This article is sponsored by Pop-A-Lock.
Packing, booking movers, changing addresses, unpacking, trying to set up your bed again even though you lost the instructions — moving is overwhelming and with so many steps to remember it’s easy to forget something. So although we hate to add to your list, there’s one more important step that you may not have considered when moving into a new home: changing your locks.
If your initial reaction is “why?”, we get it. It may seem pointless to change your locks, especially if you’re the first to move into your home. But it’s not pointless and is actually important to your home’s safety, which is why we’ve outlined some key reasons (no pun intended) why you should always change your locks when you move into a new place:
Why changing your locks is important
When moving, feeling safe and secure in your new place is important, and changing your locks helps provide that peace of mind. Even if you think your locks are secure, there are a number of circumstances that can make it a good idea to change them and provide that added peace of mind. These include:
1. You have no idea how many copies of your keys are floating around
With all due respect to your home’s previous residents, their friends, or their family members – we’re sure they’re very lovely, trustworthy people! – any one of them could potentially still have copies of your keys. Or worse, may have lost them.
Even if you’re moving into a newly built home, you don’t know who accessed it during the construction period. Builders and other tradespeople at some point may have worked on your home and had copies of your key.
2. Keys were loaned to a service provider
Perhaps the previous residents did some renovations or hired a cleaning service before you moved in. As thoughtful as they were, now that you’ve taken possession, it’s good practice to change the locks. Even if those service providers were someone they knew, you always want to be cautious when it comes to protecting your home.
3. There’s a divorce or family dispute
Relationships can be difficult and don’t always end the way you like. Whether it’s a relationship with a partner or family member, if that relationship sours and they have a key, you need to protect your home and change the locks.
4. There’s been a break-in
In Canada, neighborhoods that have been burglarized in the past are 12 times more likely to be burglarized again. Once burglars succeed in breaking into a house, they’re likely to hit up a home (read: yours) nearby that tends to have a similar layout. So even if your neighbor was the victim, chances are good you might be the next.
5. Locks aren’t functioning properly because they’re old and worn out
No, it’s not normal to have to twist your key locks three or four times before your door actually opens. If your locks are showing signs of wear and tear, do yourself a favour and change them.
Read more about moving 101: ten tips to help you get your first move right
How do you change locks on a new home? DIY or Professional?
There are two ways to change door locks on a new home: DIY or hire a professional. The DIY way (which we don’t suggest) and hiring a professional, which is the safest and surest way to make sure your locks are changed right.
Changing your locks DIY
Is it possible to change your locks on your own? Sure. But here at MoveSnap, we suggest you hire a professional. They have the tools, the experience, and can offer multiple options for changing your locks. For example, changing your locks is different from rekeying your locks, which Pete Crouse, CEO of Pop-A-Lock, says is a more complex process.
“It’s just too difficult to rekey a lock without the right equipment and knowledge. Working with doors, cutting holes and mortises in the door are tricky. You can easily make mistakes if you don’t know what you are doing.”
Attempting the DIY route also means you lose out on the potential warranty. That added layer of accountability is something only a professional can offer.
Hiring a professional to change your locks
When moving into a new place, you already have so much on your plate. That’s why you should take any opportunity to make your move easier and reduce some of that stress. Using MoveSnap is the first place to start (if we do say so ourselves!), but hiring a professional to change your locks – someone who can do it quickly and give you the peace of mind that it’s done right – is another one of those opportunities. The time it would take to figure out how to do it on your own, purchase the tools and parts, then actually change them, could be spent on parts of the moving process you actually enjoy.
Options for updating the locks on your house
It’s also important to note there are different ways to change your locks.
Rekeying replaces the locking mechanism, rather than the entire lock, so the old keys won’t work. A benefit to rekeying is that it’s possible to set up a master key system, in which a single key opens all doors. This is typically done in apartment complexes when new renters move in. Expect to spend $150-$175 to rekey your entire home.
Replacing a lock means that the entire body of the lock will be different. Since a locksmith has to acquire a new lockset for the door, it can be a much more costly process than rekeying the lock, but with the added benefit of being able to customize or upgrade your home security. Expect to spend between $300-$600 depending on the hardware and styles.
As technology improves, more homeowners are trusting smart locks to secure their homes. According to Crouse, “Smart lock technology provides the benefits of convenience; using your phone to open the lock, using a keypad, changing the combination as needed and in some cases – if connected to a smart home – smart locks allow you to manage the lock remotely to monitor who is coming and going and allow people into the home if needed while you are away.” Smart locks range in cost from $250-$500 each.
Can renters change locks?
If you’re a tenant in a rental home or apartment, you may wonder if you can change your locks. The answer is yes, but ONLY with written permission from your landlord. If you’ve lost your key or have experienced a security issue, let your landlord know the urgency of the situation. One thing to note is that it’s not the landlord’s obligation to change the locks. They can, and probably should, if you feel uncomfortable or unsafe for any reason, but it’s not an obligation. Also, once you get written permission, you can hire someone to change the locks yourself. You don’t need to wait for the landlord to do it. Just be sure to provide them with the new key.
As a renter, your best bet is to request the locks changed before signing your lease agreement. This way, the landlord will be obligated to change locks at their expense prior to you moving in. There are slight variations for each province and territory about how locks can be changed, but all regions require you to obtain permission from your landlord.
How to choose the best locksmith
Finding a qualified locksmith requires more than a quick Google search. Here are some questions to ask before scheduling a service:
- Does the locksmith specialize in residential properties or commercial properties?
- Does your insurance cover the cost of locksmiths? Some home insurance covers locksmith services.
- What is the price? Get multiple quotes to compare. Also, don’t just look at their online price. Call for a quote on your specific lock(s).
- Does the locksmith have a license or certification? While your province or territory might not require one, it’s worth asking about their qualifications and requesting to see a valid driver’s license before hiring.
Do they have a rating on the Better Business Bureau? This will give you an indication of the quality of their service as the BBB only approves quality locksmiths with great ratings and reviews, and monitors complaints
When should you hire a locksmith?
The ideal time to schedule a locksmith is the day you move into your new place. If you’re a new tenant and want new locks installed, let your landlord know when you sign the lease.
“People just don’t seem to take it seriously enough,” says Crouse. “Protect your family, protect your home…but we find that within 30 days of moving in, if people have not changed their locks, they forget to do it.”
What info does the locksmith need?
When you’re ready to call in a locksmith, they’ll need to know:
- The number of locks in your home, including back and side doors, sliding doors, and your garage.
- A description of the locks, including brand names, if the locks are deadbolted, and if the locks are built into the door handle.
- If you’re upgrading your locks, adding more locks to your home, or both.
We know how much work moving can be. You have a lot on your plate already, but changing your locks is as crucial as setting up your utilities or changing your address. The peace of mind it provides will be more than worth it.
With its A+ rating with the BBB, Pop-A-Lock offers lock repair and installation, rekeying, and smart lock services for single and multi-family homes. So if you get locked out of your house, don’t break your window, just give them a call. Registered MoveSnap users can take advantage of a special offer from Pop-A-Lock to get your locks changed. Simply login to your account to view your offers.
This article offers general information only and is not intended as legal, financial or other professional advice. A professional advisor should be consulted regarding your specific situation. While information presented is believed to be factual and current, its accuracy is not guaranteed and it should not be regarded as a complete analysis of the subjects discussed. All expressions of opinion reflect the judgement of the authors as of the date of publication and are subject to change. No endorsement of any third parties or their advice, opinions, information, products or services is expressly given or implied by RBC Ventures Inc. or its affiliates.