There is nothing like walking into your new kitchen in the morning and seeing a neighbor drinking a cup of coffee.
And why shouldn’t he be there?
He’s had a key to that place for years and was a friend of the former owner.
Now that you have decided to move to California, you have to do one thing before you look for your favorite mug—change locks when you buy a house!
There is no telling how many keys that belong to your house are out there.
There’s the neighbor who used to feed the cats.
And the one who used to come for wine night and let herself in.
There’s even uncle Eddie and his RV who swings by a few times a year.
Never mind you don’t know any of these people. They know you now, or at least how to get in your house.
So it’s time to change those locks. Here is what you need to know:
CHANGE THE LOCKS WHEN YOU BUY A HOUSE IN CALIFORNIA
This seems like a no-brainer. But when you were at the closing and the former owner gave you a key, do you really think they only had one?
While you might want to change the locks right away on the house, make sure the owners are out. It’s usually good to wait a day after you sign the papers.
Even if the owner said the locks are new, don’t trust them.
You never know if a builder has a key.
So the first step is to see if you want to change the lock or hire a locksmith is the cost.
THE AVERAGE COST FOR A LOCKSMITH IN CALIFORNIA TO CHANGE LOCKS ON HOUSE
This seems like the easy way to get things done. But think about this. The average cost of a locksmith is $50 to $100 an hour.
And you no doubt have a few locks to change.
They may even charge a fee just for showing up.
And the average visit is about $160, according to forbes.com.
Why not give this a try yourself.
DIY LOCK CHANGE
You don’t need many tools to do this.
First, go to a store and buy a new lock and bolt.
You will need a screwdriver.
Open the door and undo the screws that hold on the plate. Remove any screws you see on the plate and the inside of the door.
Remove the hardware.
The next step is to insert your new bolt. This should slide in.
If the bolt is by itself this will be easy. After you slide that in on the side of the door, slip the latch and keyhole hardware on each side. Screw them together.
If the doorknob you are attaching has a lock on it, slip the bolt in the side of the door first.
Then attach the rest of the handle on each side. Slip that into place and put the screws in. It’s that easy. Make sure the new bolt lines up with the old area.
CHANGE THE DOOR LOCK BARREL
You might not have to change entire door handle to fix your problem.
If you have a bolt, you can simply change that. Remove the screws on the door. There should be a plate on the inside of the door as well. Once this is removed, pull that old bolt and hardware off. Slide a new bolt into the side of the door and place hardware on each side of the door and screw on.
It’s that easy.
BUY NEW LOCKS OR REKEY
If you don’t want to buy new locks, you do have the option to rekey. The problem is you will have to buy a kit and this may not fix your existing lock.
And then you will call a locksmith to fix and pay them.
Since you have spent all this money on a new house, buy a new lock set. Most stores have cheap ones for about $20. But get one that will be around $50. Give the backdoor a shot. The one going to the garage. If you can do this, you can do the front door and save tons of money.
Master Locksmith Bakersfield
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