How to Open a Real Estate Lock Box

by Abaigeal Quinn; Updated September 26, 2017

Home sellers often have their residence equipped with a secure lockbox, a device that attaches to the front doorknob of a home and allows agents access to show the property when the client is not home or unavailable. Lockboxes are hollow metal containers which house another smaller box inside that contains a key to the property. Once the lockbox is opened, the smaller case slides out. Lockboxes offer a safe alternative to handing out individual keys to agents while the home is on the market.

Step 1

Obtain the electronic key. Most lockboxes contain a minute microprocessor inside that requires an electronic key code to release the mechanism to open it. Electronic key codes can only be obtained by people who are members of the local Multiple Listing Service, or MLS. This includes real estate agents.

Step 2

Punch in or dial on the mechanism the correct electronic key code obtained from the MLS. This usually consists of four numbers in a specified sequence.

Step 3

Release the slide latch in order to free the smaller box from the container. Latches slide either top-to-bottom or visa versa.

Step 4

Remove the smaller box from the container and access the key compartment. Do not lock the box back in place until you are ready to leave the premises.

Step 5

When you are finished in the home, replace the key and lock the box back up again to reset it. Agents are not allowed to share electronic key sequences with other agents and each agent is assigned their own identifiable code. This helps to identify who is entering the home and records the time and date when they enter and leave.


  • Advise homeowners to remove extra house keys that may be on hooks in the home or garage when they place their home on the market to be shown to strangers.

    All prescription drugs should also be removed by the homeowner while their home is on the market; people will open doors and cabinets.

About the Author

Abaigeal Quinn works as an international entertainment broker in the United States. She is a former news editor and insurance agent who began writing for a daily newspaper in 1995.