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3 Ways Your Lockbox Can Keep You Safe

April 12 2017

lockbox realtor 2A tool that real estate agents use every day could be a powerful ally in staying safe on the job. That's great news for REALTORS®, 77 percent of whom report being always or often alone when showing a home to a new prospect, according to the WAV Group Real Estate Victimization Study.

In fact, 51 percent of REALTORS® would like more safety support from their brokerage or association—making safety the most requested support category. But did you know that one tool that your brokerage or association provides, the humble lockbox, can help you stay safer in the field? Let's take a look at how.

1. Tap Into Your Lockbox's Agent Safety Feature

Technology has changed the lockbox for the better, enabling the introduction of all kinds of new functionality. Today, REALTORS® can use their smartphone not just to open and manage their lockbox, but also to signal for help when needed.

Last October, NAR subsidiary SentriLock introduced an Agent Safety feature that alerts your emergency contacts when you're in danger. It works by setting a timer that starts upon opening a lockbox with the SentriSmart™ mobile app. After approximately 90 seconds, the app asks the agent to confirm their safety status. REALTORS® can choose to confirm their safety and reset the timer for approximately 120 seconds later, confirm their safety and turn off the prompt, or send an alert with their location, time the lockbox was accessed and the agent's phone number to their emergency contacts. If the agent doesn't respond to the alert within 120 seconds, the app automatically assumes something is wrong and sends an alert.

sentrismart Agent Safety Screen Shot 1

The feature is opt-in, which means that SentriSmart™ users need to activate this feature one time first before using it. To turn on the Agent Safety feature, go to Settings in the SentriSmart™ app to turn on the service. There, you can choose which contacts should be notified in case of emergency.

2. Monitor Access Logs and Showing Notifications

Who has been in your listing and when? To make sure the right people are accessing your listings at the right times, you can monitor activity via showing notifications and access logs.

Find out when one of your properties is being shown via showing notifications. This lockbox feature sends you a text, email or notification in the SentriSmart™ mobile app when your lockbox is opened by another REALTOR®, contractor, or anyone else. These alerts happen in real time, so you know a showing is happening—right as it's happening!

For deeper insight into who's entering your listings, keep an eye on your access logs. They'll tell you the name, company, phone number, and email address of any other REALTOR® who has shown your listing. The access log also tracks anyone using a Contractor Code or One Day Code to enter your listing.

And, bonus, besides helping you monitor the safety of your listings, access logs are a great source of insight into how many showings a property is having. Share this information with your sellers to let them know how much interest their home is generating!

3. Practice Smart Security

Here's a sobering fact: two of last year's top 10 most used passwords were '123456' and, you guessed it, 'password.' To keep your lockbox safe—and, by extension, your listings and clients—take a few common sense security measures. Not only should you protect your login credentials and passwords, you should take care to use robust passwords that can't be guessed. That means having a minimum password length of 12 characters and using a combination of letters (both upper and lower case), numbers, and special characters.

Similarly, don't ever share your lockbox key. If a contractor, appraiser, REALTOR® from another area, or anyone else without a SentriCard® needs access to your listing—don't simply give them your key! Instead, set up a Contractor Code or One Day Code. Contractor Codes are usable if 'Contractor Mode' is enabled on your lockbox. One Day Codes, as the name suggests, can be used for one designated day only, giving you more control over who accesses your listing and when. You can learn more about SentriLock One Day Codes here.

There you have it: the top three ways your lockbox can help you stay safe. Do you have any lockbox security tricks of your own? Let us know in the comments below!