Pick up any newspaper today or read any online news feed and you are certain to come across an article on the growing activity in the real estate market. The number of listings is increasing and prices across the board are finally beginning to rise again.
To help ensure the security of a home while it is listed for sale, many agents are showing the property by appointment only rather than using real estate lock lock boxes (a device for storing keys on premises) which allows any agent to show the home at will. The practice of appointment-only showings also seems to be more common when agents are selling upscale, pricier homes. In these instances, keys for the listed home are kept at the realtor’s office in a secure key management cabinet.
The cabinet is the core of a key control and management system. Access can only be gained by pre-authorized individuals and each time a key is taken or returned, the activity is automatically recorded so that management has a record of which agent took which keys and when. Large, easy to use touch screens, optical fingerprint readers and friendly interfaces that offer step by step instructions make accessing the cabinet fast and easy so that the process of showing homes is not slowed down.
Details about each key stored in the cabinet including the owner’s name and address, contact information, showing times and any particular notes (i.e. dog on premises) are entered into the system software.
This information is often critical to effective showings and cannot be captured with traditional real estate lock boxes. With automated systems, keys are secured to a unique locking device that automatically records who accessed or returned the key and when. Keys can be returned to any location in the cabinet; if multiple cabinets are networked then keys can be returned to any of the cabinets and the system will keep track. When a key is needed for an appointment, its location can be viewed on the touch screen display.
Access information can be accessed live by the broker or generated on a regularly scheduled basis. Mobile access to the information is also possible, allowing agents to determine if a property key is available without having to come to the office.
Whether for property security or agency convenience, key control and management systems are a useful tool in a real estate market that is once again warming up. Compared to outdated real estate lock boxes, these systems enhance overall accountability, safety, and security.