Your parents did it for years, now you do it, and your kids will likely follow suit. Hiding a spare key outside your home is a habit passed down through generations. It makes sense. We can’t always remember everything — we even forget or lose keys from time to time. Not only does a spare key come in handy when we’re on the tail-end of a long, stressful day, but it really shines when trusted friends or family need quick access to your home for emergencies.
But the way we've gone about this practice for the past few decades could use some work. It's easy for security to take a backseat as we hide keys under doormats and a few less-than-inconspicuous locations.
Thankfully, there are great smart devices that solve this problem and interesting ideas you can use to outsmart anyone who wants to gain unauthorized access to your home.
1. Classic hiding spot
It was a great idea when the first person hid their key in a plastic rock outside their door, but it isn’t such a great move anymore. Not only do criminals look for visible hiding places for keys outside of homes, almost everyone else knows this trick too. That isn’t to say the technique is completely dead, you just have to be more creative. This analog approach to front door security is a quick and cheap way for homeowners to hide a spare key so long as they accept the risk.
Even if you have minimal investment in the property and its contents, it's still best to try to think of something better than a plastic rock, or sliding a key underneath the welcome mat. Next time, spring for a truly original location, such as an invisible loose tile on your patio, or somewhere far away from the door. There isn’t anything wrong with making your hiding spot, either.
For extra security, you can put a spare key on your dog's collar or leave it with a trusted neighbor. Good luck getting past that security!
2. Modern approach
The modern approach taken by many homeowners and real estate agents is to have a key lock box right on the door of the house or close by. While this approach is more secure and harder to crack, it isn’t perfect, as it gives away the location of your hidden spare key. This isn’t the smartest thing to do when determined burglars present themselves.
These types of combination lock systems are known for being hacked, thanks to the Internet, and locks can be broken too, leaving your home and valuables open for attack. Having a backup plan here is a good idea. These types of locks can serve as decoys that take attention away from the actual incognito set of keys.
3. Technical advancement
If you’re ready to step into the future and leave these old ways of securing your keys behind, look no further than smart locks — keyless entry hardware that pairs with your smartphone via an app. Smart locks can replace your home’s keyhole with a sleek and reliable — not to mention secure — home entry system. Where you’re going, you don’t need keys!
Leave the keys behind and use your smartphone to get access to your home in a pinch, or you can remotely access your home from the app. A smart lock even allows you to give your friends and family unique access codes to your home. Couple this approach with a home security system, and you have full control of who comes and goes from your property.
4. Keep it smart
Remember, your smart home is only as smart as you are. You know yourself, your home and your neighborhood best. If you feel like the old-fashioned approach will do just fine, then make sure to take extra care when hiding that spare key. If you live in a less secure, or highly trafficked area, chances are you need to raise the bar and use the latest gadgets to secure your investment in your home.
Our keys stayed the same for many years, but like the smart home industry, things are changing. Take advantage of smart home technology to secure your home.