Good luck explaining the intricacies of the real estate market to someone living in New York City. In most of the rest of the country, however, lockboxes are very much a thing for realtors — a spot where they can securely leave and pick up keys for access to an apartment or house.
The products are also seeing a rise in popularity thanks to services like Airbnb, which require a key hand-off that can often be difficult with one of the two parties out of town at the time.
Like everything else these days, the lockbox is getting the connected treatment, in this case courtesy of a hardware startup based out of Dallas. Toor (as in to “tour” a home, not the anonymous software), which is coming off of a successful Kickstarter campaign and Shark Tank appearance, adds Bluetooth and cellular connectivity to the technology in an attempt to offer realtors and home owners a little added peace of mind.
With the company’s proprietary app, home owners can schedule pick-ups and approve or reject agents and potential buyers based on their profile. Using the app ties visits to specific users and lets sellers leave guests feedback based on their visit. If they, for example, forget to lock the back door, you can dock them some stars as a warning to future sellers (of course, tying sales and rentals to profiles could raise some issues around discrimination that are worth discussing).
The system features a silicone skin in a variety of different colors, a ring of LED indicators and an on-board battery that can last up to three months on a charge, alerting the owner via the app when the power is running low. When the system is engaged, the bottom of the lock opens like a mouth, revealing the storage space inside.
The Toor comes in two versions — standard and Pro, the latter of which adds cellular connectivity, so owners can remotely open the lock from afar. The company is also offering a $50 per month monitoring service aimed at realtors that includes the ability to vet gets and set appointments.
The Toor runs $149 for the standard version and $199 for Pro. It’s set to start shipping next summer.