple Supra iBox key lock box opens
This particular lockbox system is great for safety purposes as well because it alerts you every time someone uses it, giving you the person’s name, contact information, as well as the time during which they opened the lockbox.
Another widely popular type of electronic lockbox is one that’s manufactured by SentriLock, and a lot of agents prefer it over the blue iBox because they believe that it has additional features that you wouldn’t normally find on a Supra. For example, it has the one-day code feature which allows you to program the lockbox to temporarily let someone in, like when the seller happens to lock themselves out of the house, which is quite a common occurrence by the way. The best part is that you can do all of this remotely on the SentriLock.
How Much Do Key Lockboxes Cost?
Lockboxes are available from $15 to $50 online. Even though cheap lockboxes can work just fine, they are easier to break and combination dials can wear out very fast.
Every person has its own preferences when it comes to lockboxes and it’s hard to say why they pick the ones that they do. A good guess would be that it probably has something to do with maintaining profit margins for example for Airbnb hosts. The first thing these hosts have to do with their guest is the key exchange so it’s very important to have a smooth check-in experience in place. This way you will leave a very good impression on your guests which would love a hand delivery of the keys. A simple key exchange can have huge impact on the stay of your guests.
Is It Safe to Put Keys into a Key Lock Box?
- Restricted Hours
The great thing about good lockboxes is that you can program them to only work during business hours, which gives the homeowner a peace of mind knowing that no agent will be able to get in and take advantage of their empty house during the night when no-one’s watching.
- Periodic Placement
Certain Airbnb hosts will insist on dropping the lockbox off at an agreed location so that the guest can pick it up at a certain time instead of keeping it at the house. However, this will expose the lockbox to theft.
- Outdoor Placement
Some renters prefer to keep the lockbox in the yard of the house, perhaps by the mailbox, at the gate or the garage. However, doing so while you have a clear “for rent” sign on your front porch will surely attract the attention of thieves who will most likely find the lockbox and make use of it.
On the other hand, you have hosts who prefer to hide the lockbox “in plain sight” as it were, by keeping it right at the front door. The best part about this strategy is that it will deter most thieves who want to enter in secrecy.
Realtor Key Lock Box
A real-estate or realtor lock box as most call it, is a box that’s usually dangled on the door of a seller’s house to enable entry for real estate agents when they need to show the house to potential buyers. The box is also meant to keep the house safe during the selling process, and the device is never installed without the permission of the seller.
To ensure even better security, the lockboxes can only be opened with a swipe card, security code or a manual key, and some models come with a feature that alerts the homeowner whenever someone opens it.
Other lock box types include small lock boxes, combination lock boxes, and safe lock boxes.
How much does a Realtor Key Lock Box cost?
The average cost of a realtor lock box is about $100 without the sales tax of course, and you have to take into account the listing service’s or local realtor association’s amount, which could be more or less than the $100. Then you also have to consider the rental fee that you have to pay in order to even use the key after.
As a result, agents end up spending a small fortune just on key lock boxes alone each year, especially because you have to change them every 72 years otherwise they just won’t work right. Another thing that makes the SentriLock lockboxes so superior is the fact that they don’t just malfunction like the Supra lockboxes do.
That said, every company has its preference when it comes to a key lock box and it’s hard to say why they pick the ones that they do. A good guess would be that it probably has something to do with maintaining business allies and profit margins.
The good news is that if you go for a full-service real estate agent, then you’ll be able to get the lockbox at no extra charge, whereas cheaper agents might charge you extra for it.