Congratulations! You have just closed on a house, and now it is time for you to take a big sigh of relief. After everything a home buyer goes through—making an offer, mortgage application, home inspection, and closing—you have earned the right to sit back and enjoy your new home.
But wait! There are still a few things you will need to take care of, and some of them cannot wait. We have gathered a list of the first things to do after buying a house. Doing them sooner rather than later will help to ensure that you will be a flourishing homeowner immediately and well into the future.
Make sure your home is secure
One of the first things to do after you buy a house is to change the locks, along with the garage and security codes. You don’t want the last home’s owner to have access to your new home, so you should make it a point to change the locks right after closing. Also, reset the garage security code for the same reason you change the locks—to keep the previous owners (and any of their friends) from potentially gaining access to your property.
Connect the utilities
It makes sense to schedule your utility connections in advance so that you can move in on closing day with all of the necessities such as electricity, water, and gas. You will also want to have internet access and cable television as soon as possible. To ensure that you never miss a utility payment, set up autopay for each one of them.
Keep you and your family safe in the new environment
Check that the existing smoke and carbon dioxide detectors are working, or install new ones. You never want to be lax on fire protection, so besides smoke detectors, add fire extinguishers to the kitchen and one on each floor. Keep in mind that carbon monoxide is dangerous and insidious without color, odor, or sound. A detector is the only way to know if it is seeping into your home.
Another possible safety issue is hot water. Check and lower the settings on your water heater, if necessary, to make sure any young children won’t be scalded by excessively hot water.
Let everyone know you have moved
Inform the U.S. Post Offices in both your old and new locations that you have moved. You can set up mail forwarding to your new address. The post office will forward your mail for one year.
Of course, you will want to give your friends and family your new address, but do not forget your employer and any organizations to which you belong. Finally, let all of your creditors know you have moved. A spotless credit record can be marred because of lost bills.
Acquaint yourself with your new home
You need to know where everything is in your new house in case there is ever a problem:
- Main water shut-off valve — in case of a water leak
- Circuit box — find it and label the switches before there is an outage
- Gas shut-off valve — know where it is!
- Sump pump — test it before the next storm hits
- Septic system — have it inspected and emptied if needed
Create a homeowner to-do list for your new house
Here are some of the maintenance duties to include:
- HVAC filters: HVAC filters are easy to change, once you know where they are located. Most of them should be changed every two months, so put them at the top of your maintenance list.
- Dryer hose and vent: The vent should be cleaned once a year since any build-up could become a fire hazard.
- Water heater: Once a year, either you or a professional should drain the water heater.
- Gutters: Clean your gutters at least once a year, even more frequently, if there are trees on your property.
Review your insurance coverage
You likely took care of homeowners insurance during the mortgage process, but where you are living now could affect your auto insurance, too. Perhaps flood insurance was not required by FEMA, but you should consider adding it since floods are the most common natural disaster. Depending on where you are now living, you might want to also look at earthquake insurance.
Among those things to do after buying a house, an important task is to create a home inventory. It is crucial to list your belongings both to know how much personal property coverage you need and also as documentation if you have a loss.
If you need insurance help before or after you move into your new home, check in with one of the advisors at White Cloud Insurance. We are committed to “customer first” service!