Buying a home can be as nerve-wracking as it is thrilling. A new home is a great investment, but it also comes with a long list of responsibilities. It’s easy to overlook important tasks in the chaos of moving and unpacking. Here’s a basic checklist of things you should consider within the first week of moving into your new home.
It’s important to get off to a good start on your home maintenance. You probably did some inspecting while visiting the house, but there’s more to do once you’ve closed.
Rekey the Locks: While homes are shown, many people have access to the keys. In some cases the key may be left in a lock box at the home for impromptu showings. For this reason, there is no way to know if the key has been copied. Rekeying your locks protects you and your family from intruders who may have had access to the old key.
Check the Fence: Do a visual check of the fence and any gates. All locks should be secure and any holes or gaps in the fencing should be prepared. A solid fence keeps out wild and stray animals as effectively as would-be burglars.
Reprogram the Garage Door Opener: Garage door openers have a serious flaw: they run on common frequencies. The same way that someone might have ended up with a copy of your house key, you never know who knows the frequency your garage door operates on. Change the frequency to add a layer of home security.
Pest Control: Before you begin unpacking, you should have the home sprayed for common pests. Depending on the area, this may include: ants, roaches, spiders, and rodents. Spray before the furniture has been moved in to ensure you have full coverage.
Cleaning: Wipe down the baseboards and mop the floors before you move in. This will make spring cleaning next year a little easier.
Once you’ve purchased your new home, you will need to finish up the accompanying paperwork.
File Your Closing Paperwork: Owning a home changes your tax status. File away your closing paperwork for reference when tax season rolls around.
Read Your Inspection Report: During the purchasing process, a professional came and inspected your home. Now that it’s yours, dig up the report and read it. The report will include suggestions for maintaining your home.
Membership: You may need to file some paperwork with your HOA. Make sure you also learn when the HOA meetings are, what maintenance you are responsible for, and how to contact your HOA leadership.
Change of Address: Change your billing address on your bank accounts, employment records, and online retail accounts. Notify the Post Office of your address change as well.
Utilities: After you move in, call the local utilities to have the accounts put in your name. There may be nominal startup fees if the house has been without water or electricity between your move-in date and the time the last owner left.
Budget and Expense Tracking: Keep track of the expenses associated with closing, moving in, and settling in to your new home. Some of these expenses will be tax deductible.
There are plenty of design concerns when moving in to a new house—from the furniture arrangement to the light fixtures. Start with these basic tasks.
Landscape: If you’re moving from a townhouse or condo, you may not have any yard tools. Assess your yard and get the basic tools you’ll need for upkeep such as a lawn mower, hedge trimmers, and a snow shovel.
Window Coverings: Some homes come without blinds or curtains. While you’re waiting for the drapes you ordered to arrive, you can use paper or plastic blinds to preserve your privacy.
Painting: If you know what color you’ll be painting the walls, it’s in your best interest to paint before you bring in the furniture. That way, you don’t have to worry about accidental paint stains or the logistics of painting a furnished room.
Talk to your real estate agent, builder, or Homeowners Association leaders about any region-specific concerns you have. Buying a home is a huge responsibility, but if you take care of it from the moment you walk in the door, it is well worth the maintenance and paperwork.