Who destroys and steals lockboxes in Hamilton? That’s the question in the minds of some real estate salespeople in Steel City.
This was after at least four lockboxes disappeared from outside the downtown condominium in early June.
This issue became apparent after an agent with a client arrived at the condo for screening and could not find the lockbox.
A listed agent, Cindy Cloutier of Heritage Realty in Waterdown, Ontario, was contacted and responded with distrust. “For 18 years, this has never happened,” Crutier told REM.
She took swift action when an image confirming the lockbox was displayed and the “other four or five” on the same railing were gone.
She warned the client, who called the building management to determine if the lockbox might have been deleted (it wasn’t). Croutier has confirmed that the homeowner’s door has been re-locked. She also called the police and shared her experience with other National Association of Realtors members on an electronic bulletin board.
A spokeswoman for the condominium company said the lockbox was being stolen “now in the city,” according to Mr. Croutier.
A Hamilton police spokesperson was unable to confirm how many reports of lockbox theft received. It’s also unclear if the thief actually succeeded in accessing one of the condos using the key from one of the lockboxes.
Rob Golfi, team leader at Re / Max Escarpment Golfi Realty, says anyone who did this thought a lot about it. “It’s not easy to separate them (lockboxes) …”
“In my theory, this is done by someone who looks up a condo property with a realtor, or a friend of the realtor, who break in and enter the house with the key. You saw the opportunity, “he says.
Unfortunately, the railing was too close to the building to detect any movement, so the security camera couldn’t capture what happened at Clooutier’s client condo.
As Golfi points out, even if a security camera captures a lockbox intrusion, it can be difficult to identify the culprit these days. Everyone wears masks because of COVID-19, and when you add sunglasses and caps, they are well hidden.
So how can sales reps reduce the risk of lockbox theft? Golfi says you can start by removing the lockbox after the transaction is completed. Too often, he says, you can see 10 or 20 gadgets gathered in one railing.
As soon as the property is sold, Croutier says he will change the lockbox code to make it inaccessible to anyone who passes through the house.
“Everyone should do that. Only the buyer’s agent has the new code. Many keep it in the box. Add a new one or change the code. Would you like it? That’s really important,“ she says.
From time to time the agent came up with other solutions. According to Golfie, an agent has approached him about hanging a lockbox outside the office and will not be exhibited right outside the property for sale. However, he says, it can be inconvenient for agents and clients, and finding another location is not always possible.
According to Golfi, at least for condominiums, the safest way is to install a lockbox on the door of the unit rather than outside the building. This requires the supervisor to open the front door of the building to accommodate agents and buyers. “Supervisors don’t like it, but it’s probably the best way to do it,” he says. You can leave it firmly to the attendant.
Meanwhile, Crutier then sold his client Hamilton Condo. But she didn’t install another lockbox. “We have found an alternative,” she says. “The client has a keypad on the front door, so I had to ring the units and she could put them on the phone and got the keypad instead of the key.”
After her previous experience, Crutier is especially cautious. “I don’t leave another lockbox there.”