Thursday, 28 May 2020

Do Real Estate Agents Really Need a Lockbox?

Written by Briana Jones Posted On Thursday, 02 April 2020 23:28
Do Real Estate Agents Really Need a Lockbox Do Real Estate Agents Really Need a Lockbox

The real estate lockbox is a convenient solution to an issue that tends to slip most agents’ minds until it arises. Lockboxes allow real estate agents to gain access to a property on sale and conduct a showing for potential buyers, even if the owner or seller of the property is not present. Technological advancements have also made these devices safer and more secure than ever, compared to the lockboxes that first gained prominence in the early 1970s.

Below, we’ll discuss what a lockbox is, as well as their vital importance in the real estate industry.

The Lockbox, Explained

A lockbox is a padlock-shaped box that holds the keys to a property that is currently on the market. They were invented in the ‘50s by a man named Delbert Williams, a real estate professional who went on to become the founder of Supra Products Inc. He wanted to address the inefficient practice of having to chase down listing keys—without them, agents could not show nor give potential buyers a tour of the property they had their eye on.

The very first real estate lockbox was a rudimentary contraption: it was just an aluminum box that contained the keys to the property, secured with a bicycle lock. While basic, the idea was a certified hit in the real estate industry. By the 1970s, agencies all over the country had adopted the use of lockboxes. Technological advancements have since allowed lockbox manufacturers to improve upon Mr. Williams’ original design. Between the ‘70s and ‘80s, bicycle locks and keys were done away with entirely in favor of combination lockboxes. Those lockboxes were replaced with electronic lockboxes in the ‘90s.

Nowadays, the use of lockboxes is so prevalent in the real estate industry that property owners looking to sell need not purchase their own. These new lockboxes make use of modern technologies such as infrared or Bluetooth, eliminating the hassle of having to remember a combination. They’re much safer, too – modern lockboxes are equipped with security features such as one-day codes and two-factor authentication, making it impossible for interlopers to access their contents via brute force. For more information on these lockboxes, go here.

Advantages of Lockboxes

Lockboxes were invented as a time-saving measure for real estate professionals, by a real estate professional. The main advantage of using a lockbox is the same today as it was nearly 70 years ago. When real estate agents spend less time tracking down the keys to a property, they have more time to move it off the market.

They can also address other minor issues. Lockboxes help prevent awkward encounters between the current owners of a property looking to sell and potential buyers. Buyers may sometimes feel as though they’re intruding when shown around a home that is still occupied. The presence of the sellers, while a showing or tour is being conducted further, heightens this discomfort. Potential buyers are able to better visualize themselves living in the property when the sellers are not underfoot. They’ll also be able to express themselves more honestly to the real estate broker conducting the showing. In short, lockboxes allow property sellers to clear the premises and take themselves out of the equation.

Another use for lockboxes is for short-term rental properties. They allow renters to check themselves into the property; hosts need not be present.

Cost of Lockboxes

Nowadays, most lockboxes are opened with a code. Basic lockboxes employ mechanical spin-dial or combination locks and are very reasonably priced. On the other hand, modern electronic lockboxes may be costlier but are equipped with more robust advanced security features. In addition to Bluetooth connectivity or infrared sensors, modern lockboxes can be equipped with rolling, one-time-use only codes, or be set to require remote authentication. Some electronic lockboxes are able to send data on when it was last used and by whom to an off-site server, offering yet another layer of security.

When choosing a modern lockbox, real estate professionals should also take note of all the accompanying costs. In addition to the lockbox unit, lockbox manufacturers sometimes charge a fee for activation and/or continued use of the proprietary software needed to operate it. They may also charge service fees to repair or refurbish units that have been damaged or destroyed.

Lockboxes keep properties for sale safe and secure by limiting access only to individuals who should have it, such as real estate agents. Professionals who use real estate lockboxes absolutely love how it’s made their jobs easier and their customers happier and more satisfied. Given its advantages and benefits, we can conclude that lockboxes are an exceedingly worthy investment that any serious real estate agent should consider making. It may seem like a heavy expense at first, but it’s one that will surely end up paying for itself.

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