Rehabbing & House Flipping

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Mike Palmer
  • Utah
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Keyless combination entry locks a good idea?

Posted Feb 25 2014, 08:51

I have only been able to find a few posts on the use of keyless locks. I am thinking of a changeover to keyless, but wondering whether to go digital or mechanical. I have the Schlage digital on my house and I LOVE them. They save so much time and hassle. I once had an emergency while out of town and was able to give the code to a family member over the phone and alleviate the problem. It then took about 30 seconds to change the code upon return.

The one other unit I have them on has also been nice, as I don't need to give the tenant a key, and don't need to change the locks between tenants (just a quick code change).

However, these locks are very expensive, and there are pros and cons to the mechanical vs. electronic. The electronic are nice because you can program multiple codes, you can program temporary codes, and they are backlit so you can see the buttons at night. The draw backs are that they require batteries, they are not as heavy duty, and there is always risk of the electronics failing and locking you out. The mechanical locks are only able to have one code, but they do not take batteries and typically never fail. I have also seen both models available with a self-locking feature, which I think is nice because it ensures the door is locked.

I use a mechanical lockbox (similar to a realtor Supra combination lock) on the outside of the property for a master and extra keys and it has also been very convenient. I had a tenant break off a key, and was able to give them the code to get the extra key without going out to the property.

So, given the differences, would you go with mechanical or electronic? The 'good' mechanical are actually as expensive or more as the electronic (there must be a HUGE markup on them). The big thing keeping me debating is the back light. I was going to install LED motion lights anyway, so I am hoping that would provide enough light to not need the backlit models. The locksmith I spoke to said the electronic ones are not a good long term solution because of the possibility of them going out (and expense of then replacing it again), and I really like the dependability/reliability of the mechanical. Is anyone else using these? If so, do you recommend mechanical or electronic (and why)? If not, what way would you go?

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