Agent Provocateur: A key question – and how to sort it once and for all

When anything needs to happen with a property, the buggeration factor is usually the collecting, and returning, of keys. For many years, certainly the decades I’ve been around, nothing has changed.

If you’re an agent wanting to show properties you have to either spend ages ahead of the tour getting the keys from various agents, many of whom will want them during the course of your tour, creating further headaches, or you collect them whilst with your buyer or tenant – it’s time consuming and painful … for both agent and prospective buyer/tenant.

One of the reasons Viewber has been working is by using key safes. Many people seem to think this is a new way of accessing property or that it’s a risk.

Well, 30m viewings a year are carried out in the US with key safes, and police, maintenance and care services use them widely. Airbnb use them on almost all their properties and many more of your friends use them than you might think – they just haven’t talked about it.

So what are the security risks associated with using key safes? There are many different sorts, but for most people something small, tough and discreetly placed does the job. However, many agents reuse them so they’ll most likely only be on a property for a few weeks anyway.

Are there risks? Like anything the answer is yes, but if someone really wants to get into a property they’re hardly likely to be grubbing around in the dark when they can kick a door in or smash a window.

For those looking for long-term access for contractors, surveyors or inventory clerks, for example, perhaps having a mechanical key safe isn’t the answer as the contractors will know the code – well, get one of the new generation Bluetooth key safes.

As one of the biggest consumers, we’ve been test-driving some new small and really neat Bluetooth safes that give one-time use only codes that make managing distant properties with occasional contractor visits a doddle.

I think it’s time that key safes are allowed into the 21st century way of life.

We’ve contacted numerous insurance companies none of whom has a problem and we can fit a mechanical key safe for £55 + VAT, including the unit itself, or a modern all singing all dancing Bluetooth one for £140 + VAT.

In one fell swoop, agency issues with keys could be sorted and hours saved for those involved in the maintenance of properties.


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  1. Oldtimer

    Dear Ros

    Could I too have a full page advert in your excellent publication to promote our two products for keeping keys safe out here in the countryside?

    We offer a  choice of a terracotta flower pot or a brick, to place by the front door. The pot even has a convenient hole in it to insert your finger to lift it up to reveal the key, no ‘blue tooth’ required.

    We also offer a mobile phone so when no one turns up you can ring and find out what pathetic excuse they can offer for wasting your time.

    (tongue firmly in cheek)

    1. Snipster7241

      Maybe you could send the flower pot for police accreditation then it maybe as secure as a keysafe.


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