Purchasing a home is an important life event for most Americans, as home ownership represents most people’s largest investment. There are many tasks new homeowners need to complete to take ownership of their new home, including having locks installed, changed or repaired
More than 4.6 million homes were sold in the U.S. last year, a significant improvement from the previous year’s home sales and evidence that the economy is recovering. Although a lot of homes changed hands, many new homeowners neglected to do the one thing that could greatly reduce their risk of a burglary or home invasion – change or upgrade the locks to their home.
Old locks can be a major vulnerability for a home, as a new homeowner will not know how many spare keys are in existence and who has them. Should keys get into the wrong hands, new homeowners could be the victim of property or violent crime.
Why to Change The Locks?
Changing locks will make a home inaccessible to holders of old keys, and help the new homeowner control access to his or her new home, giving the homeowner control over who has keys to the residence. Rental property owners should also change locks when former tenants vacate a property to ensure the property remains secure. When getting locks installed, homeowners should be sure to have both a traditional spring lock and a deadbolt installed to improve their home’s defense against intruders. Most burglaries involve forced entry, and having a deadbolt to compliment a traditional lock will improve homeowners’ ability to deter intruders.
Homeowners who intend to keep existing locks should have them repaired if necessary to keep them from sticking or to fix other mechanical problems. Homeowners can also have deadbolts re-keyed to make old keys incompatible with the lock, improving home security.
For a qualified locksmith, installing or repairing existing residential locks is a relatively easy task and should take only an hour or less in most cases.
In addition to having locks installed, changed or repaired, new homeowners should also take the time to:
- Check out the house and make a list of essential items that did not come with the home, such as new curtains, a microwave, blinds, etc. Then go about price shopping to find these items and get them into the new home.
- Make contact with a pest control service to handle spraying and other pest control-related tasks.
- Consider installing a home security system to provide additional protection from intruders.
- Ensure all fire extinguishers and other safety equipment is functional and easy to access in the event of an emergency.
- Make sure their life insurance is adequate to cover the cost of the mortgage, should they die unexpectedly – this is to keep their heirs from having to assume the debt.
- Make all necessary address and registration changes, including updating their driver’s license if necessary.