Is your new home secure? Why you should change the locks when you move house
Those of you who follow me on Instagram will know that one of my buyers recently found themselves with no keys to their new flat. Not only was the situation very inconvenient, but it also meant that the flat wasn’t safe and secure – who had the other keys?! While most sellers are honourable people, it’s still really important that buyers change the locks as soon as possible once they’ve moved in.
Who gets the new keys and when?
When you buy a new house, you will receive your new keys on completion day, after the money has been transferred to the sellers. Sellers should vacate the property on completion day so that there is no risk to either side posed by someone living in the property who has no financial claim on it. The sellers will give the estate agent (me!) all of the keys to the property, including spare sets, window keys, entrance fobs etc.
How could this compromise the security of my new home?
The risk is that the estate agent won’t actually receive all the sets of keys to a house.
Take a moment to think of how many sets of keys you’ve had cut over the years. Did you collect them back from previous lodgers? Did your builder give you the key back once the new bathroom was fitted? What about those ones you asked your neighbour to keep in case you ever got locked out? If it’s a family house you’re selling, have you reminded your teenagers (notorious key-losers) to find all the sets they’ve lost? When you think about how many sets of keys you’ve had cut for the house you’re in at the moment, it stands to reason that the people you’re buying your new property from will probably have just as many sets! And while I hope you trust your seller, there’s no knowing if you can trust the people they’ve given their keys to.
Could you get out of your home in an emergency?
Security aside, there’s also a risk that you won’t receive a key to every door. For example, if you’re buying a house with a front door and side door, and the previous owners only ever used the side door, there’s a chance that the front door key is just lost and won’t be there to pick up on completion day. Translate this into a real situation – could you get out through the front door if there were an emergency?
Change the locks soon after you move house
The solution to both these problems is to change the locks as soon as possible after you move house. If you and your household are the only people to have keys, you’re the only people who will be able to get in, no matter who has lived there before you. And if you have full access to all the doors and windows, you’ll always be able to get out in the event of an emergency.
Buy and sell property in East London and Hertfordshire
If you’re buying or selling property, I’m here to help. For sound advice and solid sales experience, give me, Adam Dockley, a call today on 020 3633 4440.
PS – you can watch my video about missing keys here…