SentriLock: The Southern Maryland Association of REALTORS® was the first in the region to use the SentriLock Lock Box service. Since our conversion from the old MULTACC service in 2006, the entire metro area has converted to the same system. The change offers significant advantages to all REALTORS® in the area.
Why pay for this expensive electronic box when combos are so much cheaper? Security. Combination boxes cannot track who accessed the property. Lost or stolen electronic keys can be disabled within seconds without having to replace the box. Electronic lockboxes eliminate the temptation to re-use the same combination across many lock boxes or to publish combinations in the MLS comments. A lost or stolen set of keys or a combination list would require visiting every property with an affected box. REALTORS® have a responsibility to provide the most secure service possible for their clients.
I have heard Sentrilock boxes are not weatherproof. Is this true? SentriLock warrants its boxes against all weather conditions with the exception of sleet and/or freezing rain and total immersion in water for extended periods. Protective covers for silver boxes further minimize an already extremely low risk of weather-related damage. The exceptions for sleet and freezing rain have more to do with damage to the keypads from owners attempting to chip away ice with sharp tools than any electronic or mechanical failure of the box. Water should not damage the box as long as it can drain away without leaving the box submerged.
I see various colors/styles of the lockboxes. Why the difference? As technology has changed, SentriLock has worked to improve the functionality of their boxes. In doing so, the appearance of each generation of boxes has changed. All boxes will work with your electronic key and no software upgrade is necessary.
Can I turn in older lockboxes for newer ones? No. Once you buy the box, it's yours. However, it is likely that older boxes will gradually be replaced by the newer ones through normal warranty-related replacements.
Can I sell or give away my boxes? Yes. The boxes belong to you and you may sell or give them away if you like. But before you do this, please contact SMAR and coordinate the transfer of your boxes while both your card and the recipient's card are still active. It will speed the process considerably. You may also use our online form here.
Do I need a card reader? Yes - a card reader is used to renew your card as well as transmit data from your card to the SentriLock website. However, you may not need to buy one depending upon your needs. Most offices have card readers for their offices and SMAR has one for member use. You may also renew your card by calling SentriLock support, but there is a limit to how many times you may renew over the phone to ensure the data stored on your card is eventually transmitted to the SentriLock website via a card reader. Also, the card reader itself is not a proprietary item. Any card reader that will read the smart cards used by SentriLock and will work with the free card utility.
I have my own card reader already built into my PC. What else do I need? You need to download the card software utility here.
What type of batteries do I need for the lockboxes? The silver boxes use a camera battery that amounts to two "AA" batteries joined together by a tab soldered on the top. These batteries are readily available in stores or may be purchased from SMAR. Replacement requires removing two screws using a special hex key that can also be found in local hardware stores or obtained from SMAR. The blue boxes have their batteries inside the keysafe compartment. These boxes use a pair of 2/3 size AA camera batteries which are also available in stores, online, or at SMAR.
How long do the batteries last? The batteries used by all boxes have a shelf life of 5-7 years. However, there are other factors that can affect battery life such as weather and the type of box (new vs. a replacement box that is shipped with used batteries).
How do I know when I need to replace the batteries? The message light on a lockbox with weak batteries will light up to warn users that the box is underpowered months before they fail. SentriLock also recently released an enhancement that emails lock box owners when their box reports an underpowered battery. Also, if you release the shackle or open the key safe and notice that the motor sounds slow or labored, consider replacing the batteries as soon as possible. It's better to do it ahead of time when it hasn't reached a critical stage then wait for the box to fail on the listing.
What if the battery has already died on a blue box and I can't open it? Use the "Power Paddle." This device is available at SMAR for checkout and is also available for purchase from SentriLock. It provides enough power to access the box for battery replacement, shackles removal, or retrieval of keys.
What do I do if my SentriCard, Card Reader, or Lockbox stops working? Contact SentriLock support and open a ticket. You'll need that ticket to get a replacement if needed. Support will have you follow a series of steps to see if the item is defective - please be patient with them. If the item is defective, you'll be able to contact SMAR for a replacement unless otherwise noted.
My lockbox has to be cut off a listing. Now what? Sometimes the issue cannot be fixed on the spot and a box must be cut. SentriLock knows this is inconvenient and works hard to mitigate the impact. They will arrange a visit by a locksmith to cut the box. They will arrange retrieval of the keys and return the keys to the owner with the locksmith. The locksmith will ship the cut box back to SentriLock. All follow up is handled by SentriLock support. All you need to do is take your ticket number to SMAR along with your updated smart card to receive a replacement box. As soon as the determination is made that the box must be cut, you may come to SMAR for your replacement box. There is no cost to you for the locksmith, the shipping, or the replacement box under warranty.
Can I access boxes in Virginia? Can Virginia agents access boxes in Maryland? Can I use a Maryland issued lockbox in Virginia and vice-versa? The Virginia associations that handle the counties closest to Maryland have converted to SentriLock as well. The lockbox and key cards are the same, however, a little extra work is required to permit use across licensing jurisdictions. In general, Maryland-issued cards only open Maryland-issued boxes by default. You must have access to other jurisdictions activated on your keycard by the SMAR staff. We will coordinate with the appropriate association and licensing authority to verify the status and notify you when access is possible. Although it can be done faster, please allow 1-2 days for this process to be completed. SMAR does not have 100% control over when these requests are acted upon, so we cannot guarantee a speedy turnaround. A similar situation exists with lockboxes. They are coded to work with cards within a certain licensing jurisdiction. A Maryland lockbox placed on a Virginia listing can only be opened by someone with a Maryland-issued card or a Virginia-issued card with Maryland access as described above. Boxes can be "told" that they are to be placed on Virginia listings so that Virginia-issued cards may open them as well. The fastest way to get this done is to call SentriLock support before you're ready to place the box on the listing. The process takes only a few minutes, but it is best to do it before you leave for the listing rather than when you're at the property.
Do you have a suggestion for our FAQ list? Email Kelly Raley and let us know.