Hawaii Randy's Real Estate Opinions: Honolulu Going to Electronic Lock Boxes

Honolulu Going to Electronic Lock Boxes

It is official; the Honolulu Board of REALTORS ® announced that beginning 2008, our members will have the option of upgrading to the newest state of the art electronic lock boxes.

The product and system selected by the Board is the SentriLock, REALTOR Electronic Lockbox.  The company is developing a new product to meet our needs in Hawaii.  With our many condos and gated areas there is a need for a box that can hold the various types of keys and cards for elevators, gates etc., along with the standard door keys.

Yesterday at a broker's forum held at the Hilton Hawaiian Village (the location of the 2008 CRS Sell-a-bration), our members were introduced to the SentriLock and what the basic implementation plan would be.

It was made clear that electronic lock boxes would not be mandatory.  This is a National Association of REALTORS ® directive.  The reason we will be able to implement them without requiring everyone to participate is that the box has the ability to operate in a manual mode also.

Honolulu implemented electronic boxes many years ago and it was a failure.  This time the lessons were learned and the product is far superior to the previous product.  I for one am excited about the new boxes. 

Some of their features that I am looking forward to are:

  • Ability to take manual codes along with electronic smart card
  • Up to 9 different 1-day codes
  • Contractor codes
  • IR port that will work with Treo phone
  • Illuminated key pad
  • Agent showing statistics
  • Metal non-rusting case
  • Durable replaceable cover
  • Removable battery
  • Replaceable battery and low battery warning
  • Internet based administration

The number of features was mind boggling. I was so impressed I wanted to make the switch yesterday.  I guess I will have to wait with everyone else.

I know that we are one of the few major markets to make the switch.  What has been you experience with electronic boxes?  Do you use SentriLocks?



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 31 commentsRandy Prothero • July 22 2007 03:59AM


Our board here wasn't bright enough to produce a box that would fit a credit card sized entry pass.  We have to slice em and fold em into the box, duh!  Sounds like your board is on the ball this time around.  
Posted by Laurie Manny (Long Beach CA Real Estate) almost 12 years ago
Randy, I'm with Laurie.  Smart move on your board's part.  Our electronic LBs can fit the swipe cards but they don't have a manual option and they have not been extremely popular here.  I've heard from some agents that they won't install electronic boxes as it discourages others who don't have the key from showing the property.  Yours wouldn't have that problem.  Maybe we outta start complaining.
Posted by Maggie Dokic | Miami, FL | 305.81.HOUSE (46873), GREEN, CDPE, SFR, Pinecrest | Palmetto Bay | (eXp Realty LLC) almost 12 years ago
We use Supra by GE, but it sounds like the vendor you are using has a really good product.
Posted by Todd Murphy (Fitts Agency) almost 12 years ago

Why is not being mandatory a directive from NAR? Is requiring use seen as anti competitive? 

We just got our next generation of Supras in January....

I love electronic but I wish we had some of the abilities Sentra does.

Posted by Maureen McCabe, Columbus Ohio Real Estate (HER Realtors) almost 12 years ago

Laurie - We had them before and they bombed.  The new board is determined to repeat history.  The manufacturer is also being real cool about working with them.

Maggie - Check out the website from this vendor.  NAR has a majority share of ownership in this company.  I think that is the reason they are so REALTOR friendly.

Todd - We do not have them yet in practice, but what I have seen sold me.

Posted by Randy Prothero, Hawaii REALTOR, (808) 384-5645 (eXp Realty) almost 12 years ago
Maureen - I have not read the entire list of rules from NAR, but they were very specific about the association was not to make their use mandatory.  Individual companies can.  I plan to make them mandatory for anyone joining my team.
Posted by Randy Prothero, Hawaii REALTOR, (808) 384-5645 (eXp Realty) almost 12 years ago
Good luck with the Sentrilock boxes we use Supra. I put electronic lock boxes on my occupied listings for extra security for my sellers. I have been using the Master combo boxes on vacant properties. I like that they have a bigger compartment and the unit is encased in light padding that is not removable.
Posted by James Gordon, REALTOR, PBD SFR SRS (Sibcy Cline Realtors®) almost 12 years ago
We have these in College Station Texas.  They are great but you have to update your key everyday
Posted by Ginger Magoon, Bryan, College Station Texas Real Estate (Remax - Bryan College Station) almost 12 years ago

We use the Supra boxes in  Ann Arbor and can get in with our smart phones. palm pilots and electronic keys. It was all well and good, UNTIL  data sharing came along. Realtors from outside out board didn't have them so we had to go open the houses of our listings for them. After doing this too many times, I went back to the combo's. Some agents use both so agents can get in.

Truthfully,  I love the features and security but not the hassle .Good luck.

Posted by Missy Caulk, Savvy Realtor - Ann Arbor Real Estate (Missy Caulk TEAM) almost 12 years ago
We have been using Supra eKeys - OK but expensive.  Biggest problem is that they're not compatible with the codes used in nearby counties.  To be able to cross over, you have to join other MLSs at extra expense.  Many agents are going back to less expensive combos.
Posted by Brian Schulman, Lancaster County PA RealEstate Expert 717-951-5552 (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, Lancaster PA) almost 12 years ago
I had the electronic lock-box for 3 years, and just switched back to the combo.....not everyone has the electronic ones, and if they can't get in they won't show the property.  And the "key" had to be cradled every night to work.......you can imagine how many times this was :)
Posted by Kathy McGraw, Riverside County CA Real Estate (CELLing Realty) almost 12 years ago


The only problem I had was when they switched us to an upgraded version..they mad us all hand in our keypads which we purchased...now we have to use the new pads and rent them once a year and I lost 100 for buying the other and they would not reimburse if it was more than 6 months,the pricing for the boxes itself are now 95 and they fluctuate like the stock market. Yours are pretty bulky..I guess because you have to have enough room in them for storage:)

Posted by Neal Bloom, Realtor CRS-Weston FL Real Estate (eXp Realty) almost 12 years ago
we have supra keys too....most realtors hate them....i have even heard of a protest of these things...i hope you have more luck with yours.
Posted by Dave Sulvetta, Realtor (Dave Sulvetta, ReMax Connection, Gloucester County Realtor) almost 12 years ago
Randy, we're in the same boat here, with our condo buildings front door key, storage door key, front door key, electronic pass key.  Oye Vey.
Posted by Chris Griffith, Bonita Springs Listing Agent (Downing-Frye Realty, Bonita Springs, FL) almost 12 years ago
Hi Randy,  we use Supra.  We occasionally run across combos on forecosures and vacant homes.  I love how you can track the keys used on it.  Sounds like Sentrilock may be a bit better though.
Posted by Stephanie Edwards-Musa, knitwit at thred UP (thredUP.com) almost 12 years ago
We also use Supra and I really like them. Some of us still use the old combo box...with the unchanged SPI combination.
Posted by Monika McGillicuddy, Southern NH & the Seacoast Area (Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Verani Realty) almost 12 years ago
LOL MOnika. I have one of those combo boxes and forgot the combo. I had to go to home depot and open one to figure out the SPI.  Maybe I shoulda just asked the AR gang.
Posted by Chris Griffith, Bonita Springs Listing Agent (Downing-Frye Realty, Bonita Springs, FL) almost 12 years ago

Randy - our primary board uses the Sentilock combo - but the only access is with a Credit card type key with a microchip. It does many of the same things you spoke of - but more than 3 regular keys and a tag and everything gets really tight.  I would love to use my Treo.

The board to our South use the Supra - and they too are OK, those you can use a Treo or other IR devise

Then the out of area agents typically use a combo...too many of those for security purposes, I'm afraid.

Make it a Blessed Day,

John Occhi, Hemet Realtor

Posted by John Occhi, SRES,CPRES.ePRO - Temecula-Murrieta CA Real Estate (Mason Real Estate) almost 12 years ago
Sounds like a great investment for us....I love our board...always on top of stuff....even with the new Purchase Contract. Anyway, I presume you'll be at the sales meeting in the am to go over all you have on this right?
Posted by Celeste "SALLY" Cheeseman, (RA) AHWD CRS ePRO OAHU HAWAII REAL ESTATE (Liberty Homes) almost 12 years ago

James G. - The key compartment on the new boxes is supposed to be even better than the Master boxes, which I also use.

Ginger - The update timing is determined by your Board of REALTORS.  I like the short time, because the data is uploaded giving everyone better data.

Missy - These boxes will allow us to set 9 different one day codes for agents who do not have keys.  They can accessed the same as the conventional boxes, yet we still get the data.

Posted by Randy Prothero, Hawaii REALTOR, (808) 384-5645 (eXp Realty) almost 12 years ago

Brian - That is a big advantage we have.  There is only one county for me to deal with.  Our island is all in the same county.

Kathy - I am hoping we will not have the same issues.  This new box seems to be well thought out.  They had good answers to each of those issues.

Neal - The picture you see is their existing box.  We are getting a new design.  It will have a bigger key box and the rest of the unit will be smaller.

Posted by Randy Prothero, Hawaii REALTOR, (808) 384-5645 (eXp Realty) almost 12 years ago

Dave S. - I think the way our Board is implementing the switch was well planned and should avoid the problems other Boards have had.  We have the benefit of everyone else's experience including our own from a failed attempt several years ago.

Chris G. - I was quite happy to hear they were addressing that for us.

Stephanie - SentriLock® is majority owned by NAR.  They have spent a lot of time getting feedback from REALTORS® in an attempt to address all of the issues from other boxes already in the field.  I am excited and impressed.

Posted by Randy Prothero, Hawaii REALTOR, (808) 384-5645 (eXp Realty) almost 12 years ago

Monika - I plan to give some of my boxes to my clients for their use, once I lick up the electronics.

Chris G. - I bet you are correct.

John - The new boxes have both electronic smart card or you can issue one day codes to agents without them.  That is a feature I really like.

Posted by Randy Prothero, Hawaii REALTOR, (808) 384-5645 (eXp Realty) almost 12 years ago
Sally - I will be there.  I don't think I mentioned; there will be an initial purchase period where we can pick them up for $29.50 each.  Our Board will subsidize them with the money from our MLS fines.
Posted by Randy Prothero, Hawaii REALTOR, (808) 384-5645 (eXp Realty) almost 12 years ago
Posted by Celeste "SALLY" Cheeseman, (RA) AHWD CRS ePRO OAHU HAWAII REAL ESTATE (Liberty Homes) almost 12 years ago
Sally - I think that will cause a bog percentage of the agents and companies to support the program.
Posted by Randy Prothero, Hawaii REALTOR, (808) 384-5645 (eXp Realty) almost 12 years ago
We use Supra - but the same basics - and we all had to switch - I have the software on my PDA - but others use a trio - nice thing about the trio is it does not require updating as it updates automatically.  With our - every day you have to update your key - which really helps on knowing about showings.... I love our system - I get an alert each time I update my key telling me of the showings, or I can log on to my listing and see them there.... it is a great piece of information for your client.
Posted by Thesa Chambers, Principal Broker - Licensed in Oregon (Fred Real Estate Group) almost 12 years ago
Thesa - I am looking forward to the upgrade.  I have a Treo and these will be compatible also.
Posted by Randy Prothero, Hawaii REALTOR, (808) 384-5645 (eXp Realty) almost 12 years ago
I'm not sure if yours are the same but we cannot access them before 9am...a few times I needed to get into a few and realized they don't open before 9am:)
Posted by Neal Bloom, Realtor CRS-Weston FL Real Estate (eXp Realty) almost 12 years ago

We just migrated to Sentrilock a few months ago here in San Diego. I have no particular issues with them. They seem to work well, although they are quite large. You can program your electronic card right on site if it has expired and you forgot to update it. Switching over to the new system was a hassle but change is change.

You can limit the times they can be accessed if you wish, and also set up codes for contractors, etc. You also may request email notifications of showings. The downside is they only update the system when the card owner goes in and updates his or her card (so if I show a home but don't update my card for a week, you will not see my showing on the report until a week later).

 Good luck with your classes (read you other blog too). I thought the ABR was quite good. Not sure about e-pro. When I took it 4 years ago it was OK but unless they have dramatically updated it you may find it is just not up to par (there has been quite a bit of discussion the e-pro here on AR). The CRS technology course was excellent, however.


Posted by Jeff Dowler, CRS, The Southern California Relocation Dude (Solutions Real Estate ) almost 12 years ago

Neal - These has a default which locks them out during certain hours, but it is adjustable from what they said.

Jeff - The CRS technology class I took was the only one I did not enjoy.  I felt I could have taught the class without much preparation.

The cards for Sentrilock are supposed to also update as the showing agents update their cards.  Their cards are supposed to pick up the showings before their's also.

Posted by Randy Prothero, Hawaii REALTOR, (808) 384-5645 (eXp Realty) almost 12 years ago

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