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Locked out of your house? 30 Surprisingly Helpful Tips To Get You Out of This Jam

Sometimes we make our homes so safe, and we secure our prized possessions so well in safes, gun safes, vault rooms, and behind security doors, that we can unintentionally be the victim of our own precautions. 

Getting locked out of the house because you've forgotten your keys or the code to get in, can be aggravating. Time is of the essence but you also want to exhaust all alternatives before paying for a locksmith to get you in. You have questions: is it legal for a locksmith to open my door? Do I call the police? How much does a locksmith cost? 

It's important to contact your local locksmith as soon as possible if you are locked out of your home. They should provide you with an estimate and let you know if it's possible they will be able to open your door without breaking anything. 

A locked door can be an inconvenience especially if you've left the keys inside.  If you're locked out of your home, there are a few steps to follow to get back in and avoid paying for a locksmith. First check that all doors and windows are closed, then make sure everything is turned off. This will ensure you don't set off any of the security features in your home.  Next, write down the serial number on your appliance or electronic equipment you want to protect as these items can be destroyed if they are powered on during a locksmith entry. If you have an alarm system, make sure it’s not activated before calling the locksmith.

Steps to take if you are locked out of your house

1. Check the mailbox for a lockbox key 

Check if there's a spare key hidden in an obvious location like under some potted plants or by the front door.  Maybe a neighbor has an extra key they can let you borrow or call to see if they have any ideas on how to get the door open without breaking it.

2. Call a Friend, Family Member, or Your Landlord

If you forgot your keys, but happen to have a spare hidden somewhere nearby in the house or outside it may be worth checking every nook and cranny for the key. While you're at it, give that friend who lives nearby a call. You never know, they may have a spare!

3. Call a locksmith

If there is no repair service listed in your phone book, go online and search for local locksmiths near you. You may be able to find a company that's willing to come out and try locksmithing techniques without doing any damage like lock picking, a special drill, or creating a new key.

4. Try your other keys

If you have an old set of keys, use them for the doorknob but not for the deadbolt unless it is an older lock system and can only be opened with one key.

5. Try the windows

If you have to break a window, make sure it can be sealed with plastic and tape. If the weather isn't great outside, try to wait until tomorrow when the locksmith can come out during regular business hours and replace all the glass on your door or window. 

6. If you have an emergency, call 911

If you are locked out of your house and have to deal with a life-threatening emergency, call 911 for help. Do not try and break into your own home or car unless there is something inside worth going to jail over or it's a matter of saving a life. In situations like these, breaking the law is unlikely to have any serious repercussions.

7. Take Apart the Door Knob

If you know what type of lock is on your door or window and can find replacement kits online, you may save time by ordering the parts yourself and waiting for them to arrive before calling a locksmith to open your door. You may also want to ask the locksmith how much they would charge for installing a new kit versus having them drill the lock and make you a key without making permanent damage to your home.

8. Contact an Emergency Locksmith

If you are locked out of your house because you've lost or forgotten the code, there's no need to panic and it's not uncommon for a locksmith to show up at your door and try to get in without calling the police. Just like if you had locked yourself out and couldn't get in without a key, it won't be more than the price of two standard locksets to get back inside.

9. Improvise tools

Bobby pins and paper clips can serve as DIY locksmithing tools, but if you really need to get into something locked and don't have anything on hand, you can make a lock pick out of almost anything rigid and metal. With the right technique and enough practice, it's possible (and fun!) to bypass most basic locks with everyday objects like paper clips or safety pins — although more complex locks will require a bit more work.

10. Get Your Locks Changed

6) If it's a matter of getting back into your car, most locksmiths can replace a broken ignition key with one that fits right away but if there is anything wrong with your vehicle in addition to the keys being locked inside, make sure you have an additional estimate for that part of the job.

11. Take off the doorknob

As long as the deadbolt on your door isn’t locked, you should be able to gain entry by removing the doorknob and deadbolt and prying the lock cylinder assembly from the door with a large screwdriver. Remove all visible screws from the face or back of the cylinder, then insert a strip of stiff wire into the keyway to release any internal locking mechanisms. 

Locked Out Of Apartment? If you live in a rented apartment, you might be in luck.  Just take these few steps first:

Call the onsite facility or building manager, janitor, or superintendent

Most often they have a master key or duplicate key and they can get you in.  If you don’t have their contact information, call a neighbor in your apartment complex and get the phone numbers you need.

Call the landlord

Like the building manager, the landlord will have a spare key and can advise you on what to do.  You need the landlord’s permission before breaking into the apartment or calling a locksmith.

6 Tips on Hiring a Pro Locksmith Company

 

Call A Locksmith First (“I Locked My Keys In My House”)

If you know where the spare keys are hidden but don't want to break into your house, call a locksmith and tell them that you want to pay for a locksmith who will not use any non-traditional methods and is not going to try to make or fool with your key. If the locksmith comes out and does anything more than cutting replacement keys, replace the deadbolt on your door or change the locks or you'll have two more problems in addition to being locked out.

Option to Replace Lock (“I’m locked out of my house what do I do if the locksmith can’t get in”)If the locksmith can't open your door after trying a few different ways, don't let him leave until you've found out what it will cost to replace your lock with a new one and how much longer he thinks it's going take before someone else might be able to figure out what is wrong with your system. If you can't get him to agree with your time frame, call someone else.

Break a window (“Will locksmith help cost more than repairing a window”)If the locksmith has his kit with him and you have a door or window that can be broken right away without paying for a special drill, it will cost about as much to fix the glass as it would be to replace an old lock, just make sure the locksmith agrees with your time frame and that they will repair what they break before they come back out after unlocking a door or window.

Make a deal if your keys are locked in your car(“What to do if I’m Locked Outside my Car”)If your keys are in your car, and if you are locked out of your car and can't get back in without breaking the window, don't be afraid to ask a locksmith if they would consider replacing it for free or at least cutting you a deal on the price of the labor for coming out into a bad neighborhood to open your car.

Call around (“I can’t pay for a locksmith but how much for a locksmith to unlock a house?”)If you are locked out of the house and want to avoid paying for a locksmith, call a locksmith anyway and see what he thinks about using his skills to open your door without damaging anything or breaking any laws. If you're less concerned with whether or not it's legal and more concerned about saving money, you can call around to several different locksmiths and see who is the cheapest or doesn't have a minimum call-out fee.

What to Do if your Locksmith Can't Get in Your House 

A locksmith should be able to get you back into your home without damaging any of the property. But sometimes when they come out, they can't open the door or window so there will have to be a change in plan. If you've called a professional locksmith and they can't get in, talk to them about your options. If there's any way to avoid making a hole in the door or window you'll save money but if it's a matter of getting back into your house, then it will be necessary.

When hiring a locksmith, it's important that they are willing to do whatever is necessary in order to open your door without damaging anything.  If they recommend breaking something or using specialized tools, these charges should be included in the initial quote and not as an add-on or emergency rate.

As a general rule, if your locksmith can't open the door or window and takes additional steps to open without damaging anything, they should still be able to get you back in for less than it would cost to replace a lock. If there are additional charges after the fact that don't have to do with getting into your home, then you should try to negotiate a lower price.

If the locksmith can't get into your house because you've lost or forgotten your keys and need replacement locks installed, then it shouldn't cost more than the price of 2 standard locksets for your door (handleset+latch and deadbolt). If they are doing anything beyond changing out the locks, make sure that estimate is free of any hidden charges.

FAQs | What Readers Want To Know

How do you get back in your house if you're locked out?

If you can't get into your house, call a locksmith. They have tools and training to open your door again. They have the skills and tools to break in without causing damage.

How can I unlock my house without a key?

If you ever find yourself locked out of your house in the future, rest assured knowing there are a few ways you can get back in:

1. Check the mailbox for a lockbox key 

2. Call a Friend, Family Member, or Your Landlord

3. Call a locksmith

4. Try your other keys

5. Try the windows

6. If you have an emergency, call 911

7. Take Apart the Door Knob

8. Contact an Emergency Locksmith

9. Improvise tools

10. Get Your Locks Changed

11. Take off the doorknob

Can the police help you if you're locked out?

Police agencies vary when it comes to policy and procedures, but in general, responding to such calls is not normally part of an officer's duties. If you lose your keys and can't get into your house, call a locksmith. Emergency services such as the Police or Fire Brigade might not be able to help with this.

Key Takeaways

If you've ever been locked out of your house, this blog is for you. I'll tell you the best way to get back in and give a few other tips on what to do if it happens again. This isn't a situation that should happen often – but sometimes it does! We’ve given you the information to make sure this never happens again. For a locksmith, it's not about getting in your house but helping you get back into yours.


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