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Lockboxes so far (by NE [PA]) Jan 10, 2019 4:41 AM
       Lockboxes so far (by NE [PA]) Jan 10, 2019 4:43 AM
       Lockboxes so far (by Beth [WI]) Jan 10, 2019 5:32 AM
       Lockboxes so far (by NE [PA]) Jan 10, 2019 5:43 AM
       Lockboxes so far (by Robin [WI]) Jan 10, 2019 5:46 AM
       Lockboxes so far (by S i d [MO]) Jan 10, 2019 5:47 AM
       Lockboxes so far (by Roy [AL]) Jan 10, 2019 6:30 AM
       Lockboxes so far (by Bit [IN]) Jan 10, 2019 6:45 AM
       Lockboxes so far (by David [MI]) Jan 10, 2019 6:45 AM
       Lockboxes so far (by S i d [MO]) Jan 10, 2019 7:04 AM
       Lockboxes so far (by S i d [MO]) Jan 10, 2019 7:06 AM
       Lockboxes so far (by Roy [AL]) Jan 10, 2019 8:06 AM
       Lockboxes so far (by Doogie [KS]) Jan 10, 2019 8:06 AM
       Lockboxes so far (by NE [PA]) Jan 10, 2019 8:08 AM
       Lockboxes so far (by Robert J [CA]) Jan 10, 2019 9:15 AM
       Lockboxes so far (by David [MI]) Jan 10, 2019 9:53 AM
       Lockboxes so far (by S i d [MO]) Jan 10, 2019 10:28 AM
       Lockboxes so far (by S i d [MO]) Jan 10, 2019 10:32 AM
       Lockboxes so far (by David [MI]) Jan 10, 2019 4:11 PM
       Lockboxes so far (by NE [PA]) Jan 10, 2019 4:35 PM
       Lockboxes so far (by Otis [IL]) Jan 10, 2019 7:02 PM
       Lockboxes so far (by Hoosier [IN]) Jan 10, 2019 10:31 PM
       Lockboxes so far (by BRAD 20,000 [IN]) Jan 11, 2019 2:13 AM
       Lockboxes so far (by Chris [CT]) Jan 11, 2019 10:15 AM
       Lockboxes so far (by Barb [MO]) Jan 11, 2019 10:24 AM
       Lockboxes so far (by GKARL [PA]) Jan 11, 2019 11:23 AM
       Lockboxes so far (by Mike45 [NV]) Jan 11, 2019 12:03 PM
       Lockboxes so far (by Sisco [MO]) Jan 11, 2019 12:04 PM
       Lockboxes so far (by Larry [MA]) Jan 12, 2019 3:50 AM
       Lockboxes so far (by Tim [IN]) Jan 12, 2019 6:14 AM
       Lockboxes so far (by Ray-N-Pa [PA]) Jan 14, 2019 7:21 PM

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Lockboxes so far (by NE [PA]) Posted on: Jan 10, 2019 4:41 AM

Since the convention last year, I have switched to lock boxes. I was totally against FOREVER until I got to the point where I had to do something to lessen the requirements of my presence.

I won't go back to manual showings at this point. (Except for 2 houses in a really rough town)

I have rented about five or six places since I started using them. The only issue I found so far was that the door was not locked properly and one of them. Sometimes the light was left on. Other than that, no issues at all. I am getting a copy of their drivers license before they are allowed to schedule the showing. So I am able to cross reference that with state criminal an evection records. So if they have a history, I simply do not schedule a time for them to go view the units.

I was as apprehensive as they come to not using lockboxes. I had to see the tenants. I still see them, except now it's during and in-home inspection. I get the same feeling there that I would get at the properties. Except now I'm only seeing one every few weeks instead of multiple people a day.

I haven't been cornered and asked stupid questions or forced to listen to a story in months. That is great. I can keep my loathing to a minimum.

I totally hijacked Sid's method of telling the people that they may see the handyman there and his name is Dan and just say hi if you see him.

This was the step for me that absolutely took courage. I am as paranoid as it comes to the potential of vandalism at my properties. Not that it won't happen, but so far it's been no issue whatsoever. The prescreening helps that. --50.107.xxx.xxx

Lockboxes so far (by NE [PA]) Posted on: Jan 10, 2019 4:43 AM

Also, when I first started doing it and I would run over there about an hour after the showing and make sure everything was OK like a obsessed parent with their newborn first child. And then after a while it was I would go after two showings and then I would go every couple days. And now I go if I remember or near the unit. Which I don't have a problem with, because I drive by occupied units if I'm in the area anyway. --50.107.xxx.xxx

Lockboxes so far (by Beth [WI]) Posted on: Jan 10, 2019 5:32 AM

The one downside I see is that one could only do this in vacant units. Is that right? Probaby not an issue for you since your vacancy rate is high in your local area.


Lockboxes so far (by NE [PA]) Posted on: Jan 10, 2019 5:43 AM

I would NEVER do it or even recommend it on an occupied unit, regardless of the local vacancy rate. --50.107.xxx.xxx

Lockboxes so far (by Robin [WI]) Posted on: Jan 10, 2019 5:46 AM

I have done this multiple times with houses that don't rent immediately from open houses and/or a good prospect can't make it to the open house. These are neighborhoods/properties where:

--40% of my houses have been broken into in the last 4 years

--someone was shot and killed two houses away

--one tenant's car was broken into

--one tenant's daughter dropped her key on the sidewalk outside and someone picked it up and let themselves in

--vacant properties have no copper

Like NE, I get a texted copy of their driver's license and ask them to text me when they're done. That accountability (that I know who they are) seems to work.

This has saved me COUNTLESS hours, and allowed me to snag outstanding tenants that work so much that they have a hard time arranging showings with anyone else. The worst problem I've run into is people who can't figure out how to open the lockbox. And once the door didn't get locked because they didn't pull the door tight enough against the frame.


Lockboxes so far (by S i d [MO]) Posted on: Jan 10, 2019 5:47 AM

NE, congratulations! Welcome to "the other side" of showings and FREEEEDOM!

My progress down the path to lockbox showing was very similar to yours. I was anxious the first few days...running over every chance I got to make sure squatters weren't setting up camp and thieves weren't stealing the copper.

Then after 5 trips finding nothing, I started to get bored. The most exciting thing I found was someone left a porch light on. *shrugs

I currently have more units that I have fingers and toes (and no, I'm not a shop teacher!) and looking to grow bigger. It's simply too much to show in person when 4 or 5 go vacant all at once like I had happen last winter. Lock boxes got me rented quickly while other land lords dithered and tried to find a time to let folks in.

Common sense precautions like you take all but eliminate any concerns. I always tell folks to "Say Hi!" to our handyman who will "be in and out this week doing some work". Just knowing that someone may show up at any time deters the bad element.

I change the combo once every week or so and do a walk thru. To date, the worst thing I've found is someone did a #2 in the toilet in a place where I turned the water off. No biggie. A cap full of bleach, 20 second scrub, flush...nice and clean! Vs. probably going over 20 times to unlock the place, burning up gas, wear and tear on vehicle, dealing with tire kickers? Pick your poison. I'll take the used toilet option/light left on any day!

Btw, I DO turn the water off at the street on vacancies to ensure that even if a thief decides to steal out pipes, at least we don't get flooded. Also prevents someone flushing a toilet and the flapper getting stuck. It's a trade off, but a good one in my book. --173.20.xxx.xxx

Lockboxes so far (by Roy [AL]) Posted on: Jan 10, 2019 6:30 AM

Can anyone recommend a lockbox (brand name) that is easy to open and close? I bought one last week at Lowes and took it back the next day because of a design flaw that made the box difficult to close. A person would need to read the instructions on how to close this lock-box. --68.63.xxx.xxx

Lockboxes so far (by Bit [IN]) Posted on: Jan 10, 2019 6:45 AM

That's awesome, anything you can do to stream line the business with more upside than downside is a good thing.

I know some people where I live that do lockbox showings in lower income areas and love it. --74.130.xxx.xxx

Lockboxes so far (by David [MI]) Posted on: Jan 10, 2019 6:45 AM

The easiest style of lockbox i've found to open is the kind that doesn't require depressing a button or toggle while you open it. Once you set the correct combination, the box is now unlocked and you can open it .

I've bought a number of the "Vault Locks 3200" on amazon ($20) and am satisfied . --198.135.xxx.xxx

Lockboxes so far (by S i d [MO]) Posted on: Jan 10, 2019 7:04 AM

Roy, I use these. Hope this isn't the same one you've had problems with. I own 6, and they've never given me any problems.

lowes.com/pd/Master-Lock-9-6-cu-in-Set-Your-Own-Combination-Portable-Lock-Box/3033334 --173.20.xxx.xxx

Lockboxes so far (by S i d [MO]) Posted on: Jan 10, 2019 7:06 AM

Btw, I also have one of the Vault locks that David mentioned and it works great! It came with a house I bought from a wholesaler....wasn't worth his time to come back and pick it up, I suppose. It's $10 cheaper too! --173.20.xxx.xxx

Lockboxes so far (by Roy [AL]) Posted on: Jan 10, 2019 8:06 AM

With my lock-box that got returned (MasterLock), it was easy to open, however, you had to re-enter the 4-digit code to get the lock-box door to close.

Is it normal to have to enter the code again to get the box to close shut? I will look at the Vault Locks 3200 on Amazon. Thanks David. --68.63.xxx.xxx

Lockboxes so far (by Doogie [KS]) Posted on: Jan 10, 2019 8:06 AM

Congratulations! It is such a time saver!

The worst issue I've had so far is a light left on. I ask the people to text me when they leave and about 80% of them do. I change the code once a week or every other week. When I have 4 or 5 vacancies, it is such a relief to not have to spend so much time there. I've saved so much money on gas it's ridiculous. Of course, pre-screening is the key, but it works!

Roy - I use the same locks as Sid and they work great. Just ordered 3 more. Just an FYI, they are quite a bit cheaper online. It's nice to have Lowes as a backup if you need one immediately though. --98.175.xxx.xxx

Lockboxes so far (by NE [PA]) Posted on: Jan 10, 2019 8:08 AM

Doogie and Sid, The number of vacancies at the same time was the driving force behind my decision to do this. I physically could not be in every place at the same time to show these properties. I ultimately had no other choice. In order to increase and/or maintain the frequency of showings at a level I needed to maintain. --174.201.xx.xx

Lockboxes so far (by Robert J [CA]) Posted on: Jan 10, 2019 9:15 AM

Why not park your cars all over the city and allow anyone to take them for a test drive with only their drivers license information? A car is only worth around 20K and a rental can be worth 100k to half a million. But wait, you have a LockBox and only the person you "feel" is okay, will you give them the keys to the Kingdom.


Lockboxes so far (by David [MI]) Posted on: Jan 10, 2019 9:53 AM

roy, the Vault Locks 3200 stays "unlocked" once the correct combo is set, no matter how many times you open and close it. It is only "locked" when you scramble the combo --198.135.xxx.xxx

Lockboxes so far (by S i d [MO]) Posted on: Jan 10, 2019 10:28 AM

Come on down off the high horse, Robert...

I know you live in the socialist state of California where squatters are treated like kings, but the rest of us don't and this method works for us. I defended your right to tell stories yesterday, so now you can listen to some of ours! ;-)

As with any new technique, there is fear of what if X, or Y, or Z happens? So what we should be doing is finding SOLUTIONS to those concerns.

I've already posted a dozen times here how I mention that my handyman will be "in and out all week", implying in my town that a redneck with a pick up with a shot gun rack across the back window could be showing up at any time. Think there are squatters/vandals lining up to try tackling that? No, they're looking for timid, non-professional Ma and Pa land lords who insist on coming to showings live so they can beat them up and steal their wad of cash they carry around since they still pick up rents in person.

I also text, "please be sure to let me know if you don't make it over because we stop by frequently to change the code." Another touch-point where someone could be showing up at any time. Frequently to most people means, "every day". To me, it means once a week....maybe every 2 weeks. I let the implication remain vague.

I've been doing it for almost 5 years now and had nothing more than 1 poopy toilet to clean and a few lights left on. All total, I estimate saving over $10,000 in time, gasoline, no-shows, faster turn-overs (less vacancy cost) and the freedom is AMAZING! Think of what this could do for you if you could figure out a way to get it work reliably. How many vacancies are you/your helpers showing every year? Figure each one costs you a minimum of $100-$150 in time, gas, mileage, etc. multiplied by dozens or hundreds of units.

Isn't it worth at least thinking about how to make it work vs. dismissing it? --173.20.xxx.xxx

Lockboxes so far (by S i d [MO]) Posted on: Jan 10, 2019 10:32 AM

I was unclear on my figures of $10,000 saved. The minimum of $100-$150 per turn-over saved didn't include rent lost due to vacancy and utilities paid. Used to take me a month to turn a unit over back in my old days of in-person showing. With lock box, I'm down to 3 days on average. So add $500 additional rent earned plus $50-$60 less in utilities per turn-over vs. the old way. --173.20.xxx.xxx

Lockboxes so far (by David [MI]) Posted on: Jan 10, 2019 4:11 PM

I think some technology , like webcams and keyless smart deadbolts , would go along way towards satisfying a lot of concerned posters . --50.4.xxx.x

Lockboxes so far (by NE [PA]) Posted on: Jan 10, 2019 4:35 PM

You might be on to something David. Retina scan lock boxes. --50.107.xxx.xxx

Lockboxes so far (by Otis [IL]) Posted on: Jan 10, 2019 7:02 PM

I thought you guys were all nuts when I started reading about lockbox showings. Now that I have done a few I will never go back to open houses.

I also use the same lockbox ds that SID has. Haven't had a problem with them. Had a push button one before and people had trouble opening and closing it so it went in the trash. --45.18.xxx.xxx

Lockboxes so far (by Hoosier [IN]) Posted on: Jan 10, 2019 10:31 PM

This is great reading...can you describe briefly what "prescreening" you do to allow someone in? I saw the drivers license text...but what else? --99.92.xxx.xxx

Lockboxes so far (by BRAD 20,000 [IN]) Posted on: Jan 11, 2019 2:13 AM

NE, Congrats! on your COURAGE to step out of your comfort zone to grow! I've been preaching this for years and you finally believe!

I've been doing lockbox style for 23 years (we just left them unlocked for YEARSSS, then put the 0000 code on all website, answering machines, and flyers. Just recently started using real codes dues to squatters and drug overdoses in empty homes.)

We average 50 leases per year x 23 years = 1150 new leases via this method. Old average was 10 lookers per lease so that's 11,500 showings I did not have to do.

Now that we require a completed app and some screening before giving out the code we are averaging 2-3 lockbox "showings" per new lease. I believe our homes rent faster than the competition because the applicant can go on their schedule without the hassle of texts back and forth trying to set up a showing.

I cannot count the number of times I'm signing a lease and the new res gets a call from a competing LL to set up a showing. With caller ID they hit IGNORE.

We do a few things to prep:

-remove toilet paper. TP encourages use.

-shut off water main

-in non-heating season shut off furnace at the service switch AND the breaker. Winter set it to 55 and check after each showing.

-remove window air

-bolt down the stove with lag bolts.

-flyers and apps on the kitchen counter, and on the sign

-walk thru the house at least once a week Locks keep honest people out. And 1/8"glass window is not going to stop a thief.

Again, congrats! BRAD --73.102.xxx.xxx

Lockboxes so far (by Chris [CT]) Posted on: Jan 11, 2019 10:15 AM

I wish I could do this. In my state all the prospects need is a change of locks and a fake lease, and I have squatters.

Police won't do anything its a civil matter, 3 months to evict if they don't fight it. --24.187.xxx.xx

Lockboxes so far (by Barb [MO]) Posted on: Jan 11, 2019 10:24 AM

I usually have residents in my homes when Iím showing, so I need to be there.

Iíve got one completely empty now that was just repainted and cleaned. Got a lock box on it since the painter and cleaner needed it. In a duplex, and son lives next door. Seems like a perfect time to do a lock box showing!

Iíve had it on FB for advertising and no one is meeting the ore-screening, but the students needing a last minute place will be in next week. Since I canít drive or walk right now, using the lock box after someone pre-qualifies will be perfect. My son should be able to walk through it at the end of every day to make sure the toilet doesnít need to be flushed and the lights are off. --64.251.xxx.xxx

Lockboxes so far (by GKARL [PA]) Posted on: Jan 11, 2019 11:23 AM

Can't do this for rooms, but I'm going to try this with my multi the next time through. --172.58.xxx.xxx

Lockboxes so far (by Mike45 [NV]) Posted on: Jan 11, 2019 12:03 PM

As Chris [CT] points out, it is in large part a question of how hard it would be to remove squatters.

If I give a prospective applicant the code to a lock box, and that lets him get the key to the house, all he has to do is go to Office Depot and buy a form lease, fill it in, and move in. He and his buddies then have a house to live in for the next few months. "It's a civil matter."

If I turn off the utilities (which were on because before I put on a lockbox, I would have complete my rehab of the now vacant unit), the Court will order me to turn th utiltiies back on immediately! No self-help eviction, even of squatters.

Rehabbing after tenants move out, even complete pigs of tenants, is NOTHING like rehabbing after squatters move out!


Lockboxes so far (by Sisco [MO]) Posted on: Jan 11, 2019 12:04 PM

Chris, wouldn't a CT landlord be in the same predicament if squatters broke in and changed locks? or simply push the LL out at the showing then changed locks?


Lockboxes so far (by Larry [MA]) Posted on: Jan 12, 2019 3:50 AM

For what is' worth...if I had a squatter... I'd evict 'em personally. (self help). --70.92.xx.xx

Lockboxes so far (by Tim [IN]) Posted on: Jan 12, 2019 6:14 AM

Did lockbox once. Cost me $350 to get a new AC lineset. Ever since, I have done this...

-website with pics,vids, and on line application.

-people have to fill out an application

-i screen the application

- contact them and schedule a showing

-next is lease signing

Pro: you are there for showing, always pre-approved, so not wasting your time for showings to collect application, rental unit is locked up

Downside: need to take good pics and vids, be website savvy --73.9.xxx.xxx

Lockboxes so far (by Ray-N-Pa [PA]) Posted on: Jan 14, 2019 7:21 PM

A lock box does wonders in letting in contractors too. --72.23.xxx.xx

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