Lock Boxes

Real Estate Agent with Gulf Coast Realty Network, Inc.

Our local Real Estate Board utilizes the GE Supra Key system.  I have always been an outspoken proponent of the system and could never figure out why any agents would use the "old-fashioned" combo boxes, other than the fact that they were cheap and didn't want to spend $125 or so for the electronic versions.  For mechanical boxes, You have to call the showing reservation number for that listing agent to get the lockbox code.  Sometimes the system works good, but for nearly every showing list, there are one or two listing agents who don't answer their phones and sometimes don't respond to messages.  Go figure!

Recently, I had two of my cherished electronic boxes  "crap out" on me.  Both had recently shown 85% or higher battery, but now they are mute and dead.  Both were firmly affixed to door handles and both contained my only key for that that house.  The outcome to this issue was not pretty.  Taking a homeowners door apart to get the box is just part of the problem.  Then explaining to a smart-xxx New Yorker why I need to have another key mailed down "post haste", because there is no way to open the electronic box once it dies.  Then doing a tap dance for a Buyers Agent who just had to show one of the houses right away ( I never heard from them again after they showed the house - no feedback, no returned call, no business card on the counter, no thank you, nothing - topic for another rant!).  Then getting the news from the board that all warranties were void after 365 days and furthermore, there is no repair procedure.  When it's dead, it's dead.

So, folks, I have recently gotten acquainted with Home Depot's counter section on lock boxes.  Master Lock and GE sell combo boxes at HD for $29.97.  Three different models, all $29.97.  Curious, isn't it?  Well, we moved on past that little analomy and bought a half dozen of the Master Locks.  Mostly because I am mad at GE.

Well, I learned some things from this....
   1.  The Master Lock is amazingly simple to use, reset and shackle.  No phone calls necessary.
   2.  Never complain about agents who don't use the new electronic keyboxes!
   3.  Never get caught without a spare key for every house.
   4.  Re-Double my Effort to Answer every cellphone call as it come in.....to Hell with efficiency!
   5.  My website has an instructional video on making "bump keys".  I finally made one!

One good outcome.... the GE electronic boxes are very heavy and have smooth rounded edges and, of course, have that nice big shackle loop up on top.  I have found that they make excellent down-rigger weights for my fishing......in fact, they are superior to the expensive down-rigger balls sold at the Marine Supply store.  Not good for high speed trolling, but excellent for "bumping the bottom".  I'll be using several of them shortly up on Pickwick Lake as I drift along for big Blue Catfish in 70 to 100 feet of water. The GE Supra Box will stir up mud on the bottom and ole whiskers will follow the trail right up to the bait that follows.  So I have a good supply of good weights!  Only $125 each!  Ruefully I admit that I have spent more for less.  Like some of the Search Engine Optimizers who I hired to get my website noticed!  Or some of the signs I've had made that now decorate my garage.  So we move on and make Silk Purses out of Sow's Ears!

Another good outcome...I  have now made a complete set of bump keys which will get me into any of my listed homes IN AN EMERGENCY.  There are really only two, maybe three, types of key in common use, so that was a pretty simple project that I can add to as necessary.

Business seems to be picking up.  Maybe I'll need another half dozen lock boxes soon!

James R. Gibson, Realtor, MBA, E-Pro

Sellstate Advantage Realty Network, Inc.

Cell:        239-823-3469

Mailto:     Jim@JimGibson.BIZ

Web:       www.JimGibson.BIZ    (see the tab on Home Security)



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George Wilson
Raleigh Cary Realty - Raleigh, NC
Raleigh Cary Realty 919 439 0965

Hi James, We are suppost to be technologically advanced here in the Research Triangle of North Carolina but still no electric box.  I never thought about batteries and them dying on you.  So are you through using the electric box or just the GE version?

Aug 13, 2008 08:43 AM #1
Eric Reid
Renaissance Realty Group of Keller Williams Atlanta Partners - Lawrenceville, GA

I hate the combo boxs for security reason.. once that number is out there it is out . I had a buyer say .. oh I know the combo the other agent gave it to me. The buyer had been coming and going as she needed an no one know about it . Guess if she had wanted she could have had a free refrig, some copper pipes a water heater... you name it

Aug 13, 2008 08:44 AM #2
Brandon Weber
Weber Property Group - Sacramento, CA

Funny.  In our market, if you want to list a house with the local MLS, you have to use the Supra boxes.  No choice, here.  I do like to keep a lockbox of my own on the house with a spare key, however.

Aug 13, 2008 08:45 AM #3
Lyn Sims
RE/MAX Suburban - Schaumburg, IL
Schaumburg IL Real Estate

Jim, we recently switched sorta from Supra to Sentrilock and it's mass confusion.  I know that I looked on the internet for the Master Locks and they came in around $22.00 or so with shipping.  The HD and Lowe's have been sold out for months.  Lowe's even has a 3 pack for $59.00 I am told but they are not in stock around here since the change over.  FYI.

Aug 13, 2008 09:31 AM #4
Cape Coral Florida Golf Course and Waterfront Homes
Gulf Coast Realty Network, Inc. - Cape Coral, FL

1.  I'm totally over the Supra thing, except for occupied dwellings.  Since REOs came on the scene, many agents have gone to mechanical boxes just because of the sheer number of boxes required for REO listings.  Now I'm on their side.
2.  The codes can be changed on the mechanical boxes.  Many of the REO agents here change codes weekly.
3.  I don't think an MLS can force you to use the Supra box.  They may try, but I don't think it would fly if challenged.  Maybe an attorney would weigh in on that issue?
4. I was expecting someone to throw pie in my face over the bump keys.  Are all the "professional" agents watching the olympics?
Thanks for all the comments.  God Bless!

Aug 13, 2008 12:35 PM #5
Sweet Viscape
Arlington, VA

Great info, Jim.  Thanks for being the guinea pig on these lock boxes.  We really appreciate the work.

Thanks for the blog,



List your properties for FREE

Aug 22, 2008 10:37 AM #6
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