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Buying a home is an exciting, at times stressful and ultimately very rewarding process. It takes a lot of energy and time, between looking for homes, getting a loan and the contract process.
If you are reading this, you probably just went to closing or are getting ready to close on your new home.
So the question is, “now what?”. You are about to have your time freed up to focus on moving in and getting everything in order to enjoy and care for your home for years to come.
Here is a list of 19 things to do after closing!
- 1. Celebrate
- 2. Update Your Address
- 3. Painting, Flooring & Cleaning
- 4. Make a Plan For Each Room
- 5. Get Utilities Set Up
- 6. Make a "Home Folder"
- 7. Buy a Safe Box
- 8. Security System
- 9. Get a Smart Speaker
- 10. Get a Smart Thermostat
- 11. Review Your Home Inspection Report
- 12. Get to Know Important Locations
- 13. Make a Maintenance List
- 14. Check Smoke & Other Alarms
- 15. Start Delivery Subscriptions
- 16. Change Locks & Garage Codes
- 17. Get Help Setting Up
- 18. Meet Your Neighbors
- 19. Have a Housewarming Party
Buying a home is a huge accomplishment, especially your first home. Before you get wrapped up into moving in and then back into the routine of everyday life, congratulate yourself.
Go out to a nice dinner, enjoy some of the amenities nearby, celebrate with family and friends, buy yourself a housewarming gift.
Whatever you do, make sure it is a reward for the hard work you put into the purchase. You are officially a homeowner!
2. Update Your Address
It can be, to put it lightly, inconvenient to have important mail go to an old address. You can fill out a change of address form with the USPS to get started. This will forward mail to you from the old address.
However, the forwarding time period is not permanent, and it also does not automatically update your address everywhere.
So you also will want to update with the DMV, your banks/financial institutions, workplace(s), IRS, anywhere you have subscriptions, online shopping, friends and family, insurance and anywhere else you may get mail from.
3. Painting, Flooring & Cleaning
You are going to be anxious to move in. But when a home is vacant, that is the absolute best time to replace that old carpet, refresh the paint, do a deep clean and knock out anything else that you know must be done.
Once your things are moved in, contractors and cleaners (or you) will have to work around furniture and possibly cover it or move it.
Getting things done while the home is vacant can save time, maybe money and protect your things.
4. Make a Plan For Each Room
Before the wave of boxes starts coming into the home, it is a good idea to solidify a plan for each room. Usually, you already have this plan in place from planning while you are waiting to close.
But often, there are 1-2 rooms that you are still unsure about. Decide whether you want that bonus room in the basement to be an office or gym area, that will help you as you organize and get furniture.
5. Get Utilities Set Up
Before closing, you probably called all your utilities to have them set up the accounts in your name. If you did not, you may be in a grace period so you want to make sure that power, water, gas or any other services are in your name.
Internet providers may be different than where you lived before, so getting this sorted out once you move in is a must so you can work and watch shows/movies.
6. Make a “Home Folder”
I have a folder with all important documents, both physically and digital.
Your settlement statement, mortgage info, deed & title documents, title insurance info, home insurance info, warranty info, etc.
It can also benefit you to have receipts for home improvements. I store those digitally via photos since writing on receipts can wear. These may be able to help you down the road when you sell.
As you make big purchases for the home (i.e. HVAC, roof) many times they come with their own warranty as well and you will want these handy.
7. Buy a Safe Box
If you do not have one, a safe or safe box is a great place to store all of your important documents. Not only home related documents, but also birth certificates, passports and others.
And this does not have to be super expensive to be effective. Although you can get a fancy safe bolted to the floor, I have long used a safe box that I got for under $100.
Make sure to get something fireproof and waterproof.
8. Security System
These days, you can get a great wireless security system for an affordable price with robust features like video monitoring, syncing to multiple devices, optional 24/7 monitoring with no contract and much more.
Most are also compatible with a smart speaker.
More and more homes are also now using smart doorbells, which include motion sensor video monitoring and two way audio even if you are not at home.
9. Get a Smart Speaker
These speakers can do simple things like set a timer and play your favorite music. But they can also give you the ability to hands free save you time by syncing to other things in your home like your thermostat, security system, lights, doorbell, door lock and anything else that you have purchased that syncs.
This truly does save you time and frees your hands up if you are cooking or working and want to quickly do something.
10. Get a Smart Thermostat
Beyond just convenience, the new generations of thermostats may also save you energy and keep you more comfortable with features and sensors placed in your home.
They also integrate with your smart home system as a whole, and most can be controlled remotely if you want to turn down the system while you are gone.
11. Review Your Home Inspection Report
Home maintenance is a continuous and fluid task, it will change as your home interacts with the environment and ages.
But when you first move in, your home inspection report gives you a very good snapshot of the state of your home’s condition right before you moved in.
Once you move in, this is a perfect time to revisit your report to get maintenance items addressed that you did not have addressed by the seller.
Many inspection reports also will break it down by different categories. You may see “health/safety” items, “repair/replace” items and “monitor” items.
Obviously, health and safety items should be addressed immediately, and quite possibly some of the other items as well.
The rest can help you start your checklist of maintenance tasks to be addressed down the road.
12. Get to Know Important Locations
In your home inspection it should also show you where your water main, electric box, hose bibs, gas meter and other important points to know in case something comes up.
It is a good idea to know where these are. If something comes up (like a leak) you will want to be able to quickly take steps to stop it before calling in help.
Show anyone else who will be in the home by themselves the locations of these so that they know where how to deal with something unexpected.
13. Make a Maintenance List
You can do this either with a spreadsheet or an online checklist or reminder app. To keep your home well maintained, you will want to have an extensive list of things to replace, tasks to perform and things to check on.
Whether you do the tasks yourself or have a professional, having a maintenance checklist can save you from having to deal with more expensive repairs later and keep your home comfortable.
14. Check Smoke & Other Alarms
Having functional and up to date smoke and other alarms is vitally important to make sure you and the other people living in the home are safe.
Some alarms are hardwired, and others battery operated. Either way, it is recommended that you change your fire alarms at least every 10 years or as needed.
Most alarms now have 10 year batteries, so once the battery is low you know to just replace the whole alarm.
There are also a selection of smart alarms that link in with your smart home system. And some also have combined smoke and other type of alarm, for example if your home has gas you will need a co2 alarm.
15. Start Delivery Subscriptions
Anything that you use in your home at a regular interval can be put on auto pilot by using a delivery subscription.
The most important, and one that most people forget, is HVAC filters. Changing your filter regularly has a positive effect on air quality, and can also extend the life of your system. Check your inspection report or system for what size filters to use.
Other items you may want to consider are cleaning products, paper towels, trash bags, toiletries, etc. This can save you from having to make a separate run to the store when you are out.
Many times, the more products you have on subscription the more you can save with certain stores/online retailers.
16. Change Locks & Garage Codes
You never know who has a copy of the key to your front door. Over the years, homeowners make several copies when they give out (or lose) keys. So getting new locks is always a good idea when you move in.
The same goes for garage door codes or other access points into your home. Garage codes can be pretty easily changed, look up the instructions for your model.
You can also get smart locks for your front door, a great option to be able to lock/unlock your front door from afar in case you forgot or want to let someone in.
17. Get Help Setting Up
If you are moving into a home that is larger than where you moved from, chances are you are going to be buying furniture and other items to enjoy your new space.
Some homeowners have the time and knowledge to assemble all of this themselves. But maybe you have some tasks you would rather just have a professional knock out.
Amazon home services can link you with local professionals who will do these small tasks. They have services like assembling furniture, assembling exercise equipment, mounting your tv and even setting up a grill.
18. Meet Your Neighbors
Nothing changes a house into a home faster than having a sense that you are part of a community. Whether you live in a condo or a large rural farm, make an effort to go and say hi to your new neighbors.
Neighbors also tend to help each other out when needed, such as when you are on vacation. Just make sure you return the favor.
If you are more introverted, you can also meet many of them online via groups or sites like Nextdoor.
19. Have a Housewarming Party
One way to meet your neighbors and show your new place to all your family and friends at once is to have a housewarming party.
This can be as big and elaborate or as small and low-key as you would like. Often, people will want to buy you a housewarming gift.
A good option here is to start a housewarming registry. Amazon allows you to make a custom registry, so you can add things you are interested in and give out to the link to anyone who asks.
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