I think most realtors would agree that keys are the bane of our existence. They often don’t work, they stick, they break — you name it. And nothing is more embarrassing than fiddling with a key in front of a client, or worse, finding out that we can’t open a door. But we have to be able to get into houses easily, and rather than have to have an owner wait at home to let us in, or run around town picking up and returning keys, the listing agent will most often hang up a lockbox.
These have a handle so that they can be attached to the railing outside a building or over a door knob, although they can be found hanging almost anywhere. I saw one attached to a newspaper box across from a condo building that had banned them from the premises.
Which is one of my pet peeves, actually: it is very difficult to show a unit in a condo building without a lockbox nearby. I think condo boards do their unit owners a disservice by not permitting them.
In one case, a condo superintendent gave me permission to hang my brand new lockbox on a back metal fence behind the building where there were at least a dozen others. A week later, he cut it off with a chain saw, at the direction of the condo board. The bylaws didn’t permit them, apparently. The board took the position that I had put it up at my own risk.
I was out of pocket $ 60, which really annoyed me, given that my phone number and contact info was right on the darn thing. A simple call would have taken care of the problem; I wasn’t at all happy to find my personal property destroyed without any good reason after I’d been given permission to put it there by the property manager and the owner!
There are a few different kinds of lockboxes we use; all have their pluses and minuses. The padlock style is old and the combinations don’t always work (I can never remember how many times to go past zero). The push button ones can freeze up and the keys don’t always fit well inside which can make them hard to close and sometimes impossible to open.
The coolest of the bunch is the iBox, which we can open by using a computerized key. The new ones have a light button that allows us to see them in the dark. We all have our own codes to get in and a computerized record is kept of who used it, which is great when it comes to security.
If you’re an owner and an agent has put a lockbox on your property, you can do them (and yourself) a big favour by keeping it free of ice and snow. I had a showing earlier this year where we simply couldn’t get in because the lockbox was covered with ice like a popsicle. And if you’re a condo owner, make sure you find out where it’s okay to leave a lockbox by contacting your property manager. The only thing worse for a realtor than not being able to hang a lockbox on the premises is to arrive and found out to your horror, that it’s been cut off and destroyed.
And make sure your keys work, will you? Sticky keys and doors that are hard to open don’t do a thing to sell your house.