We refer to lockboxes that track showing activity as electronic lockboxes and boxes that do not track data as mechanical lockboxes. Electronic boxes are purchased by Realtors(R) through their local Association of Realtors(R). They are not available through any other vendor outside of the local Association. Why is this? Each association contracts with a supplier and then sells these boxes right back to their own members. This is an enormous source of revenue for the Associations. The association does not have to worry about competition, thus, they can sell these boxes to their members at extremely high margins. Mechanical boxes on the other hand can be purchased anywhere by anybody. I should point out that certain MLS’s have banned the use of mechanical boxes all together. (Sacramento for example)
Suppliers of E boxes – Basically, there are 2 different suppliers that local Associations can purchase boxes from – Sentrilock and Supra. The thing to remember is that a particular association can only be set up on one system, thus, the association must make a choice. They either want all Sentrilock boxes or all Supra Boxes. They can’t have both. Examples – Phoenix, Las Vegas, Austin, DFW, etc.. are all set up on the Supra System. San Diego, Lake Havasu, Grand Rapids, etc.. are all on Sentrilock.
Pros – Cons
Supra – Extremely easy to use for the Realtor, supra website is set up so that the Realtor(R) can pull showing activity easily for each box, lighter weight. Cons – key jams are not uncommon, shackles break, you must update your D or Active Key constantly to be able to use the box.
Sentrilock – Key Tray and Shackle are much more dependable, a simple light weight card is used to access each box, multiple functions can be performed while at the lockbox. Cons – heavy and extremely odd looking device, extremely confusing and difficult to operate for new Realtors(R)
Overall – Both boxes are functional and serve a valuable purpose. I’d like to see Realtors(R) be able to purchase boxes straight from the source instead of getting gouged by the local associations.