Lockboxes are tools used by agents of real estate to get a hold of keys of
houses and properties that are listed as available for purchase. Lockboxes exist
for the number one reason that it is an effective tool to ensure that only authorized
agents could enter inside houses that are up for selling.
Lockboxes are called as such because that is what they are. Usually, these
boxes are made out of metal and are attached to the doorknob in front of the
house or any other secure area nearby. Inside this box is another smaller sized
box. This is where the key of the house is located. This makes sure that no
unauthorized strangers could freely come inside.
However, the lockboxes that are available now are more high-tech. Current lockboxes
contain a small microprocessor and utilizes an electronic key for it to be opened.
This key would only be available if one is a member of a listing service. Each
key holds a specially marked identifier. The agent who is a member of the listing
service in their local areas are also assigned a unique and specific code that
is highly personalized.
Only they could have access to this code as they are not allowed to give it
to other listing agents.
The purpose of this is so that whoever enters, the microprocessor sort of records
or makes a log as to who went inside the house as well as what time and date.
This is an effective security tool for the homeowner. But primarily, lockboxes
are there in order to make it easier to sell a house.
In the absence of a lockbox, the seller of the house would then be required
to be present when a prospective buyer comes by along with his or her agent.
Because of the lockbox, the seller’s presence becomes voluntary and not
a requirement. Also, there is the question of security.
There may be instances wherein the seller might leave the door open after giving
buyers a tour around the house. Via the lockbox, there is no second guessing
as to who did such and such. The questions of who let the cat out or who left
the water running in the kitchen sink is no longer an issue since the identity
of the agent who comes and goes is immediately known.
This feature proved to be a relevant necessity during an instance in Kirkland,
Washington almost four years ago when a real estate professional was apprehended
following a series of burglaries from FOR-SALE residential houses that the particular
agent visited. This agent had access to lockbox keys and, fortunately or unfortunately,
this is the same tool that enabled the agent’s arrest. This system of
lockboxes enabled the arrest of Kathy Troxel, via the trail of records she left.
The pioneer in the creation of an electronic type of lockbox was made possible
by Supra Products, Inc. This was eleven years ago. Their company has its headquarters
in Salem, Oregon.
More importantly, lockboxes are great avenues for showing off property and
houses one is intent to sell. Newer features of certain lockboxes limits the
access of anyone to only a specified time, day and hours. This is in case the
seller requires privacy once in a while. More complex lockboxes have a feature
wherein agents are required to call first before showing up in front of the
house they are intent on selling.
Real estate companies in the United States are also using the most recent lockbox
from Supra. The new application makes use of a handheld device that is connected
to a larger network of information, including the most recent ones, that are
all related to real estate. This new palm-sized device is placed in a receptacle
equipped with a modem. This new mobile device enables agents to have immediate
access to updates on local real estate listings in their specific area. This
new tool also provides maps and directions for driving and a roster of members
to make it easy locating agents. This device is run by a battery made out of
lithium. This device, while placed in the receptacle, is also being charged
so there is no need to bring any back-up batteries.