For information only; I have retired
Some things to consider when moving; and perhaps even before you decide to buy:
Who has keys?
Of course you have to assume that a great many people have keys to your new home: the estate agents, the surveyors, the previous occupiers, the previous occupiers' relatives, their cleaners, etc., etc.
Naturally we can change the locks for you. More importantly we can often just change cylinders and levers and save you a significant amount of expenditure. Read more.
How grounded was the architect?
There was a rather nice old yard that had been converted into a courtyard and apartments, but for some bizarre reason, the architect had used double back doors as front doors on some of the apartments. So the final exit door for these apartments was almost impossible to secure. When the back doors really are at the back instead of the front, they are secure because you bolt both halves of the door. Of course you can't do that if you leave via these doors. This is the kind of thing we would be able to alert you to in a pre-buy report, which unlike most of the other surveys you would be enduring at this time would cost less than £100.
Locks without keys?
Consider getting your solicitor to add a question to the Questions To Seller: are keys being provided to all doors, windows, cupboards and outbuildings? It can be spooky and expensive to discover that you need a locksmith to open and/or provide keys for mysterious rooms. And if there's a safe that's locked, bolted down and to which there is no key or combination, then you need to do something about the several hundred pounds that remedying that is going to cost you.
A house living in the past?
It's quite likely that if the previous occupants had lived there for some time, the security arrangements will be more suited to times past when security was a less pressing concern.
We can advise on and carry out enhancements to the security of doors and windows. Perhaps mortice deadlocks need adding where there was only latches. Perhaps three-lever deadlocks need upgrading to five-lever deadlocks. Perhaps the windows need locks to augment their catches.
The term "architectural quality" unfortunately usually means that a new building has been given the cheapest locks possible. On the other hand, we have also encountered new builds where each front door has been fitted with Yale PBS1 latch and a Chubb 114 deadlock which is about as good it gets without going completely over the top. In a new build with, say, 20 apartments, they are only saving a few hundred pounds by skimping on the quality of the door furniture so you have to wonder where any larger and more significant savings were made.
We can report for you on the quality of the door and window locks and furniture.
Please telephone or email us for more information.