Buying a Home: To Re-Key or Not To Re-Key

To Re-Key or Not To Re-Key When Buying a Home - That is the Question.... Is it essential or not worth the bother?

That is the question ... Theoretically when you buy a new home, the sellers are required to give you all of their keys, garage door openers and the like so you can access and enter your new home. And I'm curious to hear...when it's you in this scenario, and you're holding the keys to your new house, what do you do with these keys? Do you re-key or not re-key?

From a personal perspective, when I bought my house in Weston 10-plus years ago, I didn't re-key - nor did I even contemplate doing so. But that was just my perspective, and I was curious to hear about the experiences and thoughts of others. So I decided to do a little research on the subject, which entailed sending out a survey to some of my buyer clients and asking them which scenario below (1 - 5) best fit their thoughts about changing the locks:

  1. It never even entered my mind.
  2. Every time I buy a house, I automatically change the locks.
  3. I had a good and trusting relationship with the sellers, and so I decided not to re-key the locks.
  4. I didn't have a positive, trusting relationship with the sellers, and so I decided to re-key the locks.
  5. Other (i.e., it wasn't worth the expense or the sellers were relocating to another part of the country, and so I didn't feel it was important, etc....)

Interestingly, the results came back and I must admit that I learned a thing or two....

  • 45 percnet of those polled answered #1
  • 50 percent answered #2
  • 5 percent answered #5

In other words, nobody answered #3 or #4, which means that the relationship with the sellers had nothing to do with the decision to re-key or not.

Mostly people either didn't even consider it and didn't mind if a person or two in the world had a key to their house. Or they did it automatically as a matter of course and would never even consider not doing it.

My client, Heather, summed up her sentiments by saying, "We always re-key. You never know who else may have a key from the previous owner, like housekeepers or neighbors. Better safe than sorry!" And Sanford added, "You never know if the previous owners didn't change the locks when they bought the house too; keys could be all over town."

So not only did I learn something, but in further contemplating this question, I actually changed my answer from #1 to #2. I'm not sure what exactly pushed me to the other side of the spectrum, but I know that if I were buying a home now, I would want to make a fresh start and re-key.

What about you? Where do you fit in on the re-keying spectrum? And have your feelings and preferences about the matter changed over time? I can't wait to hear....

For more information on this or the real estate market in Weston, Wellesley, Wayland and the surrounding towns, please contact me, Lisa Curlett (781-267-2844 or www.homesalesbylisa.com), to answer any questions or to help with your home buying or selling process.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.


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