Some Neighbors Give Us Pause

What to do with lost home keys is an age-old problem.  The standard idea is to give a copy to your neighbors, but that presumes you trust your neighbors. My first neighbor holed up in the dark all day every day with a TV glow his only light, which didn’t inspire much confidence. To tell the truth, I wasn’t even sure I had a neighbor except for the golden retriever who pressed his nose to the window whenever I came by. He had a kind enough face but didn’t seem like the key-keeping type. My other neighbor was a jovial fellow with a good job and a responsible demeanor, except that he wasn’t always dressed. Which naturally made me wary of further impromptu meetings.

My parents, for their part, favor the shockingly original plan of placing a key under a rock near the door. But lest any would-be burglar despair over such a complicated and inventive safeguard, my parents leave the door open anyway.

For those looking for something more reliable, the options have been limited. But now Greg Marsh, CEO of KeyMe, believes he has the key to unlocking the key problem, according to a recent article by Inman News. KeyMe allows people to scan their key with an iPhone app and store the data in the cloud, from which they can quickly print a new key whenever they want, using KeyMe’s 3-D printing capability. The company plans to open kiosks in 7-Eleven stores and in pharmacies across the county before the end of the year.

Of course, some may wonder if we’ve gone and saved the thieves a lot of time. Instead of carefully scouring neighborhoods for targets, maybe savvy criminals can just hack the KeyMe records and enter any home they please, either to ransack it or simply pop over for a spot of tea. KeyMe’s security protocol, however, revolves around fingerprint verification, which seems to answer the security concern and bolster KeyMe’s claim to solving this longstanding problem.

Realtors might be the big winners here, since they are the first point of contact for any home crisis, be it a lost key, a lost dog, a lost shingle, etc. It’s not easy being the residential concierge in perpetuity, for hundreds of people, and for some the mental strain is showing. Agents have been reported weeping and muttering to themselves “But I sold them this home 19 years ago! Can’t they clean a carpet stain on their own?” So it would be a good thing to relieve them of at least the lost key problem.

While some are miffed at being locked out of their home, others are miffed at being locked out of homeownership altogether, due to bumpy credit or quirks in their financial profile. For these folks, the key to unlocking the door to homeownership may be as simple as working with the right lender. Despite all the media hype of how difficult it is today, the truth is there are a lot of programs out there for low down payment or challenged borrowers. A good lender can cut through the noise and match people appropriately. And for those who truly aren’t yet able to buy, I’ll give them an action plan to achieve that dream over time. So give me your tired, your poor, your credit-bruised masses who long for homeownership. I may not be the statue of liberty, but like her I know that compassion is the key.