Last updated on January 19th, 2024 at 07:08 am
You’ve crossed the finish line of the home buying marathon and are now the proud owner of your own little haven.
But before you slip into celebratory slippers and sink into the couch, there are a few essential steps to ensure a smooth transition into your new abode.
Think of it as a post-purchase tune-up to make sure your home runs like a well-oiled machine (and feels like a cozy sanctuary!).
This handy checklist will guide you through the most important tasks to tackle after buying a house.
We will provide you with a checklist of the first things you need to do after buying a house.
Change the Locks
When you become a new homeowner, one of the first smart moves you should make is to change the locks on all exterior doors.
You never know who may have copies of the previous keys.
Here are some key points to consider when changing the locks:
Hire a Professional Locksmith: Rather than attempting to change the locks yourself, it’s best to hire a professional locksmith.
They have the expertise and tools to ensure the locks are properly installed and secure.
Consider Different Types of Locks: There are various types of locks available, such as deadbolts, keyless entry systems, and smart locks.
Update the Garage Code: If your property has a garage with an electronic keypad, change the code to prevent unauthorized access.
Don’t Forget Auxiliary Buildings: If your new home has auxiliary buildings like a shed or a separate garage, make sure to change the locks on those as well.
Remember, changing the locks should be one of your top priorities as a new homeowner.
Update Your Address
Updating your address is one of the most important tasks you’ll need to tackle as a new homeowner.
Notify the Postal Service: Start by contacting the United States Postal Service (USPS) to officially change your address.
You can do this online at usps.com or visit your local post office.
Provide them with your old address, new address, and the date you would like the change to take effect.
The USPS offers several options for mail forwarding, so choose the method that works best for you.
Update Your Identification Documents: Don’t forget to update your identification documents, such as your driver’s license, passport, and vehicle registration.
Visit your local Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) with proof of your new address to make the necessary changes.
You may also need to update your address with other organizations, such as your employer or school.
Notify Service Providers: Make a list of all the service providers that need to be informed about your address change.
This includes your utility companies (electricity, water, gas), internet and cable providers, and any other subscription-based services you use.
Update Financial Institutions: Make sure to update your address with your bank, credit card companies, and any other financial institutions you have accounts with.
Update Your Insurance: Contact your insurance company to update your homeowner’s insurance policy with your new address.
Update Your Online Accounts: Take the time to update your address on online platforms and e-commerce websites where you have active accounts.
This includes websites like Amazon, eBay, and online banking platforms. Ensuring that your address is up to date will help prevent any issues with shipping or billing.
Notify Important Contacts: Don’t forget to inform your friends, family, and important contacts about your new address.
Consider sending out a mass email or physical announcement to let everyone know.
Review and Understand Your Homeowner’s Insurance
When you become a new homeowner, one of the most important steps you need to take is to review and understand your homeowner’s insurance policy.
Read the Policy Documents Carefully: Take the time to thoroughly read through your homeowner’s insurance policy documents.
Familiarize yourself with the coverage, including what is and isn’t included.
Pay close attention to the different types of coverage, such as dwelling coverage, personal property coverage, liability coverage, and additional living expenses coverage.
Assess Coverage Adequacy: Evaluate whether the coverage provided by your policy is sufficient for your needs.
Consider the value of your home, its contents, and any additional structures on the property.
Discuss Coverages and Deductibles: Reach out to your insurance company to discuss the specific coverages and deductibles in your policy.
Ask questions about what is protected, what may not be covered, and the implications of different deductible amounts.
Consider Additional Coverage Options: Depending on your circumstances, it may be beneficial to explore additional coverage options that can provide added protection and peace of mind.
These may include endorsements for valuable items, flood insurance, or umbrella policies to extend liability coverage.
Review Loss and Claims Processes: Understand the claims process, including how to report a claim, the documentation required, and any time limits for reporting.
Update Your Policy as Needed: Keep your homeowner’s insurance policy up to date.
Notify your insurance company of any significant changes to your property, such as renovations or additions, as these may impact your coverage.
Also, remember to update your policy if you acquire expensive items or make significant changes to your personal property.
Conduct a Deep Cleaning
Some buyers will request the sellers conduct a deep cleaning. Many buyer’s agents do this on behalf of their clients.
If the sellers didn’t clean the home, then you may have to.
This not only helps you start fresh in your new space but also ensures a clean and healthy living environment for you and your family.
Gather your cleaning supplies: Before you start cleaning, make sure you have all the necessary supplies on hand.
This includes cleaning solutions, microfiber cloths, scrub brushes, a vacuum cleaner, a mop, and gloves.
Start with the basics: Begin by tackling the basic cleaning tasks such as dusting surfaces, wiping down countertops, cleaning windows, and sweeping or vacuuming the floors.
Pay attention to overlooked areas: During your deep cleaning, be sure to focus on the often overlooked areas such as baseboards, light fixtures, ceiling fans, and vents.
These areas can harbor dust and grime, so giving them a thorough cleaning will contribute to a cleaner overall environment.
Deep clean the kitchen and bathroom: The kitchen and bathroom are two areas that require careful attention when conducting a deep clean.
Inspect and clean the HVAC system: It’s important to check the filters in your heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system and replace them if necessary.
Cleaning or replacing the filters ensures that the system can operate efficiently and provides clean air throughout your home.
Clean or replace carpets: If your new house has carpets, consider hiring professional carpet cleaners to deep clean them.
Don’t forget about the exterior: In addition to cleaning the interior of your home, pay attention to the exterior as well.
This includes cleaning windows, sweeping the porch or patio, and removing any debris or cobwebs from the entrance areas.
Familiarize Yourself with the House
This step is crucial for ensuring your safety, preventing potential issues, and maximizing your home ownership experience.
Locate Important Utilities and Shut-off Valves: Locate the main water shut-off valve, circuit box, and HVAC system.
Additionally, familiarize yourself with the emergency shut-off for gas and water, and make sure you review how to use them safely.
Understand the Electronic Systems: Every house has its own set of electronic systems, such as security alarms, smoke detectors, and intercoms.
Take the time to read through the instruction manuals for these systems and ensure that they are properly functioning.
If you have an alarm system, make sure you change the security code to a personalized one that you can easily remember.
Learn the Layout: Take a stroll around your new house and familiarize yourself with its layout.
Identify each room, including the crawl spaces, attic, and basement if applicable.
Note the location of the fire extinguisher and utility meters, as well as any potential safety hazards like sharp objects or uneven flooring.
Go over Safety Measures:
Ensure that your house is equipped with necessary safety measures.
Install carbon monoxide detectors near sleeping areas and on each floor.
Check that smoke detectors are working properly and have fresh batteries.
Consider installing outlet covers if you have young children or pets.
If you have a security system, ensure it is activated and fully operational. Taking these steps will help keep you and your loved ones safe.
Prioritize Repairs and Maintenance
As a new homeowner, one of the first things you should do is prioritize repairs and maintenance tasks.
Conduct a thorough inspection: Start by thoroughly inspecting your new home both the interior and exterior.
Look for any signs of damage or issues that need immediate attention.
This could include leaky faucets, cracked windows, or faulty electrical outlets.
Review the inspection report: If you had a professional inspection done before purchasing your home, carefully review the report.
Pay close attention to any areas that require repairs or maintenance.
Address safety concerns: Safety should be your top priority as a new homeowner.
Ensure that you have essential safety features in place, such as smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors, and a fire extinguisher.
Check the expiration dates on these devices and replace them if necessary.
Service vital systems: Regular maintenance of essential systems is crucial for the smooth functioning of your home.
Check your water heater for any signs of leaks or malfunctions.
Plan for future maintenance: Create a maintenance schedule for your home.
This could include tasks such as gutter cleaning, HVAC filter replacements, and servicing your septic tank if applicable.
Meet Your Neighbors and Join the Community
Building relationships with your neighbors can enhance your living experience and create a sense of belonging.
Introduce Yourself: Take the initiative to introduce yourself to your neighbors.
Knock on their doors, say hello, and let them know you are the new homeowner.
Attend Community Events: Keep an eye out for community events happening in your neighborhood, such as block parties, garage sales, or holiday gatherings.
Join Local Groups and Clubs: Explore local groups, clubs, or organizations that align with your interests or hobbies.
Attend Neighborhood Meetings: Stay informed about neighborhood developments and upcoming projects by attending neighborhood meetings or homeowners’ association gatherings.
Utilize Social Media and Online Forums: Many neighborhoods have online platforms or social media groups dedicated to fostering community connections.
Organize Gatherings: Consider hosting a housewarming party or a small get-together for your neighbors.
This can be an excellent way to break the ice, build relationships, and establish an inclusive atmosphere in the neighborhood.
Participate in Community Service: Engaging in community service projects is a fantastic way to contribute positively and make a meaningful impact.
As a new homeowner, there are several smart moves you can make to ensure a smooth transition into your new space.
- First and foremost, prioritize home security by taking immediate steps such as changing locks and setting up a security system.
- Next, familiarize yourself with the maintenance needs of your home, from regular cleaning routines to seasonal maintenance tasks.
- Additionally, establish a reliable network of trusted professionals such as plumbers, electricians, and contractors, who can assist you in case of any issues or renovations.
- It’s also important to review your insurance coverage and make any necessary adjustments to protect your investment.
With over 15 years of unwavering dedication to the Texas real estate market, Andrew Reichek is your trusted partner in achieving your real estate dreams. As a licensed Texas Real Estate Broker, Andrew’s unparalleled experience and expertise make him the go-to choice for both buyers and sellers. His extensive knowledge of the local real estate landscape and commitment to delivering exceptional service have made him a recognized authority in the industry.