The Great Phoenix Lockbox Easter Egg Hunt

avatarthumbnail.jpgHere’s a basic fact of life in Phoenix – any metal exposed to the sun for any length of time in the summer is going to get hot. In fact, it won’t get just hot but melt the skin from your fingers hot.

So imagine the heat build up for a metal lockbox affixed to the south-facing side of a home and the smell of burned skin that will waft when an unsuspecting agent attempts to open said lockbox.


Maybe the visual comparison to the heat shield on an Apollo capsule is a little bit extreme but if so, only just. Or so it seems when it’s 100-odd degrees and the 10-minute search for the lockbox ends with third-degree burns.

Apparently, the idea of a lockbox on the front door of a home has become passe. True, the presence of a lockbox could give a would-be robber a hint that a property is vacant but it’s unclear how a lockbox hanging on a hosebib (or, for those who like losing lockboxes to bolt cutters, the gas pipes – the gas companies really, really don’t like this) is any less obvious.

Or maybe it’s just as obvious, which is the reasoning behind what turns into the Easter egg hunts some of you used to enjoy in your backyard. And not the happy kind of Easter egg hunts sponsored by your local municipality where you have to actively try not to trip over an egg or candy or whatever.

The entire issue seems to be exacerbated these days by the volume of bank owned homes and short sales, and the accompanying rise in the use of lockbox contractors – companies whose sole purpose is to attached a lockbox to a property in a location almost as easy to discover as El Dorado and all using one of the four codes that seem to unlock 70 percent of all the lockboxes in Phoenix.

Since these aren’t agents affixing the boxes, the logic applied to lockbox location doesn’t really come into play. To a contractor, it makes perfect sense to hide a lockbox behind some baby palms and shrubbery as impermeable as a French hedgerow; they’re only going to have to see it one more time when it’s removed, so why not.

On hosebibs, on patios, on porches and gas pipes. On air conditioning and gates, and for burns use baby wipes. (Yes, I’m too damned tired to come up with a rhyme. Feel free to enter your own suggestion below.)

Still, this missive is mostly inspired by one lockbox that had me totally flummoxed. Only the eagle eyes of my client saved us from continuing to look for another 20 minutes. And when it was done, I was reminded of the eggs my dad would hide – your dad must have done the same – choosing a location so sadistically twisted there was almost no way the egg ever was going to be found (except by smell a week later.)

[tags]Phoenix real estate[/tags]

Jonathan Dalton

Jonathan Dalton is a 40-plus-year resident of the Valley and has been helping folks buy and sell homes since 2004. He can be reached at 602-502-9693 or info at


  • Jim Little 8 years ago

    Thanks for this. The practice of putting the box anywhere but the front door is stupid and inconsiderate in most cases. Put it on the door when possible. I have dumped the contents of my pockets, burned my fingers, bumped my head hard enough to bleed and deen attacked by carniverous plants.

  • Portland Real Estate 8 years ago

    I know that there is a little benefit to not letting people know that the house is vacant, but I have to agree that the best place for the lockbox is the front door. If the doors are locked up, then there should be no trouble displaying the lockbox on the door because there is nothing inside worth stealing.


  • Jim Zirbes 8 years ago

    Have you ever seen the “Ode to the Lockbox” poem a local Realtor here authored? If not, let me know & I’ll post it here for you…it’s pretty funny!

Comments are closed.