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I'm closing on my first house on Tuesday and I'm interested in seeing if rekeying my locks is worth the effort. I think my options are: new locks, rekey it myself, and get a locksmith to rekey it. Any recommendations or am I missing anything?

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    replacing entire locks isn't that hard (just a few screws in most cases) Sep 25, 2015 at 9:38
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    ... and replacing entire licks may let you upgrade their quality. On the other hand, rekeying is fairly fast and cheap, if you bring the locks and the previous keys to the locksmith rather than paying for travel time. If the locks are currently not all on the same key, this is a good time to fix that, no matter which approach you take. Rekeying isn't hard, but there are enough ways to make a mess that I hesitate to recommend doing it yourself ("if you have to ask...").
    – keshlam
    Sep 25, 2015 at 11:51

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Rekey

You can probably rekey the locks yourself, depending on what brand and type of locks they are. The process isn't too difficult, you'll be a pro after one or two.

You'll have to remove the handles and deadbolts from the doors, so you'll probably want to go one at a time. But if you like doing little projects like this, rekeying them yourself could save you some money.

Check amazon for rekey kits, but make sure you know what brand locks you'll be working on first. I recently picked up a kit for less than $20. If I remember correctly, the kit had 50 of each pin and all the tools that were required.

If you decide to go this route, there are tons of great videos on YouTube that explain exactly how to do it. Watch a few, and you'll be an expert in no time.

Locksmith

A locksmith will probably save you a bit over a wholesale change out. Again you'll probably want to do it in stages, unless the locksmith can guarantee they will be done in a couple hours.

Replacement

Replacing all the hardware is probably going to be the most expensive option. However, it does give you the opportunity to switch brands, styles, quality, security level, and technology level.

Depending on how many doors you have, you might still have to rekey some of the new hardware (or special order it). Since most packages off the shelf only handle up to two doors.

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  • If you upgrade the hardware, you can get the user rekeyable versions (e.g. the kwikset brand) that lets you easily change all the locks you install to one key without disassembling the lock. That removes the two door limit.
    – BMitch
    Sep 25, 2015 at 13:01
  • New locks are surprisingly cheap these days -- pretty close to the cost of a re-key in my neighborhood. The Kwikset smartkey (identifiable by the little slot near the keyway) offers plenty of options for now and the future. Although I've been told by a locksmith that they're good locks for bump resistence (ie, higher security), I have had one case personally and heard of others where the lock "forgets" its programming and has to be either replaced or professionally fixed. (Keep your receipts.) Sep 25, 2015 at 13:43
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    The self-rekeying systems have had a less-than-stellar record with regard to both malfunctions and security weaknesses. Personally I'd prefer to avoid 'em. But I do have the advantages of training and experience -- full-service part-time locksmith.
    – keshlam
    Sep 25, 2015 at 14:58
  • Pro Tip: hold off on rekeying for a few weeks. You can give all the contractors keys, let them do their repairs, and then change all of the cylinders. At least where I am (NYC), standard door lock cylinders are $10 each.
    – gbronner
    Sep 25, 2015 at 15:16

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