After all the paperwork has been signed and you have the keys in hand, you’ll probably feel happiness and relief that the process of home buying is complete. While you have good reason to celebrate, there are still some important tasks to complete for your safety, record keeping, and general enjoyment of your home. Be proactive and check off these items before they fall to the wayside in the excitement of moving.
1. Keep a copy of all closing documents and store in a safe place. You probably signed a huge stack of papers at your closing. A variety of reasons may come up where you need to refer to this paperwork at a later date. For example, you may want to check the amount that was credited to you by the seller for property taxes that you’ll need to pay at a later date. Or you may need the survey map of your property before applying for some type of permit.
2. Change the locks. You don’t know who the previous owner gave key copies to the house or how many people still have a copy. To be on the safe side, always either change out all locks or have the present locks re-keyed when moving into a new home. This might cost a couple hundred dollars, but is well worth the peace of mind that no one else has easy-access to enter your home.
3. Create new codes on all keypads. If your new home has smart technology or key pads to doors and the garage, you’ll want to make sure you change the master codes. For the same reason you need to change locks, you need to update codes. Usually the previous owner has instructions on how to do so. Also, you can often find instructions with a quick online search.
4. Notify key people and companies of your new address. The United States Postal Service needs to know of your new address immediately to ensure that important mail gets delivered to you on time. Besides letting friends and relatives know your new address, you should also update these businesses: your employer, financial institutions, insurance company, phone, internet, cable, schools, medical offices, accountant, and subscription services.
5. Deep clean. It’s likely that the best you got from the sellers before vacating was a “broom clean” of the house. Who wants to live in someone else’s dirt? Whether it’s you or a professional cleaner, you’ll want to ensure you do a deep clean on the kitchen, appliances, bathrooms, floors, and windows before all your stuff enters the home. You may even want to steam clean all carpeting.
6. Paint. Whether your home only needs touch ups or entire rooms painted a new color to complement your tastes and décor, it’s easier to do this either right before or after you move in. New paint gives any home a fresher, brighter feel. If you have a maintenance checklist you’re using upon move-in, put this one near the top of the list.
7. Check the water heater. Two things that you might want to change to your liking regarding the water is the temperature and pressure. Many water heaters have dials that allow you to control the maximum heat delivered to your water and a water reducing valve that controls the pressure. Ensure that you understand your specific water heater’s operations thoroughly before adjusting anything. It’s also recommended that you drain the water heater once a year to get rid of sediment collection.
8. Service the HVAC system. If you didn’t have the seller perform any work on the furnace or air conditioner prior to closing, it’s a good idea to have them serviced right away. This is recommended once per year to ensure the proper function of your heating and cooling system year round. Also ensure your furnace filter is new since dirty ones can reduce the efficiency significantly.
9. Meet the neighbors. The saying goes that you can’t choose your neighbors. However, you can get off to a friendly start by introducing yourself and getting to know each other. It’s nice to have someone who can help in the event of a home emergency. Enjoying at least a cordial relationship with your neighbors is always a plus for a home owner.