Realtors cutting corners with cheap lock-boxes could put your family in danger

Realtors: Cheap lock-boxes make homes vulnerable

Home security is always important, but it can be even more important to take extra precautions if you're planning to sell your home.

It's a time when strangers are coming in and out, often times without much supervision.

"When you're selling your home it's already a very intrusive time," says Pavel Gomez of Ellie & Associates Realty. "Random people coming in your home, sometimes multiple times throughout the day."

Gomez warns that people do sometimes snoop, and if homes aren't properly secured, the home-selling process can also make you vulnerable to burglaries and scams.

That's why Gomez and his colleagues use special realtor-approved electronic locks during the home-selling process.

But not all realtors do, says Gomez.

Some sellers, especially unlicensed realtors, will use basic combination lockboxes to "secure" the house key, which isn't all that secure.

"We're seeing a lot more people using them just because they're cost-effective," says Gomez.

"They're quite easy to get the combo for," adds Gomez. "All you would have to do is pretend you're a real estate agent, call the number on the sign, and say, ' Hey I wanted to show your home." 

There's been several cases of this happening in the Tampa Bay Area.

Realtors are supposed to use Realtor Supbra Box (iBox) or a Sentrilock, which is owned by the National Association of Realtors. Both are electronic, and can not only control who gets in, but when and during what hours. It also prevents anyone from making a copy of the home key, or sharing the combination number to anyone who might have bad intentions. And it makes it much more difficult for someone to commit fraud.

The electronic locks cost anywhere from around $100 to $200, but that cost will be covered by the listing agent, not homeowners.

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