This is the First Thing You Should Do When You Move Into Your New House

The first thing to do when you move is change the door locks

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It’s official: You closed on your new house and have keys in hand. While there’s a lot to do—packing, cleaning, moving and unpacking—there’s one more thing to add to your to-do list. Don’t forget to change the locks.

These are the 25 things you need to do when you move into a new house.

You want to feel safe in your new home and neighborhood, so switching out the locks and deadbolts should be a top priority. Even if you know the sellers, there’s a chance one of their spare keys made it into the hands of someone else along the way. Changing the locks will help protect not only your valuables, but you and your family.

“One never knows who may have a copy of the existing key—a friend, maintenance worker, relative of the former owner,” says Gregory Touchstone, a Realtor in San Antonio, Texas. “The small cost of having it re-keyed is worth all the peace of mind.”

Learn how to reinforce doors and locks.

How to Change a Lock

You can change your own locks by removing the lock cylinder and changing the pins. This will save you a visit from the locksmith.

Find out what brands of locks are used in your home and you’ll have to buy a rekey kit for each brand of lock used. These kits can be found at home centers, hardware stores and online.

Each kit will rekey six locks and works on entrance and deadbolt locks. You’ll also need a 4-in-1 screwdriver and a pair of needle-nose pliers. The kit will likely come with any special tools you may need.

Re-Key door locks with this how-to guide.

Keyless Door Locks

An electronic keypad entry system is also an option. Keyless locks are a great alternative for those prone to losing keys and for busy families as many systems allow for specific codes for specific users, which makes it easy to track those coming and going.

Keyless systems are DIY friendly and come in a variety of models with different features.

Here’s how to upgrade front door locks with a keyless system.

Check out these 15 smart door locks.

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Rachel Brougham
Rachel Brougham lived through a major home renovation in 2019, knows the ups and downs of home improvement, and loves sharing tips with readers. A veteran journalist of both print and television, she’s won several awards for her writing and has covered everything from the environment and education to health care, politics and food. She’s written for several publications beyond newspapers including Bob Vila, Taste of Home and Minnesota Parent, and she currently writes a weekly syndicated newspaper column. Her memoir, Widowland, about the sudden loss of her husband, was published in 2022. She specializes in everything from home decor and design to lawn and garden, product reviews and pet care. When she’s not writing, you can usually find her tending to her garden (both vegetables and native plants), playing with her dog, watching sports with her family or getting some exercise. A native of Michigan, she currently lives in Minneapolis. An avid user of Instagram, you can follow her @RachBrougham.