Is Your New Home Really Secure?

Real Estate Agent with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices - C. Dan Joyner 21498

Do you always recommend that your clients change the locks on the home they just purchased? If you don't, you should. This is especially true if the home was a foreclosure. Foreclosures are generally rekeyed to a "master" keycode that any number of agents, vendors, and other contractors, etc. have access to. I personally have over 25 different master keys; this should give you an idea of the level of accessibility of a foreclosure property.

Not only that, but many buyer's agents have been known to give out the lockbox code to their investors (a real no - no), and WHO KNOWS what happens after that??? Did the investor make a copy? Two, so they can give one to their partner for convenience? It happens. Fannie Mae makes it a part of their addendum to the contract that the buyer has to have the home rekeyed right before closing. (at the buyer's expense, of course). Frankly, I think this is a wise policy that all lenders should embrace.

Even if the home was not a foreclosure, it is still a good idea to rekey the home. There is NO DOWNSIDE TO REKEYING A NEWLY ACQUIRED HOME! After all, the previous owners could have given keys to anyone -- and probably did -- (neighbors, friends, house-sitters, etc). There could also be a key hidden outside somewhere that the previous owner forgot know, in one of those fake rocks in the garden...The possibilities are endless. At the end of the day, there is really no reason NOT to rekey a newly acquired home.

Another option is to replace the locks. However this option is more expensive and because you are replacing locks, you aren't recycling the old ones...If possible, I always opt to recycle...

Bottom line, rekeying is one expense of buying a new home that is well worth the money and one that should never be overlooked. Please remind your buyers at closing to do this before they move anything into the home. Failure to do so, as REALTORS, is nothing shy of irresponsible to our clients.
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Sheila Newton   
Sheila Newton Team 
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices -
C. Dan Joyner, Realtors
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  1. Dan Edward Phillips 06/20/2011 12:53 AM
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Judith Parker
ProStead Realty - Charlotte, NC
CRS, GRI, CMRS, Charlotte, NC

Good evening Sheila, good point for who knows who may have an access key.  Safety always comes first.  Thanks for sharing.

Jun 18, 2011 01:48 PM #1
Sheila Newton Team Anderson & Greenville SC
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices - C. Dan Joyner - Anderson, SC
Selling the Upstate since 1989

Hi Judith.. hope you are having a wonderful weekend... thanks for stopping by

Jun 18, 2011 01:49 PM #2
Mike Wong
Keller Williams Realty Southwest - Sugar Land, TX
Realtor: Commercial, Residential, Leasing, Invest

Excellent post Sheila. I always have the home rekeyed by my locksmith as a closing gift to them.

Jun 18, 2011 01:57 PM #3
Sussie Sutton
UTR Texas Realtors - Pearland, TX
UTR TEXAS Realtors - Rep for buyers and sellers.

That is wise and sound advise! I have not been doing that but I will from now on. I just think it should be common sense.

Jun 18, 2011 02:26 PM #4
Sheila Newton Team Anderson & Greenville SC
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices - C. Dan Joyner - Anderson, SC
Selling the Upstate since 1989

 Mike - That is one of the best closing gifts I have ever heard of .. you should blog about that... Great Idea!!

Sussie - It is often overlooked.. I have it on my checklist for closing.

Jun 18, 2011 02:28 PM #5
Dan Edward Phillips
Dan Edward Phillips - Eureka, CA
Realtor and Broker/Owner

Hi Shelia, having the locks changed is a critical issue when purchasing a home.  The new keyless entry systems are worth they weight in gold.  An excellent reminder for home buyers.

Jun 18, 2011 08:58 PM #6
Andrea Swiedler
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New England Properties - New Milford, CT
Realtor, Southern Litchfield County CT

Sheila, great reminder, it is a minimal expense and well worth it!

Jun 19, 2011 12:36 AM #7
Kay Van Kampen
RE/MAX Broker, RE/MAX - Springfield, MO
Realtor®, Springfield Mo Real Estate

Sheila, I just closed on a foreclosure and gave the sellers a gift certificate to Lowe's to change the locks.  They are rest easier.

Jun 19, 2011 12:34 PM #8
Judy Klem
Transition Stage LLC - Shelton, CT
Home Staging, Senior Move Management, Fairfield/New Haven counties

Hi Sheila - This is such important information! The first thing I do when I move into a new home is to always change the locks. The circumstances you cite make it an even more important security issue.

Jun 20, 2011 12:57 AM #9
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