What to do after closing on a new house
Buying a home is frequently a stressful and exhausting process, with ups and downs along the way. You will be eager to conclude the buying process and get to your closing date so that you can begin to enjoy your new home.
But even when closing day arrives and you get the keys to the property, there are still some other important things you need to think about and deal with. These are simple steps you can take to make your life in the new home better and less costly.
We take a look at the things to do after closing on a house to streamline your move into the new property.
Perhaps the easiest and the first thing to do after closing on a house is check the installed detectors. This will make sure you and your family are safe in your new home by ensuring that the smoke and carbon monoxide testers are functioning.
It is an easy job that is often overlooked, but it shouldn’t be missed. If the testers are battery-operated, fit new batteries since you don’t know how long ago, they were last replaced.
Update Your Contact Information
Many companies have your address and you need to remember to inform them when you move. It is best to make a list of companies you need to contact because it will probably be more businesses than you initially imagine.
The following organizations and more may be on your list:
- Utility companies
- Banks and financial institutions
- Credit card companies
- Insurance providers
- Tax agencies
- Your doctor’s office and other medical providers
- Companies you have subscriptions with
- Your employer
- Friends and family
While you will be able to deal with many of these address changes online, some companies are going to be more important to notify. Utility companies will need some advance notice so that they can ensure you have their services when you need them.
To help with an address change, the post office provides a service to redirect your mail to your new address for free. You can visit a post office to fill out forms for their service or use the USPS website. There is a small charge when setting this up online to confirm your identity.
Dealing with the DMV
The idea of dealing with the DMV isn’t attractive but is something necessary to update your address. The requirements in each state might vary slightly, but typically you’ll have a week or two to update your address on your driver’s license. Fortunately, most of the time you’ll be able to avoid visiting your nearest DMV by going online.
If you’re moving to a new state, there might be more paperwork involved or even the requirement to have a road test. Find out what the requirements are in advance, so you don’t end up breaking the rules.
Update Your Auto Insurance
Your car insurance premiums are partly dependent on where you live. So when you move, you will not only have to update your address with the insurance company, but you could find you’re paying more for your insurance as well.
When you are moving to a different state, not only will this be a problem, but you may also find that you need to change insurance companies altogether. Some states require the insurance company you use to be located within the same state, Florida is one example of this.
List Maintenance Jobs
There will be tasks that are needed to be carried out at regular intervals to maintain your new home, as well as minor repairs required. While you might plan to hire someone to complete many of these jobs, it’s still going to be easier to make a list so that things do not get missed.
Your home inspection report should give you an indication of some of the largest things that need to be maintained or renewed. Since your inspector is very likely to find some problems with the home, even if it’s a recent construction, it can be your starting point for what needs to be done.
Even if there are a lot of problems listed in the report, you don’t necessarily need to rush to do all of them immediately. You should categorize the problems highlighted by the inspector based on how urgent they are. You can work towards repairing the most important issues first before dealing with things further down your list of priorities.
If something goes wrong in the home, having a list of useful numbers on your phone can save a lot of stress. If you have already got the number of a reliable plumber, locksmith, electrician, and a number for your home insurance company, if something does go wrong it won’t be as bad as it otherwise would have been.
You can ask for recommendations from friends or family in the area, or find local businesses and check their customer feedback. Then if the worst happens, you’ll know where to turn for help.
Check Your Water Heater
While your home inspector will have looked at your water heater, they won’t have drained it. Once you own the home, you can drain the water to check the condition of the heater. You can also alter the settings on the heater to reduce your energy usage.
Change the settings on the heater to suit your hot water temperature preferences, and you can change the water pressure as well. You can adjust things to reduce your energy usage and utility bills, guides are available online to help you do this.
Being Prepared for Plumbing Emergencies
Suddenly discovering a leaking pipe is a stressful enough situation, but if you don’t know where the shut-off valves are, things are going to be a lot worse. If the home has been unoccupied for a while before you move in, there could be a greater chance of problems occurring with the plumbing.
Get ahead of potential problems by locating the shut-off valves and letting other people in the home know about them as well.
Breaking the Circuit
Circuit breakers trip when a fault in the electrical system is detected. This prevents a surge of electricity that could damage appliances and other devices within the home.
When you first move into a new home, you’ll want to find out where the circuit breakers are located and familiarise yourself with how to reset them.
While you might not need to use your heating or air-conditioning when you first move in, you will at some point. You probably won’t know how frequently the previous owner had the HVAC system cleaned and serviced, so when you first move in this should be on your list of things to deal with.
You do not want to find yourself in a situation where you need to either heat or cool your home, and the heating or air conditioning fails.
Furnace or air conditioning filters could need replacement. Having old or the wrong type of filters could be costing you money, so improve efficiency and your air quality by having the filters changed.
Checking the Fireplace
If your new home has a fireplace, you should get it checked out by a professional before you start using it. Whether it is a gas or a wood-burning fireplace, you’ll want to make sure there aren’t any blockages in the flue or chimney. If there are, that could prevent smoke and dangerous gases from leaving the home. Who knows when the last time the previous owner had it cleaned was?
Backing Up Important Documents
If you thought you were done with the paperwork once the closing documents were signed, unfortunately, there are still a few things you need to do. It is advisable to make copies of any important documents that were involved in the purchase of your home
You might benefit from keeping a copy of the purchase agreement, closing disclosures, the home inspection report, your buyer’s agent agreement, as well as the property deed. You could then put these documents in a safe deposit box or store them in your own home in a fireproof safe.
If you have kids and your new home is in a different school district, you’ll need to begin the process to transfer your children to their new school. If you are going to move in the middle of the school year, it is particularly important to do this quickly.
The process involved in transferring children will differ between school districts, so you will need to begin the process as soon as possible after closing on your new home.
Changing the Locks
While the seller of the home will probably try to provide all the keys they have, they may not know about every key to the home. Even if you have this included in the purchase agreement, there could still be other keys.
To make sure your new home is secure as it should be, you’ll need to change the locks. If the home has any keypads, you’ll need to change the code for those as well. If it isn’t obvious, or if there isn’t an instruction manual to tell you how to change the code on the keypad, you can check the manufacturer’s website for the instructions.
While this additional expense and hassle aren’t ideal after a stressful and costly move, it is important to make sure your home is secure.
The best time to measure for window treatments, or check that new furniture will fit, is before you have moved into the home. Even if you don’t have any immediate need to measure, it’s still a good idea to take measurements while you have this great opportunity.
Deep Clean the Home
Before you have moved in and placed your furniture in the home, you should take the opportunity to do a deep clean. While the seller of the home may have cleaned up, corners could have been cut and you want to have a fresh and clean start to your time in your new home.
Hiring a professional cleaning company to carry out the deep clean can save you time and remove dirt from the carpets that vacuuming wouldn’t. Your real estate agent might be able to recommend a professional cleaning service that specializes in this type of service.
Clearing Your Gutters
Cleaning the gutters is one of those chores that can get easily overlooked until there’s a problem. It’s quite possible that the previous owner didn’t clear out the gutters for many years, and this can lead to water leaking into the home.
A Fresh Coat of Paint
If you know you want to change the color of the walls in some of the rooms, getting this done before the furniture is moved in will save you a lot of hassle later. If you can arrange this quickly after closing, it will make things easier in the long run for you.
It doesn’t just have to be decoration; this is a good time to do minor renovations or repairs to the home as well. Perhaps you want to change interior doors, floor coverings, or make other changes, and before you move in is the ideal time.
Making Your First Mortgage Payment
If you are a first-time buyer, you won’t be used to paying a mortgage each month. Failing to pay your mortgage on time and in full can negatively affect your credit score and isn’t a great way to begin your homeownership.
Check the documents you have from your lender to make sure you have enough money to cover your first mortgage payment when it is due. Your closing disclosure will give you the information and dates that payments are required. The initial payment could be different from the normal payment you’ll be expecting, so you need to be prepared for that.
There Goes the Neighborhood
A new home means new neighbors, and you want to make sure you start on the right foot with them. If you have a good relationship with your neighbors, it should improve your time in the home, and it will better help you settle in.
Say hello to your neighbors when you see them, and consider introducing yourself. You might find it is the beginning of lifelong friendships.
Summing Up What You Should Do After Closing
After closing on your new home, there are still a few things that need to be done. Make sure to complete these tasks as soon as possible after closing so that you don’t have any last-minute surprises.
About the author: This article on “First Things To Do After Closing On A Home” was written by Luke Skar of MadisonMortgageGuys.com. As the Social Media Strategist, his role is to provide original content for all of their social media profiles as well as generate new leads from his website.
We provide award-winning customer service to clients who need to purchase a home or refinance an existing mortgage.