Closing on a New House? Don’t Forget to Change Out the Locks
There’s nothing that quite matches the excitement of signing the closing papers on a new home. Amid all the excitement – and chaos – of closing on a new home, there’s one very important item you can’t forget to check off, your to-do list: changing the locks.
While you get the keys to your new home at the closing, you can’t know how many copies of the keys the previous owners had made and how many might still be floating around. That’s why it’s important to have the locks changed out. A professional locksmith is able to get the job done securely and quickly while you get to the other things on your list.
When You Should Change the Locks
Whenever safety and security are at risk, we recommend changing the locks or having the locks rekeyed. The most common situations requiring the locks to be changed include:
- When you have purchased a new house.
- When you have experienced a break-in or burglary.
- When you have a vacation rental property.
- When a renter or tenant has moved out.
- When a key has been stolen or gone missing.
- When a disgruntled employee has been terminated.
- When you are dealing with a messy divorce.
- When the lock has been damaged.
- When a new building owner wants to limit or inhibit access for those with old keys.
- When the locks have not been changed for years, especially for businesses and retail spaces where duplicate keys often change hands.
Plan to Change the Locks on Your New House
There are some considerations to take into account when planning to have a locksmith change the locks on a new, or new-to-you home.
Schedule the Lock Change in Advance
Scheduling a lock changing appointment ahead of time can save you both time and money. By calling beforehand, the locksmith can prepare the new locks and cut new keys at the shop before we come to switch them out. Preparing the locks and keys at the shop is quicker and, often, less expensive than working on site.
Wait a Day After Closing
Usually, new homeowners to want their door locks changed as soon as possible, but we recommend waiting a day after closing to schedule the service. While we hope our customers have smooth closings, it’s not uncommon for them to drag out when issues arise. It’s best to schedule the locksmith service for the day after closing to ensure the deal is finalized.
Have the Right Information Handy
Here’s a look at the information you should provide when you call the locksmith to help streamline the process.
Number of Locks to Change
How many entry doors are there to the home? Consider back and side doors, sliding doors and the garage.
Type of Lock
Do you need a cheaper solution? Are the keys changing hands only temporarily? You might consider simply rekeying the same locks rather than replacing the locks.
Is the current level of security around the home sufficient? If not, ask the locksmith to recommend a solution fit for the property. This may include installing deadbolts or upgrading to a smart home security system.
With this information ready, you can easily hire a locksmith to change the locks on your new home.
Factors that Impact the Cost of Changing the Locks
Professional locksmiths can efficiently replace the current lock systems on homes and commercial buildings. When it comes to estimating a total price for this service there are multiple factors to consider.
- Purchase of New Locks – Property owners can choose to select and purchase their own door locks and hardware and the locksmith will simply charge for the installation service. The other option is to consult with the locksmith, get a recommendation for the best hardware to secure that building and have them provide or order the necessary materials. Clearly, with this option, the total will include the cost of the parts installed.
- Complexity of The Lock – There is a wide selection of locks and hardware available on the market. You can choose from a lot of options and the price varies according to the material, the manufacturing brand and the complexity of the lock. The type of lock – whether a mortise lock, interchangeable core cylinder or high-security lock – have an impact on the total expenditure.
- Modifications to the Door – There will be more labor costs included if the work involves modifying the door or frame. If you have chosen to change the type of lock on the door, there may be extra work needed to accommodate the new model. If the lock design and dimensions are the same, there should be no extra labor charges for changing it.
- Locks Under Warranty – Unlike a do-it-yourself project, professional installation, repairs and replacements are guaranteed. A reliable locksmith will extend the manufacturer’s warranty for the hardware and will guarantee their work. This gives home and business owners some extra peace of mind in case there is a problem with the locks down the road.
- Number of Locks Involved – Logically, a new lock should be installed on each door that can be opened using the old key. The total price will be based on the number of locks that are changed. Be sure to note the different types of locks that are involved. It’s generally true – for residential and commercial properties – that not all doors have the same kind of lock.
- Number of Copies of Keys Required – For traditional keys, duplicates are not a big factor in the expense of changing the locks on a home.
In a commercial business or office, many people need access to the building and the different interior spaces. In this case, the number of keys that will need to be cut and copied will need to be calculated into the total.
Rekeying vs. Replacing the Lock
Rekey or replace? The decision is ultimately up to you. Though you might think that going to the local hardware store and buying replacement locks for an entry doors and doing the installation work yourself is a lot cheaper, that’s not always the case. The cost of changing the locks vs. rekeying them will depend on the type of hardware you need, the [grade of the locks, and the number of locks that need to be replaced.
For commercial properties, offices, rentals, apartment and condominium complexes a better option may be rekeying. Instead of replacing the lock and hardware, a locksmith can change out the mechanical locking mechanism so that the old keys will no longer unlock the door. Then, the lock is reset to work with a new key. When multiple locks need to be modified, rekeying is usually the more cost-effective solution.
Of course, the cost of rekeying will also vary depending on the hardware selected, the level of complexity involved in the lock mechanism, the number of locks to be rekeyed and the number of key copies needed.
Another option to keep in consideration is rekeying the doors to set up a master key system. For building managers or landlords, a master key system makes it possible to open multiple locks with one master key.
Changing and Rekeying Locks: Should I DIY?
While many people may choose to simply replace the door lock themselves, replacement can be a difficult, time consuming and expensive process. Rekeying, on the other hand, might make more sense. Specifically, rekeying is when changes are made internally to an existing lock’s configuration so that a different type of key opens it, thereby rendering the previous key obsolete.
Watch this video for quick instructions on how to change the locks on your new home.
Rekeying kits sold at your local hardware store are brand-specific and come with detailed instructions. It’s important to note that, when using a rekeying kit, you’ll need the old key to take out the lock cylinder plug.
Other Post Purchase To-Dos
It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the number of things you need to do now that you have closed on your new house.
- Make copies of closing papers and store the documents in a safe place, like a fireproof combination safe,
- Transfer utilities,
- Change your address on credit cards and other major accounts,
- Get a new driver’s license,
- Notify your car insurance, especially if your new house is in a different state,
- Contact the local property records office to confirm they have received your deed,
- Put up shades or curtains as a security measure before moving in,
- Consider maintenance necessities, like changing the HVAC filter, painting, cleaning the gutters or hiring an exterminator,
- Meet the new neighbors and enjoy your new home!
Related article: Home Security: Protecting Your New House.
Lock Services for Newly Purchased Homes
If you’ve closed – or are planning to close on a house – you owe yourself a big congratulations. Closing is just the beginning; there’s much more that needs to be done following the signing of the papers and the passing over of keys.
Great Valley Lockshop can help lighten your load. We provide locksmith services to new homeowners in Pennsylvania, Delaware, New Jersey and Maryland. For more information on changing out the locks on your house, contact Great Valley Lockshop today at (610) 644-5334 or fill out our online estimate request.