Hawaii Randy's Real Estate Opinions: Are You Really a REALTOR®?

Are You Really a REALTOR®?

Toward the end of last year the Honolulu Board of REALTORS® brought in electronic lock boxes.  The Sentrilock® boxes have brought in a much needed improvement over the old mechanical boxes.  We can now monitor who and when they enter our listings.  It also allows us to create dedicated 1-day codes for venders and agents who have not set up their smart card.  I could go on for another paragraph touting the merits of the program.

What is quite disturbing is the number of real estate agents who have not activated their smart cards and those who are not using the boxes on their listings. 

Sunday evening I was out at dinner and received calls from three different agents wanting to show my listings in the morning.  I had nearly identical conversations with all three of them. 

Call From Agent 1:

  • Me: No problem it has an electronic lock box on the front door, consider it confirmed.  Please drop a business card on the counter to confirm you were there. 
  • Agent 1: I do not have a smart card.  Can I get a 1-day code? 
  • Me: You do not have a smart card?  The Board of REALTORS® issued them to all agents.  Are you really a REALTOR®? 
  • Agent 1: Yes I am a REALTOR®.  I have decided not to use them.
  • Me: How are you doing business without the card?  It also serves as your ID.  I apologize, but I am not near a computer and will not be able to generate a 1-day code at this time.  If you send me an e-mail, I can forward the codes later tonight or first thing in the morning.

The story gets better.  Of the three agents who called, two of them did not have e-mail.  I than suggested they call my office in the morning for help.

Three real estate agents, none using electronic lock boxes.  Two of the three do not have access to e-mail.   Can you imagine being on the other side of a transaction with one of them?

  1. No e-mail.  Phone and hard to read faxes. (oops I am assuming they have a fax)
    1. One of the beauties of e-mail is the paper trail it creates.  If I am dealing with a less than professional agent on the other side, I really would prefer hard copies of all communications in my file.
  2. With no Sentrilock® card we will need to generate 1-day codes for all accesses of the home.

If these agents do not even have the basics, we would be looking at a messy transaction. 

Buyers and sellers should check out potential agents to find out what level of services they provide.  Not all agents are the same.



Randy L. Prothero, REALTOR®

Broker-in-Charge, ABR, AHWD, CRB, CRS, e-PRO, GRI, MRP, SFR

eXp Realty

Team Leader - "The Prothero Group"

Randy Prothero is well established as an expert in working with military / VA clients and first time home buyers.  His home seller's (listing) campaign is one of the most aggressive marketing programs in the area.  His luxury home listings sell faster and for more money.

Based out of Mililani, Hawaii. Randy services the island of Oahu (Honolulu County) Performs mediations and ombudsman services for the Board of Realtors.  To improve overall professionalism in his area Randy also offers classes for real estate agents. 

www.HawaiiRandy.comOahu (Honolulu County) Property Search  Hawaii Military Relocations

Comment balloon 108 commentsRandy Prothero • July 15 2009 05:31AM


Randy, it sounds like the three agents are living in the dark ages of real estate.  No access to email?  That's just absurd in this day and age.

Posted by Jesse & Kathy Clifton, Retired (Jesse Clifton & Associates, REALTORS®) about 10 years ago

This situation was inevitable.  The more complicated and restrictive access becomes, the more agents who will opt out of the new and continue to use the old, comfortable and familiar. 

I toured a home last Saturday that had 4 different key boxes on the stoop, railing, door.  If we had one simple system and stuck with it, we could have some consistency. 

I no longer fault the agents for this mess because I'm a victim.  I carry a Supra key, a Sentrilock key, and half the homes listed and almost all of the foreclosures have a combo box. 

We are tools of GE who continue to consider us pawns for their planned obsolescence marketing profitability. 

Yes.  I am a REALTOR trying to show properties.  Since my buyers may be looking at homes in more than one county, I'm forced to play the GE/Board of Realtors' games and fight the battle for access every time I show homes for sale.  It's a colossal waste of our time and has been since the first fancy lock box was introduced into my market area in about 1993.  Some have worked, most have not and been eliminated and replaced with newer fancier and more expensive models. 

In my area where we have "board of choice" MLS and keybox access, it's necessary to abide by each and every county/board rules for access to homes for sale.  Not a good policy for selling homes. 

Posted by Lenn Harley, Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland (Lenn Harley, Homefinders.com, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate) about 10 years ago

Did that 1st agent call from a phone(rotary) booth?  LOL.

When ever I get an agent like that, I tell them I will text them the code.  That usually sends them into a tail spin..  

Posted by John Meechan about 10 years ago

In Chicagoland some areas use the Sentrilock almost exclusively and some areas are still using the archaic combo/number boxes.  I only use the Sentrilock boxes.

When showing, especially in the winter or poor weather fumbling around trying to open a combo box just adds to the merriment of unshoveled driveways and steps, especially on vacant properties.

Linda Metallo, Re/max Impact, Lockport, Illinois


Posted by Linda Metallo, Re/max Impact about 10 years ago

Our MLS is heavily leveraged into electronic boxes. Other MLS around us often run less than 50% !!!

Posted by Michael J. Perry, Lancaster, PA Relo Specialist (KW Elite ) about 10 years ago

People who refuse to move into todays time, no email, no electronic lockbox access, they are becoming dinosaurs of their time.  Its really a shame when the learning curve is easy if taken a step at a time.  I am a senior and have relatives over 70yrs of age even 80 who send email and keep up with whats going on.  I can not imagine any excuse for not moving into the 21st Century. 

Posted by South Austin Real Estate Blog (Sky Realty South Austin) about 10 years ago


I had never even heard of "one-day" access codes. Folks use their own Supra key or don't get in. On the very rare times an out-of-area agent with a different systems wants to show one of my listings, I meet them and open up the home.

On my foreclosures, the bank requires a combination lockbox so it could send someone into the property, which it owns. Once on a Saturday, I got a call from someone who had forgotten his key (that tells you something!) and wanted the combo. No way for me to verify the caller was even a real estate professional. So I looked up the number for the office, gave the broker the combo and asked him to provide it to any of his authorized agents. Within 5 minutes, Mr. Forgetful was in the home.

Other than that, around here all agent go electronic or don't get access!

Posted by Irene Kennedy Realtor® in Northwestern NJ (Weichert) about 10 years ago

No email? Today? That is a recreational agent.

I'm with Lenn on the GE pawn thought...we have over half our agents who don't use supra lockboxes, so it is very inconsistent here. It's unnecessary to be all electronic, as well as a pain if agents don't subscribe. It is too expensive for most of the agents, especially if they are carrying a boatload of listings.

Every market is different!

Posted by Dawn Maloney, 330-990-4236 Hudson & Northeastern Ohio (RE/MAX Trinity Northeast Ohio Real Estate Specialist) about 10 years ago

I could understand the agent not having email if it was a large expense but it's free! Elayna Fernandez just posted a blog on getting a gmail account. No email = no professional.

Posted by Home Loan Search.Online (Home Loan Search Online) about 10 years ago

The Toronto Real Estate Board does not use any of the electronic lockboxes ... yet ... and I haven't heard of any talk at this time.  However, one never knows if it might suddenly be implemented.  For MLS access, we must now carry around keyfobs because a number of members had been apparently providing their MLS passwords to non-members to do their own property searches.

Posted by FN LN about 10 years ago

Wow.  All we have here in our area is Supra Keys.  Everybody uses them except for foreclosed properties where they typically use code boxes, but the codes are always the same so you don't have to go around chasing codes. 

Not jumping into a new system is not an excuse to me.  If you're going to be a Realtor and your Realtor board changes something, you pretty much have to go along with it to stay in business.  Otherwise, you're kind of like an Amish guy trying to sell real estate using buggy methods in a smart car world.

Posted by Bob Haywood, BobHaywood.com (McGraw Realtors) about 10 years ago

Randi...We have had the electronic for about 4 years.  I have seen quite a drop in there use.  Not sure why.

Posted by William Feela, Realtor, Whispering Pines Realty 651-674-5999 No. (WHISPERING PINES REALTY) about 10 years ago

Interesting. I just acquired a supra key. My office does not even have electronic lockboxes on any of our listings, but there are offices in our area that do, so it behooves us to have a key. The beauty of it all? Agents can't even share keys without incurring a hefty fine.

Posted by William James Walton Sr., Greater Waterbury Real Estate (WEICHERT, REALTORS® - Briotti Group) about 10 years ago

I can see the writing on the wall already... It is possible they are new to the business and/or just getting started, so keep that in mind.  Heres one for you.  In our office we have one agent that still orders the Giant MLS book and doesn't use a computer.  Can you believe that!  You can also guess exactly how busy he is.    Great stuff to keep in mind. Thanks

Posted by Phil Bremer about 10 years ago

Hey Lenn, Great post on a topic that came up in our business meeting a couple of weeks ago and prior to that at a local board meeting. Here in suburban Philadelphia we have mainly combo lockboxes until you get to one of the "outer" counties that is mostly Supra Lockboxes. I am really surprised that there isn't more consistency with this issue but my surprise aside, I recently took a call from a "hobbyist" who wanted to show her son the house but didn't have a Supra key. She said she was a licensed assistant with so and so who only does commercial so they don't have a key in their office. I chuckled not under my breath as she asked me to meet her at the property. The answer I gave was a flat out no but added that I would gladly pay a generous referral fee and take good care of her son. She was a bit taken aback at the reply and said she would just show her son another property if that was the case; even after helping her do the math on a commission for a $595k (list price) home and showing her that it was worth the investment of $65.

Did I do my seller an injustice? I think not; after all, I haven't prequalified the buyer but if his agent was any indication, neither were serious.

Posted by Kevin Comerford (Coldwell Banker Preferred) about 10 years ago

Gosh, this makes Oklahoma City seem progressive. We have had Supra infrared boxes for years, and we can track entry by internet very easily. Electronic boxes are very important to fiduciary duty. Combos and the like do not secure a home and are easily hacked. Change is hard as i have seen years ago in having lock boxes in the first place. In 2009 this should not be a discussion, and I wish people would just see the logic, and quit being so obstinate to change.

Posted by Joe Pryor, REALTOR® - Oklahoma Investment Properties (The Virtual Real Estate Team) about 10 years ago

Randy - I do not understand how many of the agents are still in the dark ages. The idea behind a lock box is to make the home accessible.

Posted by Sharon Paxson, Newport Beach Real Estate (Compass) about 10 years ago

Randy, we switched over to Sentrilock a while back, and I gotta say, it's not exactly a love-fest.  Still, it's a tool of the trade that you have to have to do business.  Sheesh!

Posted by Patricia Kennedy, Home in the Capital (RLAH Real Estate) about 10 years ago

Hello....wake up.....it's the year 2009


Posted by Patricia Aulson, Realtor - Portsmouth NH Homes-Hampton NH Homes (BERKSHIRE HATHAWAY HOME SERVICES Verani Realty NH Real Estate ) about 10 years ago

Randy, you have good reason for concern.  If you are going to be in this business you have to do what ever it take to be able to conduct business even if it is doing things that you might not want to do.  What I can't get over is no e-mail address.  That indicates to me that they also don't have a computer, and without a computer how can you conduct business these days??????

Posted by George Souto, Your Connecticut Mortgage Expert (George Souto NMLS #65149 FHA, CHFA, VA Mortgages) about 10 years ago

Hi Randy, Nice blog.  We use the supra key mostly; however, there are quite a few combos. I like both.  Never heard of 1 day access code, or smart card here in our area.   thanks for sharing!

Posted by Ginger Moore (Wilkinson & Associates Realty) about 10 years ago

Bout time you showed up ...I was tired of covering for you lol. As always there are some 'preferences' that boards and companies don't instill into their system so there will be no consistency in our whole association/board.

I do however do not blame the agents for not buying into the Sentrilock system as at this time it is an option...not a requirement. Another thing is that it is one more expense and again, if it is not a requirement then many will not realize the significance (nor care) about the significance of an electronic lockbox.

As for emails, faxes etc. Well, they're behind times for sure.

Posted by Celeste "SALLY" Cheeseman, (RA) AHWD CRS ePRO OAHU HAWAII REAL ESTATE (Liberty Homes) about 10 years ago

Randy - yep, those are some signs of the time and folks jsut not getting with it. We use Sentilock and it is required in our county. But REOs and Shorts generally use combo boxes alone (and those folks out of area - a good number - do) or we see both types. Because it is a requirement in our boards it seems to work pretty well overall.


Posted by Jeff Dowler, CRS, The Southern California Relocation Dude (Solutions Real Estate ) about 10 years ago


Why do these fake agents waste their time and ours?

Posted by Mike Frazier, Northwest Tennessee Realtor (Carousel Realty of Dyer County) about 10 years ago

Wow. And I thought Oklahoma was backwards.  :-)

I was in the 2007 OAR Leadership class, and we toured several associations throughout the state during the year. I was shocked at how many areas did NOT have electronic keyboxes -- they were still going to the Listing Realtor's office to pick up keys to show houses. We've had the electronic keyboxes in Tulsa for five years maybe? I love them!

Good luck during this transition!

Posted by Lori Cain, Midtown Tulsa Real Estate Top Producer (eXp Realty) about 10 years ago

Aloha kaua e Randy.

Well I don't blame the agent. Some boards help companies hold us hostage to exhorbitant fees. I am fortunate that in Florida agents use the Suprakey and sometimes lockboxes so there is some consistency. However there is a Catch 22. If we don't pay the fee for GE then we can't play in the field (i.e. show houses and/or have others show our listings with convenient access.)

As for email... I don't know how they can do business without email. Some libraries in Hawai'i  offer free access to computers. Gmail and Hotmail are free... so really there is no excuse.

In fairness to some agents in Hawai'i though... there are roughly 6,000 agents with a limited amount of inventory. Thus it can be very cut throat/competitive there. IMO it is more competitive partly because of supply. If I were back there I would at least do the basics which includes but is not limited to email, fax, etc. It helps set *you* apart. Of course the strong stay standing in this profession so those without email may not last.

~ Lana

Posted by Lana Robbins Realtor ® Licensed Real Estate Broker, Florida and Washington Real Estate (Aloha Kai Real Estate) about 10 years ago

We have Supra in NE Ohio but the majority of times the agent will have a combo on the home. I don't mind until they want to show one of mine and dont have a keypad. If I have to pay GE to provide great service to my buyers and sellers, why shoudn't they. I have driven over to open my sellers homes and not one offer, but it's hard for me not to open the home just in case.

Like Lenn, I get mad at GE's marketing and the Boards not having the guts for a uniform rule for every member.

Posted by David M. Childress, I would love to be your Realtor® in Akron Ohio! (Howard Hanna Real Estate Services) about 10 years ago

Randy, here in New Orleans it is a requirement to use the ge boxs. When I find an agent using a contractor lock box, I asked them to met there for the showing. I stopped when the agent told me that she would leave a key under the floor mat. This is not the type of integrity that should be practice. I wrote some time back about agents without fax machines. It is true still in 2009. Maybe some should go and find a new career.

Posted by Frank Rubi, FrankRubiRealEstate.com (Frank Rubi Real Estate, LLC) about 10 years ago

Yes, I am a Realtor...but here in Lewisburg WV...we still use combo locks...It is really hard to get use to as in Northern Viriginia I used the electronic lockboxes.

Posted by Rebecca Gaujot, Realtor®, Lewisburg WV, the go to agent for all real estate (Vision Quest Realty) about 10 years ago

What a scary thing to think of . . . were they real agents -- that would have been my first thought as well!  People might try anything to 'case the joint' . . . which makes me so leary of having Zillow and other websites post the address of the seller.  Another topic, for another day . . . .


Posted by Carla Muss-Jacobs, RETIRED (RETIRED / State License is Inactive) about 10 years ago

With any major system change, just let time take care of the problems.  Those that buck the system will be left in the dark in time. Hopefully your board will hold firm and not give in to any delays in the system.

Posted by TIM MONCRIEF, Over 2,000 homes sold….. (Tim Monciref) about 10 years ago

I think one of the main causes of this problem is the financial situation a lot of realtors are fiding themselves in. They are trying to cut costs. But not have a key to open lockboxes is crazy. How will you ever sell anything?

Posted by Ann Cordes, Home Ownership is Not a Distant Dream (Century 21 Randall Morris and Associates, Waco) about 10 years ago

I have written on lockboxes so many times, I am glad someone else has taken up the mantra.

We started having less and less Realtors use the electronic when the largest Board near us never aquired them. Then data sharing came along and like David we were out opening doors and it was a complete waste of time.

Missed Ya!!

Posted by Missy Caulk, Savvy Realtor - Ann Arbor Real Estate (Missy Caulk TEAM) about 10 years ago

Randy, Long time no see!  Yes, we have used Supra lock boxes here and where I was in CA for years. I can understand how frustrating it is when agents are too cheap to invest in a Supra Key and the MLS chosen lock boxes.  Combo boxes are still around which is hard for me to believe too!

Posted by Diane Aurit, Lake Norman Real Estate (LKN Realty, LLC) about 10 years ago

Randy, I haven't used my electronic key in over a year. Almost all listings in my area are now on combo boxes. This si due to the large amount of distressed properties. An REO agent with several hundred listings is not going to invest in electronic lock boxes that vcan cost more than $100. Personally I prefer combo boxes anyway.

BUT....I still have a key. If I need it I'm ready. You must have the tools if you are going to succeed in this business.

Posted by Bryant Tutas, Selling Florida one home at a time (Tutas Towne Realty, Inc and Garden Views Realty, LLC) about 10 years ago

Oops!!  Forgot to mention that it's good to see you. I hope you have been busy and just didn't decide you don't like us any more!!!

Posted by Bryant Tutas, Selling Florida one home at a time (Tutas Towne Realty, Inc and Garden Views Realty, LLC) about 10 years ago

I prefer the electronic key because the numbers on the combo locks are so small...but these guys...either rookies without mentors (recruit them). I would assume they are not AR members!

Posted by Gary L. Waters Broker Associate, Bucci Realty, Fifteen Years Experience in Brevard County (Bucci Realty, Inc.) about 10 years ago

Of the three agents who called, two of them did not have e-mail. 


Hold on a second.  Let me check my calendar.  Yep.  This is 2009!!!


Posted by Bruce Brockmeier, Coached By Crouch (Internet Marketing Consultant to REALTORS®) about 10 years ago

I live in Columbia MO pop = 100,000, last year I had to travel up to Mexico MO about 40 minutes away to show properties.  I was SHOCKED and put out by the number of offices I had to drive to get keys.  This practice baffled me.  I mean, I'm showing 5 house in 2 hours, I have all the keys to these 5 house with me, what if another agent would like to show right after me, or later the same day before I can get the keys back to the office.  Not to mention the added time I spent driving to offices to get keys. 

I love having the electronic lockbox on my homes and being able to open the lockbox with my phone.  As for e-mail, I agree.  If you aren't using e-mail, and can't scan a document and attach to an e-mail, you won't be in the business much longer.  So when the buyers start leaving don't ask why.  You have to stay up on what's going on in the area.  These agents likely have one photos up for their listings, and no virtual tour, heck maybe they aren't even on the web?  Talk about a disservice. 

I can't imagine what a transaction would be like with these people.  Probably take 60 days or so to close and an organizational nightmare.  Good luck bringing Haawi into the 21st Century.

Posted by April Ferrao (Re/Max Boone Realty) about 10 years ago

We use "old fashioned" combo lockboxes. We don't splurge, we pay $15 for the ShurLock. There's even cheaper ones online. We have a current list with all combos in the car and on our desks at home. Our office also has a current list. No problems!

Posted by TheMillsTeam YourSebringRealtors, 863-212-5441 (Advantage Realty #1) about 10 years ago

I have mixed emotions about the electronic lock boxes.  I do have a Supra Key (as we call them here in New Jersey) and only use it a few times a year.  Not many agents in my area use them and/or have the boxes on the properties.  It would be another thing if we all used them, but for now some people don't show homes that have the electronic boxes because they don't want to fork out the extra dough for 1 or 2 showings a year.

Posted by Bridget Cella, e-Pro, Realtor (Re/Max Connection) about 10 years ago

WOW- You mean there are agents that don't have e-mail accounts AND they actually have clients too? I cannot function without e-mail - I prefer it to phone calls and scanning documents in and sending them as attachments makes it easier to read - what world do they live in???

Posted by Barbara-Jo Roberts Berberi, MA, PSA, TRC - Greater Clearwater Florida Residential Real Estate Professional, Palm Harbor, Dunedin, Clearwater, Safety Harbor (Charles Rutenberg Realty) about 10 years ago

Jesse & Kathy – They should not be doing business.

Lenn – We are so fortunate here.  We have only one Board and yet trying to get agents to play ball is a pain.

John  M – LOL

Linda M – I do not miss those Chicago winters.  (Lane Tech, class of 78)

Michael P. – We are still in the less than 50% group.  We are 8 months into it.

Gail – I have had clients in their 80s who are also on FaceBook and Twitter.

Irene K. – Our Sentrilock boxes have the capability of generating 1-day codes for inspectors, appraisers, etc.  We can also generate a contractors code good for extended periods of the contractor is going to be working on the home for multiple days or weeks.

Dawn M. – In our area the agents have no excuse.  The boxes were subsidized so we could buy them for $30 a piece in the initial offering.


Posted by Randy Prothero, Hawaii REALTOR, (808) 384-5645 (eXp Realty) about 10 years ago

Darrell W. – You can’t call yourself a professional and not have e-mail.  You cannot even look up listings without internet.

Marc S. – The same agents are probably giving their clients your lock box codes.  The week before I got electronic boxes I had three agents give my codes to their buyers at closing instead of opening the box and giving the key to their client.  One buyer took my box.  Those days are over since getting electronic boxes.

Bob H. – I agree

William F. – I think the drop in use may be the part time agents with no sales, not wanting to pay even a single penny.

William W. - I will not have a listing without an electronic box.  There is too much liability.

Phil B. – I do not think our Board has an MLS book anymore.

Kevin C. – Doesn’t sound like she is doing a good job of representing her son.

Joe P. – I agree completely.


Posted by Randy Prothero, Hawaii REALTOR, (808) 384-5645 (eXp Realty) about 10 years ago

Sharon P. – I think they should retire or find a new line of work.

Patricia K. – If the other agents would get with the4 program Sentrilock is great.  Having to accommodate agents without smart cards is a pain in the neck.

Patricia A. – Some agents think it is 1979.

George S. – That is the rub here.  How would they even know my listing info without a computer?  They have to have internet.  I am still rubbing my head.  Not one but two agents without e-mail.

Ginger M. – Our electronic boxes can be used like a combo with the exception that we can generate a different card for each person gaining access, allowing us to track everyone who accesses the home.

Sally – NAR rules forbid the Board from making them mandatory.  The individual companies can make them company policy.

I haven’t been on Active Rain much lately.  I have been so busy, I can never seem to find free time.

Jeff D. – I think that if you are not doing the best to secure the home, it should be considered a violation of our fiduciary respo0nsibilty to the seller.


Posted by Randy Prothero, Hawaii REALTOR, (808) 384-5645 (eXp Realty) about 10 years ago

Mike F. – Fake agents is a good description.

Lori C. – I can believe a lister would require you pick up a key in their office.  I bet that limits the number of showings they get.

Lana R. – Good point about the free computers at the library.  You are right, there are way too many agents here.  In Honolulu we went from 6500 last year to 5600 at renewal time.

David C. – When we rolled out our electronic boxes we were told that NAR requires we not make it mandatory.

Frank K. – I am amazed how many still fax contracts because they do not know who to scan and e-mail.  Even crazier those who do not even have fax.

Rebecca L. – Now that we have electronic boxes; I can’t imagine ever going back.

Carla M. – Possibly they got the listings from my newspaper ads.

Tim M. – Our Board rolled out electronic boxes several years back and had a lot of problems and resistance from the members.  They scrapped it then.  This time they have made the commitment to do it right and keep it permanent.

Ann C. – What will be next, no car?

Missy C. – I do not have to open doors, but we do have to generate 1-day codes, which is a pain if I am on the road.

I hope to be back on AR more often.  I am just stretched so thin for time lately.

B.B. – I our boxes are not nearly that expensive.  We do not have agents with a 100 listings here either, son our environment is quite different.  Then again our homes are a lot more expensive.  That is an even bigger reason to take extra precautions when securing them.


Posted by Randy Prothero, Hawaii REALTOR, (808) 384-5645 (eXp Realty) about 10 years ago

Gary W. – I am concerned about liability.  How do you know who many people have the code for your lock box?  I have a policy of electronic only on my listings.

Bruce B. – I was starting to think it was a prank when the second told me that.  Am I on a hidden video show?

April F. – I am amazed how few agents have 0-1 picture also.  I not only put the max photos, every listing gets a virtual tour and a website with its own domain name.

I earned my CRS in Colombia Missouri a few years back.  I really liked the area and the people.

Darrin and Andrea – My concern was liability.  With agents giving my codes to clients, etc.; it is impossible to know who has access.  Also I had agents who make appointments and then do not go or go at a second time without calling.  This was I have a log of all entries and know who was the last agent in if the keys are missing from the box.

Bridget C. – If the agents don’t use them, they it is a pain in the neck.  I am hoping that enough agents convert that the pressure will be on those who don’t.

BarbaraJo – I try to use e-mail as much as possible.  That gives me a communication log and file.  Phone calls are your word against theirs if there is ever a problem.


Posted by Randy Prothero, Hawaii REALTOR, (808) 384-5645 (eXp Realty) about 10 years ago

I was on our Association's IS committee when we wrestled with doing away with MLS books...the dinosaurs continued to NEED the books and few of them are in the business today. 

You handled the situations correctly!!!

Posted by Wallace S. Gibson, CPM, LandlordWhisperer (Gibson Management Group, Ltd.) about 10 years ago

Hi Randy:

Last year I was working to get Sentrilock for Kauai. It would of been the cheapest if we signed up when Oahu did. But I guess the Board decided to pass because of the cost. I'm really disappointed. It such a nice system. I'm really surprised that agents aren't taking advantage of it. But these are probably the same type of agent that didn't want to pay for it on Kauai. I would like to hear in future blogs any other experiences you have had with the  Sentrilock system.

Posted by Julie A. Black, CLHMS, CRS, GRI, Realtor, Broker (KAUAI DREAMS REALTY Kauai Real Property Specialist) about 10 years ago

Wallace - I wonder how many of them have learned to use technology and how many are finding ways around it.

Julie - I am hoping in the future to report that it becomes so widely used that it forces agents to activate their cards.

Posted by Randy Prothero, Hawaii REALTOR, (808) 384-5645 (eXp Realty) about 10 years ago

Randy - Pretty interesting!  Recently we had an agent - not a Realtor - show one of our listings from the code lock boix that the bank had put on this REO.  Mystery of mysteries ... she's the only agent who I gave the code to yet she has no idea how the key disappeared.  Can you believe that!

Posted by Lisa Wetzel, CDPE, SFR carsonvalleyland.com (RE/MAX Realty Affiliates) about 10 years ago

Lisa - Time to change the locks and the code on the box.  What a pain in the neck.

Posted by Randy Prothero, Hawaii REALTOR, (808) 384-5645 (eXp Realty) about 10 years ago

Hi Randy,

I agree its time for the combo locks to go the way of th pony express. The benefits outweigh any hassles with learning new technology. I set my smartphone up and it updates every night for me. My sellers are safer and I get a record of who comes by. The Ibox does not freeze on me like the old boxes. GE cleverly designed the moving parts to have a partial weather cover of the moving parts so they open easy in winter. Big fan of the IBox technology. Now if they would just update them for bluetooth!


Posted by Ken Jansen, REALTOR, CRS, 913.908.2215 (REMAX INFINITY) about 10 years ago

Ken - Technology is definitely changing the way we do business.

Posted by Randy Prothero, Hawaii REALTOR, (808) 384-5645 (eXp Realty) about 10 years ago

Sounds like the agent was either cheap, lazy or a part time Realtor.  If they don't have access to the basic tools like electronic keys and email....how do they get qualified buyers?

Posted by Bonnie Vaughan, CNE SFR - Buyers/Sellers - Lackawanna & Surroundin about 10 years ago

Bonnie - Great question.  How do they get qualified buyer?  Even more important, how can they ever service them if they get them?

Posted by Randy Prothero, Hawaii REALTOR, (808) 384-5645 (eXp Realty) about 10 years ago

Randy - very interesting that the use of the SmartCard is optional for the agents! I like the idea of one-day vendor codes. Unfortunately the economy has created many MIA agents.

Posted by Sharon Simms, St. Petersburg FL - CRS CIPS CLHMS RSPS (Coastal Properties Group International - Christie's International) about 10 years ago

Randy it is the same here in Atlanta.  It started with the foreclosures, and now many agents are using these vendor lock boxes and it is a royal pain for all.  The key is uniformity.  Maybe we should just start boycotting listings what have them?

Posted by Jim Crawford, Jim Crawford Atlanta Best Listing Agents & REALTOR (Crye-Leike REALTORS®) almost 10 years ago

Sharon - It seems like it is getting worse.  More and more agents are doing this on the side and a pain in the neck to work with.

Jim - I have no choice but to work with these folks.  I do represent my clients.

Posted by Randy Prothero, Hawaii REALTOR, (808) 384-5645 (eXp Realty) almost 10 years ago

Hawaii isn't the only place with part-timers or agents who choose not to pay dues to the local MLS. I hate getting those phone calls, too. It is a hassle.



Posted by Robin Rogers, CRS, TRC, MRP - Real Estate Investment Adviser (Robin Rogers, Silverbridge Realty, San Antonio, Texas) almost 10 years ago

Robin - Even worse when you get a contract and they do not have the current forms either.

Posted by Randy Prothero, Hawaii REALTOR, (808) 384-5645 (eXp Realty) almost 10 years ago

I recently had an appraiser who didn't have access to my lockbox.  They wanted to do the appraisal and couldn't get in.  I told them they would have to wait until it was convenient for me to get there.

Posted by John Walters, Licensed in Louisiana (Frank Rubi Real Estate) almost 10 years ago

John W. - I do not mind creating the 1-day code for a non-Realtor.  That is one advantage of our system.  Unfortunately way too many agents are acting like non-Realtors.

Posted by Randy Prothero, Hawaii REALTOR, (808) 384-5645 (eXp Realty) almost 10 years ago

In NH we have GE Supra and they are used more in the southern part of the state and less in the rural central and northern part.

Posted by Diana Hoyt almost 10 years ago

In my case I only do business in one county.  I send referrals to all other parts of our state.  We are standardized, but way too many agents are not participating in the system.

Posted by Randy Prothero, Hawaii REALTOR, (808) 384-5645 (eXp Realty) almost 10 years ago

Just wanted to chime in on Kevin Comerford's and Lenn Harley's comments. Kevin: I agree with you that you did not do your client any disservice. But that could be a thorny issue. I don't have a handle on how my clients my react if they found out that I was not going the extra mile to make sure that their home was shown to EVERY prospective buyer. And if they were to react negatively, would that constituted an ethics violation on my part? I dunno. I would hate to be in a postion where I was required to work with gross incompetence.

I so agree with you, Lenn. We all hate monopolies and that's what SUPRA feels like and acts like. We have little choice in the areas where they are used but to cough up the $$ every month for a key. Here's a thought: what would possibly be wrong with a pay per use model? Even part timers could afford something like that.

Posted by Buddy Snipes (Trusted Agent, Inc.) almost 10 years ago

Yes, it does cost a lot of money to purchase electronic keys and mls access but hey, we a commission check right? How could you be in this business if you are not willing to spend the money. I pay for everything I need in this business. It's hard to rely others for mls and lock box access.

Charita King

Century 21 My Real Estate Co.


Posted by Charita King - Short Sale Specialist (Century 21 My Real Estate Co.) almost 10 years ago

No email? I bet they hate texting too LOL!

Posted by Charita King - Short Sale Specialist (Century 21 My Real Estate Co.) almost 10 years ago

Buddy - Where do you draw the line?  Do you not advertise because it costs too much?  Agents are being paid to preform a service.  If they accept the commission, they need to spend the time and money to provide professional service.

Charita - I bet they do not have cell phones either.  Notice they all called Sunday evening when they were home.

Posted by Randy Prothero, Hawaii REALTOR, (808) 384-5645 (eXp Realty) almost 10 years ago

This is a very interesting post, Randy.  I am not familiar with 'One day code'.  We all use supra key here in my area.  So a smart card must be similar to supra key... and I can't imagine running this business without it.  Also no email?!  Wow....  how funny...  :) 

Posted by Yuno Marioni, - Your Home, My Goal - over 9 years ago

We use the sentrilock system in our MLS area, but you do not need to be a Realtor to be a member of the MLS with a sentrilock key. I'm pretty sure we are charged a fee after generating a certain number of one-day codes, but that may be for a one-day renewal of our keys. One reason some agents do not use the electronic lock boxes is that they may have clients who do not want every agent at all times to have access to their home. They want you, as their Realtor, to check out the situation and make sure the showing is legitimate - especially on a higher end home.  They also may not want their home to be an open door to anybody and everybody who is handed a sentrilock key since they may be living in the home with their families and their belongings. And, believe it or not, agents do not always follow the showing instructions on the MLS. Does "call CSS to set up an appt" or "24 hrs notice" really mean that? Not to some! I do like the system and think it has its merits, but before placing the box, will discuss with the client what type of box they would prefer. With a combo lock box, I know who is showing the home and when, before it is shown, and I can also ask for feedback through CSS. But I totally agree, every active agent and Realtor needs a sentrilock key (if their MLS uses the system), an email and better yet, a smartphone.

Posted by Brandy Keener, ePRO, Realtor (Keller Williams Charleston West Ashley) over 9 years ago

Yuno - The 1-day code is for the agents who refuse to activate their cards or for inspectors, appraisers, etc. that need to gain access and do not have a card.  The codces are assigned to an individual, so when they enter, we collect the same data as if they had a card.

Brandy - If you have a problem with agents not following showing instructions, with the Sentrilock boxes you can add a Call Before Showing (CBS) code.  The agents then need to call for the extra pin number.  I have used that for occupied units. 

Posted by Randy Prothero, Hawaii REALTOR, (808) 384-5645 (eXp Realty) over 9 years ago



Here in Northern Michigan there are 4 different MLS Boards that I can find Property to show clients within a 1 hour drive.   Our MLS has Electronic Lock Box system cost $10/month, only 40% use, another board uses combo lock boxes, Alot of Realtors have the Keys at the office.   So I have fun showing Lakefront properties because of how I have to access.    This is why I have my Michigan Pocket Card handy to rattle off my license number.

Posted by Robert Foster (United Country-Michigan Outdoor Properties - Northern Office) over 9 years ago

Aloha Robert - I am fortunate that I only have one Board of Realtors I service.  Being an island kind of forces that on us.

Posted by Randy Prothero, Hawaii REALTOR, (808) 384-5645 (eXp Realty) over 9 years ago

Wow, am I glad we only have one Board of Realtors, all using the same supra lockboxes.

Posted by Sandy Nelson, your Olympia area Realtor (Riley Jackson Real Estate Inc.) over 9 years ago

Sandy - It would be so nice if we had everyone here using the same thing

Posted by Randy Prothero, Hawaii REALTOR, (808) 384-5645 (eXp Realty) over 9 years ago

Hmm. It sounds like you need some new competition over there in Hawaii. That's nuts. I feel agents aren't up to snuff if they're still using AOL or Hotmail email accounts, I cannot imagine an agent remaining in the business here without at LEAST that.


Thanks for the laugh tonight!

Posted by Nick Snow over 9 years ago

Nick - By reading the blogs I am convinced there are similar folks everywhere.

Posted by Randy Prothero, Hawaii REALTOR, (808) 384-5645 (eXp Realty) over 9 years ago

Well here in CT we have a Statewide MLS and the Supra keybox system...and we are on our second generation of supra keyboxes. Add to that being able to request our showings and get confirmations right through the MLS and e-mail...Can't imagine doing business without them now.

Posted by Lisa Orme, Broker/Realtor, ABR, CRS,GRI, PSCS, SFR, Notary Pu (The Master's Key Realty LLC -Windsor, CT - HARTFORD COUNTY) about 9 years ago

Lisa - I look forward to the day, I can say that.

Posted by Randy Prothero, Hawaii REALTOR, (808) 384-5645 (eXp Realty) about 9 years ago

This is happening so much in So Cal. Many people running around with real estate licenses that are not REALTORS selling homes.

Posted by Tina Maraj, Top Agent in Fullerton 2016-2018 714-403-7901 (RE/MAX Cornerstone) almost 9 years ago

Tina - It is a challenge for everyone.

Posted by Randy Prothero, Hawaii REALTOR, (808) 384-5645 (eXp Realty) almost 9 years ago

While we are "lucky we live in Hawaii", we are also faced with the challenges of fragmentation and lack of consistency. Im a HIBR member on  the Big Island, that argument is an old one, whether or not to make SUPRA or SentriLock membership and usage mandatory.  Ive been a Supra member since 1982, and wouldnt dream of not availing my sellers of those tools to secure their most precious asset, their home. One of the challenges we face here that other realtors in other states may relate to is the variation between Realtors Boards locally and local choice of vendors. Different Islands, different boards, different MLS, different vendors for our tools; same is said for those on a single Island (Oahu, Big Island) we have members of HIS, HICentral, Supra, Sentrilock.  I cant fathom a professional today without email and computer literacy; yet I'm aware they exist.


Posted by India over 8 years ago

India - The Sentrilock smart card is our ID card and provided free from our Board.  It is amazing how many members still have not activated their card or even carry it.

Posted by Randy Prothero, Hawaii REALTOR, (808) 384-5645 (eXp Realty) over 8 years ago

We have one MLS for 14 counties here in the DFW area.  We have to use Supra electronic boxes on occupied houses and can use a combo box on an unoccupied home.  In Houston, where I also operate, the Houston Association of Realtor mandates electronic boxes for everyone.  No if, ands or buts.  I LOVE IT. 


Best of luck!

Posted by Bob McCranie, Your best advocate when buying or selling your hom (Broker/Owner - Texas Pride Realty) over 8 years ago

Bob - Apparently we can not mandate.  I think it is because NAR is an owner of the company we are using.

Posted by Randy Prothero, Hawaii REALTOR, (808) 384-5645 (eXp Realty) over 8 years ago

Randy, I agree, this is such a frustrating thing, here in Hawaii! I have had the same experience many times. It makes so much more sense to use the electronic lockboxes. As for the old style - so easy to get in - you know the code:  1560. I's say that's the code for a good 25% of them.

Posted by Yvonne Jaramillo Ahearn, Esq. (B), REALTOR-Broker, CRS, GRI, ABR CLHMS (Hawaii Life Real Estate Brokers) over 8 years ago

Yvonne - I agree, those boxes are a liability.

Posted by Randy Prothero, Hawaii REALTOR, (808) 384-5645 (eXp Realty) over 8 years ago


How can those agents call themselves Realtors?  To do business as a Realtor you must have access to homes to show them or list them.  You need a lock box.  We have Supra boxes and they work very well.  There are few REO offices who put combo boxes on their listings, but according to our MLS there must be a Supra box on homes for sale.

Posted by Evelyn Kennedy, Alameda, Real Estate, Alameda, CA (Alain Pinel Realtors) over 8 years ago

Evelyn - I wish we could make it mandatory here.  NAR has said we can't.  Possibly because our lockbox vendor is owned by NAR.

Posted by Randy Prothero, Hawaii REALTOR, (808) 384-5645 (eXp Realty) over 8 years ago


I use and promote the use of the SUPRA box as well.....I do not get Agents who use combo's especially on vacant and even worse, distressed properties.....leaving themselves open for trouble.

Posted by Daniel J. Brudnok, REALTOR, SRES, e-PRO,ABR,GREEN,CSP (Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Fox & Roach, REALTORS - Exton - PA License #RS-225179-L / Delaware License #RS-0025038) over 7 years ago

Dan - I just don't get it either.

Posted by Randy Prothero, Hawaii REALTOR, (808) 384-5645 (eXp Realty) over 7 years ago

We don't have the type of lock boxes you describe in our area so we haven't run into that problem yet. I just cannot get over the fact, though, that two of these agents don't have email. How on earth do you survive in this business??? I thought it was insane when an agent in our office refused to get a cell phone. I'm kinda in shock by this one!! :)

Posted by Peggy Wester, Real Estate Agent Ozaukee & Washington County (Realty Executives Integrity) about 7 years ago

Peggy - No cell phone?  They do not sound like they are serious about their business either.  The e-mail one kills me. They would have to depend on fax and phone.  I can't remember the last time I faxed something.

Posted by Randy Prothero, Hawaii REALTOR, (808) 384-5645 (eXp Realty) about 7 years ago

Randy we see this in our area all the time how about the offices that have one key for the entire office ???? Seems they wish to not pay for this service. One key per person not per office.


Posted by Laura Filip, What can we do for you today? (Laura Filip Broker , Opening doors for All Seasons of Life ) almost 7 years ago

Laura - I recently had an agent in the area who is not a member of the Board of Realtors and does not pay for MLS service.  They were using the search engine on my website to find properties for their client.  To save a couple of dollars they did not have the tools required to do the job.  In the CE class I was teaching the other day, one of the agents in my class said she ran into another agent doing the same thing with her website.

Posted by Randy Prothero, Hawaii REALTOR, (808) 384-5645 (eXp Realty) almost 7 years ago

We also have Supra Lock boxes, but ufortunately our neighboring MLS, with which we have a tremendous overlap of listings geographically, uses an entirely different and non compatible system.  The only answers to that issue is to subscribe to both MLS groups and install both electronic lock boxes on a property or use the old combo boxes. I like that some states are using statewide systems.  What a novel idea.

Posted by Bill Morrow, Bill Morrow, Associate Broker (Keller Williams of Central PA) almost 6 years ago

Aloha Bill - I wrote this post over 4 years ago and we are still having the same discussions in Hawaii.  Any system would be great if everyone used it.

Posted by Randy Prothero, Hawaii REALTOR, (808) 384-5645 (eXp Realty) almost 6 years ago

I had to go back to the top of the page to see where you sell, agents would not last in St. Louis without the electronic openers or email- Very interesting- good luck. 

Posted by Shanna Hall, I love selling houses!!!St. Louis, MO 314-703-1311 (Real Estate Solutions) over 5 years ago

Shanna - They do not last here either.

Posted by Randy Prothero, Hawaii REALTOR, (808) 384-5645 (eXp Realty) over 5 years ago

Sounds like fraudsters at work. NO lockbox card? lol  

I have had issues with similar situations in my area.

Good thing we weren't born yesterday right?

Good luck and success to you in the coming year!


Posted by Mario Gattavara, (Lake Oroville Area) (IMPACT California Properties) over 5 years ago

Mario - Unfortunately they were really agents.  Just not professional.

Posted by Randy Prothero, Hawaii REALTOR, (808) 384-5645 (eXp Realty) over 5 years ago

It is amazing these three "REALTORS" have work. I mean, what does it say about the buyers choosing agents who don't have the ordinarily necessary tools to get their job done?

Posted by Dana Hollish Hill, Lead Associate Broker (Hollish Hill Group, KW Capital Properties) about 5 years ago

Sometimes the public does not know their agent's skills.  I am sure they told their clients they were good at what they did.

Posted by Randy Prothero, Hawaii REALTOR, (808) 384-5645 (eXp Realty) about 5 years ago

Agent who does not use an email. I wish we had more agents like this( more business opportunities for me:) . I had clients who did not use email/scanner/test messages or even outdated fax....

Posted by Inna Ivchenko, Realtor® • Green • GRI • HAFA • PSC Calabasas CA (Barcode Properties) about 5 years ago

The problem with agents like that is when you are on the other side of them.  No paper trail on their communications, not to mention the extra work they create for everyone around them.

Posted by Randy Prothero, Hawaii REALTOR, (808) 384-5645 (eXp Realty) about 5 years ago

 How weird! When I speak to agents who have been in this business a really long time - 40+ years - they often explain how electronic lock boxes changed their lives. Why would an agent today choose not to use one? So odd. 

Posted by Dana Hollish Hill, Lead Associate Broker (Hollish Hill Group, KW Capital Properties) almost 5 years ago

Dana - It definitely defies logic.

Posted by Randy Prothero, Hawaii REALTOR, (808) 384-5645 (eXp Realty) over 4 years ago

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