For some, changing the locks when they move into a new home is just another item on their moving checklist. For others, the thought of changing the locks at their new home might not even occur to them. To have entirely new locks fitted at a new home could seem like an extreme security measure, but is it actually a sensible thing to do?
Knowing the home's history will be useful. How long were the previous residents living at the property? The fewer inhabitants that have lived in a home (and the longer they were there) reduces the number of keys that could conceivably have been made. Use your best judgment, but you might conclude that the risk is so low that no further action is required. But what about when the home has had a great number of inhabitants over the years—or even a revolving door of residents?
Your new home may have previously been a rental property or even a vacation rental. The more short-term residents a property has had, the more likely that multiple copies of the keys have been made over the years. Certain security protocols would have been in place; keeping a registry of keys, making sure that keys are returned at the conclusion of the lease period, preventing unauthorized copying, and so on. But these protocols probably weren't airtight. The risk of someone retaining a copy of the property's key and using it to enter your home may be low, but perhaps not low enough for your liking.
If you've decided to err on the side of caution and change the locks, the good news is that you won't need to go to the expense of purchasing new locks. Your locks can simply be rekeyed. This is a standard task for any locksmith. New locks aren't required, and the existing locks are simply modified to invalidate the old keys.
A cylinder lock features a pin tumbler. When extended, the driver pins inside the tumbler stop the cylinder's plug from rotating, which unlocks the mechanism. The notches in the key's shear line must match the configuration of the pins in order to rotate the cylinder's plug. Rekeying replaces these pins and reorganizes their placement, so a new key is needed. It's a very quick process and is far more cost-effective than buying all-new locks.
Maybe you'll feel more comfortable knowing that you, and only you, have the key that can open your front door. Perhaps you should add another item to your moving checklist, and have those locks rekeyed. For more information, contact a locksmith in your area.