Making it through the entire home buying process is no small feat. In the span of a month or so, you’ve qualified for a home loan, found the right home and survived all the paperwork and signatures required to cross the finish line of the closing process.
After you collect the copies of your mortgage documents and take the keys to your new home, it might feel like the hard work is behind you. However, before you pop a bottle of celebratory champagne, there are a few more things you need to do immediately after closing that will help make the move-in process as smooth as possible.
Organize and Store Important Documentation
After you receive copies of your mortgage documentation from closing, make sure you store all important and private information in a secure safety deposit box, safe or office cabinet with a lock. It’s also highly recommended that any of these storage options be fireproof, in case of a disaster.
Not only will most of this documentation have private information about your income, assets and credit information, but it will also include the title to the home and information about your homeowners insurance, which will need to be handy if you ever have to file a homeowners insurance claim.
You should also consider storing other important, personal documents, such as your Social Security card, passport and birth certificate, in a safe place.
Set Up Utilities, Cable and Internet
Unfortunately, when you move, there are some services that won’t automatically move with you. If you haven’t already transferred your utilities, cable and internet to your new home, make it a priority to contact these service providers before you move in.
To transfer your cable and internet over to your new home, you’ll have to contact your provider directly and set up an appointment to have your services set up in your new place. For your utilities, you’ll contact your local water, electric and gas companies to turn your services on.
Websites, such as InMArea, can help you search by your ZIP code and find your local service providers, as well as receive top-rated recommendations for cable, TV, internet and home security providers.
Change Your Mailing Address
A new home means a new address, so make sure you update everyone with your new home address. For servicers and other companies you receive mail from, you can either call the company directly or update it online.
You should also change your address with the United States Postal Service (USPS) by filling out a change of address form at your local post office or online. This requests the USPS to forward your mail from your old address to your new one.
A new address also means an opportunity to kick junk mail to the curb. Cable TV offers, lawn maintenance services, home security system offers and homeowners insurance sales pieces are just a few examples of “junk mail” you might receive but would prefer not to. You can contact the senders directly by phone or online to opt out of their mailing lists.
Update Your Home’s Security
Before you spend your first night in your new home, consider changing the locks on all access points to your home. Whether you’re buying a home from a previous owner or buying a brand-new build, you never know who might have access to a key to your home. On average, it costs $150 to replace exterior locks.
Additionally, if you have a remote-controlled garage door, reprogram your garage doors in case anyone might have access to a remote opener or to the keypad code.
Some homes come with a security system already installed. If yours doesn’t, consider contacting a home security company to install a new home security system, such as an alarm system or motion detectors. On average, installation of a home alarm system is $697, but the peace of mind that comes from a protected home is priceless.
Set Aside an Emergency Fund
As you know, there are many differences between owning a home and renting one. You might be in a situation where owning a home is saving you money in terms of monthly payments. However, there are other costs of homeownership that may not immediately come to mind.
Beyond the property taxes and homeowners insurance is the cost of home maintenance. For example, you might not have had to pay to fix a broken AC unit or leaking sink when you were renting – those services are often included in the cost of your rent.
That’s why it’s important to establish an emergency savings fund as soon as possible. Life happens, and when you get hit with unforeseen home maintenance costs, make sure you have a cushion of at least $500 in cash built up so you’re more prepared to tackle surprises.
Deep Clean Everything in the Home
Your new home might’ve looked pristine and staged during the house-hunting process, but before you move in your furniture and personal items, you might want to give the home a good, deep clean.
If you have the time, and feel confident enough to do it yourself, you can roll up your sleeves, buy a few cleaning supplies and clean your home room by room.
You can also outsource to a cleaning company or maid service. If you have the financial means (most homeowners spend an average of $166 for a maid service), then you can research local cleaning companies on websites such as Angie’s List.
Schedule Home Maintenance Before Moving In
Between reading the home inspection report and doing a final walkthrough in your new home, you’ll have an idea of what the move-in condition will be. You’ll also have an idea of what home improvements or maintenance you’ll be responsible for as the new homeowner.
If you’re able to, try to schedule any repairs or home improvement tasks (like painting or floor installation) before you move in, or at least before you move in your furniture and any other personal items.
Since you might not know when the air filters were last replaced or the air ducts were last cleaned, make sure you also contact a professional to come look at your HVAC system to ensure there’s no buildup of contaminants restricting the flow of hot and cold air through your home.
Catalog Your Belongings and Their Condition
Before you move, make sure to log all of your belongings before you pack them away. You’ll want to take stock of what you own, for insurances purposes.
Moving from your last residence to your new home can be stressful, whether you’re moving yourself or hiring a professional moving company. If you have the financial means, consider purchasing an insurance package from your moving company.
Additionally, make sure the moving company provides a bill of landing: a legal contract that covers rates and charges of moving, as well as liability and protection for your belongings.
After your belongings arrive at your new home, go room by room when unpacking and cross-reference the items with the list you previously made and be sure to check the items’ conditions, in case you need to report damage during transportation.
Double-Check Your Current Insurance Coverage
Your homeowners insurance provider can help you determine what insurance you need throughout the life of your loan. While this type of insurance protects your home from liability and property damages, you’d be surprised to hear what isn’t covered in your policy.
For example, traditional homeowners insurance does not cover flood or pest damage to your home. If you feel like your home might be at risk of these, or any other damages, it’s best to contact your provider and see how you can update your policy to include additional protection.
It might cost a little extra each month to add coverage to your policy, but it’s better to be safe when it comes to the integrity of your home and your finances.
Get to Know Your New Neighbors
If you haven’t already, take time to introduce yourself to your new neighbors. Getting to know your neighbors helps you become acquainted with your new surroundings and can even make your neighborhood safer.
There’s an app you can use to connect and network with those in your neighborhood. NextDoor can keep you updated on what’s happening in your neighborhood, as well as provide helpful information such as last-minute babysitters available in your area or local event schedules.
You might not be able to do all of these tasks in a day, so it’s best to start as soon as possible in order to ensure a smooth transition from closing to moving into your new home.
If you’ve recently purchased a home, share your tips for a smooth move-in process below!
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