When I am meeting with Sellers to discuss listing their home for sale, they often ask (before I even have a chance to explain how showings work), how I will go about showing their home, and how other Agents will gain access. Will I meet them there with the keys? Will I be conducting all the showings? How exactly does it work, and what exactly will I be doing with that spare set of keys? Similarly, when I meet a new set of Buyer Clients at a home for a showing, they are usually keenly interested when I pull out my sentrilock access card, plug it into the lockbox, and punch in my code to retrieve the keys safely stored inside.
Every Real Estate Agent that is registered with the Thunder Bay Real Estate Board in Thunder Bay has their own chipped sentrilock card, as well as their own unique code. Almost all of the homes listed for sale in our marketplace have a lockbox affixed to their home with a set of keys securely and safely stored inside. When showing a home in Thunder Bay, we insert our chipped card into the lockbox, key in our unique code, and voila- the key compartment opens and we can proceed with our showing.
This process is great because it provides the Listing Agent with an electronic log of who has shown the property and when. This is handy to have, even though Agents are pre arranging their showings and booking appointments. We can track missed showings, and who has shown the home last. It also eliminates the need to pick up and return keys to the Listing Office, allowing for quick back to back showings, and eliminating the need to track lost or forgotten keys.
As great as the system is, it is not without challenges. There have been many times that my Buyers have been entertained as I have ‘found’ the lockbox hanging out of a tree, hanging on the back fence, or affixed to the service on the side of the house. This is particularly fun after a fresh snowfall. Now I always ask where the lockbox is located and make note of it before my showing. Another of the challenges that we often face is the challenge of the ‘frozen lockbox’. Never good when it’s -40 out and your Clients are freezing alongside you as you quickly do a battery change on the fly. I have learned to carry a spare battery or two in the winter along with an allan key. The lockboxes are battery operated, and batteries don’t tend to work well in these cold temperatures.
At the end of the day, lockbox technology is great. It provides for instant and secure access to a property for showings and inspections, and at times, a bit of comedy relief for both Agents and their Buyers.