Key Lockboxes in Real Estate: Everything You Need to Know

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By Clever Real Estate Updated October 21, 2021


Home sellers sometimes have to allow a buyer's agent into their property when they are not available. That's where lockboxes come in. But how safe are key lockboxes? Here's what you need to know.

Key Lockboxes in Real Estate: Everything You Need to Know

If you're selling your home, there are countless things about real estate transactions you've never thought about. One of these is a device you've seen and may even have wondered about when passing homes or condominiums are for sale. That funny-looking lock with big combination buttons on it is a lockbox.

Lockboxes are sometimes necessary when selling your home. It's a small combination box that has the home's keys inside. The box hangs outside the property with a security lock. That allows buyers' agents to enter the home with their client or their agent is not there.

Lockboxes can create anxiety for home sellers. No one wants to have strangers entering their home at whim. Lockboxes can be an invaluable tool when selling your home. Even more concerning is they contain keys to your property and you don't want just anyone to have access to them.

Here's more on what you need to know if you're wondering if key lockboxes are safe.

How do lockboxes work?

Learn more about lockboxes with a Clever Partner Agent.

What Are Lockboxes?

Real estate agent lockboxes have been around for decades. In fact, they're a staple of the industry. They are coded boxes that give agents and others access to a home's keys. Only agents and authorized people are given the code or combination to the lockbox.

Traditional lockboxes are typically placed on the doorknob of a home. They could also be found to the side on a railing or other fixture that is a part of the property. Some lockboxes use keypads, while others use an external device that is provided to agents. This also has a combination that must be entered into the lockbox.

What Are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Lockboxes?

The big advantage of a lockbox is it allows a buyer and their client to view your home if you or your agent are not available for showings.

This saves a lot of time. If there is not a lockbox, the buyer's agent must go to the listing office to pick up the keys. It also provides the seller the advantage of moving or being at a different location during the sales process.

How Do They Work and Are They Safe?

Lockboxes are safe. They have been used for decades, and if you work with a professional real estate agent, they will ensure than only other trustworthy professionals have access to your home's keys. The reason that lockboxes are so widely used is they provide safety and convenience.

There are, however, some drawbacks to lockboxes that sellers should know. As with any security device, they do not guarantee complete safety. Sometimes unauthorized people gain access to keys. But these instances are rare. Lockboxes are used thousands of times a day in the real estate industry without major problems.

Older lockboxes were also known to rust, and that made it difficult to retrieve the keys. They can cause confusion in condominiums where many units may be for sale, each with its own lockbox. Your agent should ensure that you lockbox is properly labelled.

Types of Lockboxes and Their Cost?

There are two main types of lockboxes real estate agents use. But all lockboxes are opened with a code or combination. Which lockbox your agent will use depends on the agency they work with.

A basic lockbox will have either a spin-dial combination lock or a push button lock. The display or buttons can be numbers or letters. Electronic lockboxes are often Bluetooth-enabled. This allows them to connect to an app that the agents access.

They will then put in their personal code to open the lockbox. This gives sellers and their agents access to specific information, such as which agent has shown your home and how many times it has been viewed.

Some realtors use what's called an iBox. These lockboxes don't use a key, but instead they use infrared technology. Their release mechanism is triggered by an electronic key pointed at the lockbox. Sometimes they can open with a smartphone. The lockbox's sensor reads the information and, if accurate, it releases the bottom of the lockbox to allow access to the keys.

What Do Lockboxes Cost?

In most cases, your realtor will take care of all issues surrounding lockboxes, including their purchase/rental. Lockboxes vary in costs depending on what type of device it is. A Bluetooth box can cost more than $200 depending on the make and model of the device. The advantage of these electronic lockboxes is that you can remove and add access with ease.

A more traditional punch button realtor lockbox can cost under $50. Even for that price, they are sturdy and secure. They also provide enough room should you need to include a fob or other materials in your lockbox.

Let Clever Sell Your Home

A Clever Partner Agent can help make home selling as easy as possible for you. They will address any security concerns you may have about all aspects of marketing your home, whether they are about lockboxes or open houses.

Clever Partner Agents are full service, so you get all the benefits of a professional realtor at a much lower cost. They partner with top-real estate agents from major companies like Keller Williams, Century 21, and RE/MAX. Our Partner Agents will guide you through the entire process so you can reap a maximum profit with minimal stress.

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