A real estate lockbox can be a convenient tool when you are selling or renting out a property. Usually found hanging from the doorknob, the lockbox holds the keys to the home so that real estate professionals can show the property to potential buyers without the sellers or the seller’s real estate professional present.
Lockboxes offer sellers convenience and flexibility – but before deciding to allow your real estate professional to use a lockbox, consider the risks. Discuss the pros and cons of lockboxes with your real estate professional, and make sure that you understand and are prepared to accept the risks before agreeing. It is important that you have enough information to make a decision you’re comfortable with.
Here are some of the risks of using a lockbox:
- The lockbox may be broken into to gain access to the property, which could result in theft or damage to the property;
- An unauthorized person could use the lockbox to enter the property by gaining access to the code or breaking into the lockbox; and
- Keys may be lost or the lockbox may be improperly closed, allowing unauthorized access to the property.
Minimize the Risks
- Your real estate professional can only give the lockbox code to another licensed real estate professional, who must accompany any potential buyers viewing the property.
- Advanced technology allows for the identification of the parties who access the property, the time and duration of the visit, and automatic code changes.
- Ask for details about how frequently the code to the lockbox will be changed, and where it will be placed. Is there a safe, well-lit, secure location for the location?
- Make sure lockbox codes expire on a timely basis.
- Contact your property insurer before the lockbox is installed, to be sure that your property insurance coverage is not affected.
- If you live in a strata building, inquire with your strata council for specific rules about the use of lockboxes. Make sure that you and your real estate professional are aware of any policies or bylaws that may affect your use of a lockbox.
- If the lockbox is on a tenanted property, your real estate professional must ensure that they have the permission of the tenant to use the lockbox.
If you are not comfortable with allowing access to your property through a lockbox, let your real estate professional know that you require their presence on the property for any showings when you are not there.
Have questions about buying and selling property in BC? You can contact RECBC’s Professional Standards Advisors to learn more about the services to expect from a licensed real estate professional.