Lock boxes, important tool of the real estate trade

Real Estate Broker/Owner with (831) 626-4000 CA #01772851 HI #RB-21268

Lock BoxesIn the normal scheme of real estate that is for sale, when a buyers agent calls for an appointment to view a listing of another agent, there is a lock box somewhere on the property with a key in it. This key can be accessed easily without the listing agent having to come and open the door.


Today was the day that I showed several luxury condos at Yacht Harbor Towers in Honolulu.

Setting up appointments was easy and listing agents were very helpful.

Their lock boxes, however, left something to be desired.


Their location is absolutely ingenious because I've seen them on fences, pipes etc. At Yacht Harbor Towers some major bolts had been embedded into one of the concrete posts in the parking garage right next to the security guard station.


Each bolt was numbered, and owners and agents can attach their lock box to one.

In essence, those agents who were not meeting me to open the door for me and my client, gave me a  bolt number where their lock box is attached (no unit # ) and the combination to open it. Surprisingly, there were few SentriLocks here - that's the company being used here by the Honolulu Board of Realtors.

What prompted this blog is that TWO LOCK BOXES FAILED ME.

1. The SentriLock one just would not open with my HBOR card; the agent, from afar, finally gave me a 1-day code which, after multiple tries finally opened it. And, no, it was not my card's fault, I had renewed it the night before AND tried it on one of my own lock boxes. All this took a half hour of my time; luckily I got there early otherwise I would not have looked very professional in front of my client.

2. The other one was a combo lock box that was just the wrong one. The lock box attached to that listing agent's bolt could only be opened with code NUMBERS; yet he had given me LETTERS of the alphabet. The security guard, seeing my plight, said that they had just cut off a whole bunch of old locks and kept them in a big bag. Figuring that this is probably where this lock box is, and not wanting to untangle THAT mess to find my box, I just gave up and will reschedule for another day.

So, my fellow real estate professionals, I suggest you check out your lock boxes.

And when they get OLD, replace them.


Posted by

Hella Mitschke Rothwell, Broker/Owner/REALTOR 


Let me be your independent real estate broker for oceanfront and oceanview property in California and Hawaii.  If you are a seller/owner, I will travel to your property to help get it ready for sale, then list and market it. If you are a buyer and we have a Buyers Representation Agreement in place, I will preview property on your behalf anywhere in California and Hawaii.  Please call me to discuss how I can help you.

Search Hawaii Listings on www.HellaHawaii.com

Member: Honolulu Board of REALTORS; National Association of REALTORS; Hawaii Association of REALTORS; Del Norte Association of REALTORS; California Association of REALTORS; MLSListings, Inc., the premier MLS listing service in Northern California.



Hella Mitschke Rothwell (R)

Real Estate Broker/Owner/Realtor®
Licensed in California #01772851 & Hawaii #RB-21268

Tel. 808-226-1095 or 831-626-4000 

Fax 1-877-822-9332




HAWAII OFFICE: 1128 Ala Napunani Street, #1809, Honolulu, HI 96818

 CALIFORNIA OFFICE: Su Vecino Court, Lincoln & Dolores between 5th & 6th, Carmel-by-the-Sea, CA 93921

MAILING: P.O. Box 4554, Carmel-by-the-Sea, CA 93921

Email: HellaRothwell@gmail.com

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Disclaimer: Hella Rothwell does not guarantee nor is in any way responsible for the accuracy of the information provided herein, and provides said information without warranties of any kind, either expressed or implied.


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Andrzej Niemyjski
Realty One Group - Sun City West, AZ

There is nothing worst than failed lockbox when you are with client trying to show the house

Jan 02, 2017 10:53 PM #1
Sandy Padula and Norm Padula, JD, GRI
Realty National - Carlsbad, CA
Presence, Persistence & Perseverance

Hella Mitschke Rothwell I have had that happen and it is embarrassing when it does occur. That is an excellent repository for the lockboxes.

Jan 03, 2017 03:13 AM #2
Gary L. Waters Broker Associate, Bucci Realty
Bucci Realty, Inc. - Melbourne, FL
Fifteen Years Experience in Brevard County

It is frustrating when the wrong code or lockbox location is an issue!

Jan 03, 2017 03:14 AM #3
Kat Palmiotti
Grand Lux Realty, Monroe NY, 914-419-0270, kat@thehousekat.com - Monroe, NY
The House Kat

Ugh, accessing lockboxes can be difficult and sometimes impossible. Argh.

Jan 03, 2017 04:44 AM #4
Nina Hollander
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage | Charlotte, NC - Charlotte, NC
Your Charlotte/Ballantyne/Waxhaw/Fort Mill Realtor

Have't we all been there, done that, Hella? Fortunately, it doesn't happen too often. My latest escapade was making an appointment to show a new townhome listing for which I received approval and a box code. We arrive at the home two hours later it's got a Supra on it. I called the agent, who says "oh, so sorry, forgot to update showing instuctions." No kidding...

Jan 03, 2017 05:32 AM #5
Gita Bantwal
RE/MAX Centre Realtors - Warwick, PA
REALTOR,ABR,CRS,SRES,GRI - Bucks County & Philadel

I enjoyed reading your post. Lock boxes usually fail on very cold days and also when I have driven long distance to show the house. 

Jan 03, 2017 06:23 AM #6
Joe Pryor
The Virtual Real Estate Team - Oklahoma City, OK
REALTOR® - Oklahoma Investment Properties

I am not a combo fan because of security. We use Supra because Sentrilock is not available.

Jan 03, 2017 07:47 AM #7
Belinda Spillman
Aspen Lane Real Estate Colorful Colorado - Aurora, CO
Colorado Living!

It seems so simple, yet so many listing agents fail to make access easy for us.  I feel your pain.  I love the plan this complex came up with for keeping the lockboxes organized.

Jan 03, 2017 08:17 AM #8
Kathleen Daniels
KD Realty - 408.972.1822 - San Jose, CA
San Jose Homes for Sale-Probate & Trust Specialist

Hella,  That certainly is a great system provided the agents ensure their lockbox works and all are coded correctly.  

Jan 03, 2017 10:17 AM #9
Elizabeth Weintraub Sacramento Real Estate Agent, Top 1% of Lyon Agents
Lyon Real Estate - Sacramento, CA
Put 40 years of experience to work for you

Ha! Remember that one place you tried to show me, Hella, and I took off my heels and started pounding on the lockbox with my shoe? Especially in salty ocean air and moisture, why wouldn't agents not replace those old lockboxes? Why make it impossible to open the thing? Makes no sense.

Jan 03, 2017 10:53 AM #10
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Hella Mitschke Rothwell

Hawaii & California Real Estate Broker
Ask me about listing or buying property in Hawaii & California.
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