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What is a Lock Box?

Safes are used to store valuable items.
Real estate lock boxes allow agents and potential buyers to view homes that are for sale.
Jewelry should be placed in a lock box for safekeeping when not being worn.
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  • Written By: Ken Black
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 07 November 2014
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    Conjecture Corporation
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A lock box can be a number of different things, but is commonly a small box that has lock and key or combination access. Usually, they are no bigger than a microwave oven and are meant to keep only a few valuables. Lock boxes can be used to protect a number of different things, such as keys and even guns, keeping such items safely out of the reach of children and other unauthorized individuals. Some lock boxes, or safes, are used to protect valuable documents, money and jewelry from fire.

In the medical community, a lock box is simply a box that hangs on the back of a door that can be used to temporarily store specimens for pickup. If a medical driver cannot make it to the office before it closes, a lock box is a safe option. Both the medical office and driver have keys that will work on the lock box.

In a hotel room, a lock box will usually have a numbered keypad which can easily be reset when there is a need to do so. Most hotel guests reset the keypad whenever they first use it, simply because they may not know the previous combination or to make sure no one else knows the combination. These are known as combination lock boxes.

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Lock boxes are also useful for real estate applications. Many homeowners will put a real estate lock box somewhere on their home. Inside that box is a key that will unlock the house. Only bona fide real estate offices and agents will have access to the combination which holds the key. Therefore, the lock box can provide access to the home even when the owner, or listing agent, is not available.

In some cases, to add even further security, electronic lock boxes may be used. These boxes have a microprocessor inside that will only allow certain keys to open them. Thus, they are harder for criminals to pick. The only way they can be unlocked is with a key that has a microchip the electronic lock box will accept.

A lock box can either be attached to a permanent surface, such as a wall, or be free standing. The freestanding models should only be used when there is very little concern of them being stolen, or when there are sufficient hiding places for it. While lock boxes are generally heavier items, many are still capable of being carried away, if a criminal is given the opportunity.

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Discuss this Article

live2shop
Post 9

When we were selling our house, it was very convenient having a realtor lock box on our door. We all worked so it was great that the realtor could bring people in to show our home.

It's difficult enough to get people to look at real estate in these bad economic times. So if there were no lock boxes, there wouldn't be much chance of people viewing your home if they had to wait until you were at home.

Esther11
Post 8

I have a lock box where I put important papers, a few pieces of jewelry and some family photos. They are a good thing for several reasons. You know where everything, like your passport, is located. It's protection in case of fire - although I wonder if they are really fire-proof.

I actually wish that I had bought a larger one. I am getting more and more documents that I would like to put in safekeeping.

Mykol
Post 7

If you have your home on the market, having a real estate lock box can be pretty convenient. Realtor lock boxes are pretty common, but one disadvantage is that you always need to leave your house clean and ready to be shown.

It does make it convenient for the real estate agents so they don't have to track down a key or wait for someone to meet them there, but it still feels strange knowing people can enter my home when I am not there.

We have a small, cheap lock box in our house that we keep an assortment of keys in that we don't use very often. This way we always know where all the spare keys are and don't have to go rummaging through drawers to find the right keys.

I try to keep all of them labeled when I put them in the box so I know what they are for. This works great as long as you remember what you did with the key to the lock box!

SarahSon
Post 6

Whenever I travel, I always like to find a hotel that has a lock box in the room.

This makes it so convenient when you are traveling with electronic devices that you don't want to carry around with you all day long.

Most of them are big enough to hold a lap top and a camera. I have also used them to store e-readers and extra credit cards that I didn't want to carry with me.

I always use the same code whenever I use one so I don't forget the combination. I just have more peace of mind knowing my valuables are locked up while I am away from the room for an extended period of time.

kylee07drg
Post 5

I have a lock box with a key, but I did not know when I bought it that it had a removable compartment for sorting cash. I took that out of there for more space.

I bought it to store CDs with photos on them. I have them on my computer, but if it should ever die, I wanted to have a backup, because some of the people in these photos are no longer living, so the pictures are irreplaceable.

This lock box is not very tall, but it serves my purposes. All I have in it are CDs and a few important papers. The bigger lock boxes were more expensive, so I thought this one should do just fine.

Oceana
Post 4

@seag47 - There are plenty of fireproof lock boxes out there. You just have to check to make sure they don’t only claim to be “fire resistant.”

Fire resistant lock boxes can resist the heat from a fire only up to a certain temperature. If a fire burns long enough, it will exceed that temperature, and your stuff will be lost.

I have a fireproof lock box, and though it has never been through a fire, I believe that it would keep my valuables safe. It sure is thick and heavy enough to seem indestructible.

seag47
Post 3

I just naturally assumed that all lock boxes are fireproof, but my friend recently told me that the heat from a house fire could melt the metal. Is this true?

I have a heavy metal lock box in which I store valuable documents, like my social security card and my car title. Now I’m afraid that I could lose them if the house ever catches fire.

Is there a type of lock box that is fireproof? If so, that’s the kind I want.

lighth0se33
Post 2

I stayed at a hotel that had a lock box, but it was the older kind with an actual key. This hotel still gave out room keys instead of cards, so their lock boxes had the same design.

I used it to store my vacation money, but I hated taking that key down to the beach with me. I buried both the lock box key and the room key in the sand underneath my beach chair, hoping I could find them again.

If they had combination lock boxes instead, it would be much easier on guests. I imagine a lot of people who stay in beach hotels have issues about what to do with bulky keys.

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