Did you know that there are probably multiple keys to your house that you don’t know about out in the world? Whether your home is a few years old or 50 years old the number of keys that have been made by past owners for neighbors, family members, real estate agents, etc. is astounding! Not to mention that anyone who has asked for a copy to service something in your home could have a key! Scary, isn’t it?
The fact is that most contractors have the front door master keyed to all the homes they build and give copies out to their sub-contractors for access. Many times contractors don’t get the keys back, so the sub-contractors can come and go without bothering the contractor.
It's a shame when the new owner gets the keys thinking they are the only one who has them. The contractor, realtor, or anyone that is passing keys out should have the home re-keyed for the new owner.
As a locksmith I have seen time and time again people having keys to a home they don’t own—from realtors to property management companies to past home owners who rented the house for a while. Of every one, contractors are the most likely to have a key that will access your house, but the responsibility for knowing who has keys to the home falls on the homeowner.
Next time you buy or move into a house, whether new or old, ask when the locks were last re-keyed. You may be surprised by the answer. Then call a locksmith and have the locks checked. As a locksmith, I look at the lock as well as other security aspects of the door to ensure the locks are operating properly, latches are doing their job, and the door is aligned with strike plate so I can inform the customer if anything needs to be looked at further in depth to make your home secure. The longer a criminal thinks he has to work to open a door, the better chance he will walk away without success.