1. Check other doors
If the door lock on your front door won’t budge, or your suddenly defunct key won’t turn in the lock, check the other entry points of your home. You might find that you forgot to lock the sliding door that leads out to your patio or the door that leads from your garage to the inside of your home. Be sure to check all side doors, back doors, and garage doors—and don’t forget to lock them in the future.
2. Check large, first-floor windows
If you don’t mind a bit of scrambling, check to see if any of your windows on the first floor are unlocked. If it’s big enough, you may be able to lift the window, pop out the screen, and climb through. Just be cognizant of what’s below the window—you wouldn’t want to fall onto your TV and hurt yourself or crush any of your beloved plants.
If you left things locked up tight, reach out. Someone you live with—a significant other, a parent, or a roommate—or someone close by, like a neighbor, may have a copy of your key. Call them and see if they can let you in or meet you somewhere with the spare key.
If you’re a renter, reach out to your landlord. They should have a copy of your house key, and they may be able to stop by to let you back in. If you live in an apartment complex, you should be able to stop by the property manager’s office and ask to be let back in—then find your keys right where you left them, on the console next to the door.
4. Call a professional locksmith
If all else fails, call a residential locksmith service to open the door and let you in. But be sure you search reviews of three to four locksmiths on a site like Yelp so you can choose a legitimate emergency locksmith service.
Illegitimate locksmiths typically won’t try to work with your existing doorknob. Instead, they’ll drill through your door and go through the process of changing the locks. In the end, you’ll be forced to pay for the locksmith’s services, plus a new doorknob and set of keys for about $350.
A good locksmith will have the tools and know-how to unlock any type of lock (and get you back inside to continue your latest Netflix binge without compromising your door). Lockout services will set you back approximately $90–$200, depending on where you live. The cost will also depend on what day of the week or what time it is: prices for emergency locksmith services are usually higher on weekends, during holidays, and after-hours.