You just bought a new home … now what?
After years of saving, you finally found the perfect home. You got preapproved for a home loan, made an offer on the place, and finally signed the mortgage papers. The keys are yours along with all the potential wrapped up in your new home … So, what happens next?
Buying a new home is a big event, but everyday life doesn’t stop, which is why it’s important to make sure the first few weeks after closing on a new house are both organized and productive. By following some of the advice we’ve laid out in this blog, you might just save yourself a lot of frustration and grief.
1. Properly Store All Your Paperwork
Once the mountain of paperwork is signed, the first stop you need to make is to a scanner. After making copies of your closing documents, put the originals in a safe or, better yet, get a safety deposit box to securely store them.
Keep the scanned copies accessible and at home, just in case.
2. Systematically Tackle All Necessary Clerical Items
Transfer your utilities.
You’ll want to call your utility companies long before the closing paperwork is signed to ensure utility service is properly set up on or before moving day.
Assemble all pertinent billing info.
There’ll be so much happening during the move, you’ll want to stay organized and not miss any critical bills. Start by assembling all the names, account numbers, and due dates for your new utilities, mortgage, and any other taxes.
Bonus adult points if you can put these on autopay.
Update your contact info across the following:
- The post office
- Your employer
- Doctor, dentist, and vet’s offices
- Auto, health, and home insurers
- Loan companies and the bank
- And don’t forget to update your driver’s license!
Sign up for Homestead deductions.
Doing so gives you a discount on your property taxes on your primary (only one) residence. All you have to do (Indiana residents) is fill out this form.
3. Prepare yourself for the big move.
Measure and photograph everything.
Before moving, you’ll need to know if your existing furniture is going to fit. Measure your entryways, stairwells, and hallways to get an idea of what furniture needs to be disassembled or sold.
Go ahead and measure your windows while you’re at it. You’ll want to get treatments up as soon as you move in.
And, before settling in, create a photographic record of your home. Hopefully, you’ll never need them, but there may come a day when your insurer or homebuilder require evidence of what your home looked like when you moved in. This way, it’ll be a lot easier to shoot before the furniture and decorations are in place.
Plan your moving day ahead of time.
If you’re going to need professional help getting moved in, go ahead and schedule far in advance with your preferred moving company. And don’t forget to pick up moving supplies, including boxes of all sizes, packing tape, and plenty of packing paper. Also, be sure to assemble a handful of home essentials for moving day like bath tissue, plastic cups for water, some snacks and basic cleaning supplies.
Hopefully, you budgeted for moving costs, but you should be able to deduct them from your taxes — so be sure to save all your receipts!
Don’t rush to furnish your home.
Seriously, don’t blow the rest of your savings on furnishing your brand new home all at once. Give it time. Be deliberate and learn about the flow of your home. You can slowly furnish it over time, piece-by-piece.
4. Get familiar with your new home and neighborhood.
Locate your breakers, water, and gas shut-offs.
You never know when you’ll need to shut off the gas or water, so go ahead and locate the shut-offs and test if they work. And while you’re figuring out your plumbing, double-check the temperature on your water heater. Sometimes developers turn them down until utilities are switched into the buyer’s name.
If it wasn’t done for you, map and label your circuit breakers to the specific rooms and outlets. It’ll come in handy later.
Build a homeowner’s toolkit.
First off — always be honest with yourself when gauging which projects you can do yourself vs. those you need to hire professionals for. That being said, you’re going to want to keep a handful of tools around for basic upkeep.
Pick up a cordless drill, hammer, and a handsaw. You’ll probably want a level, tape measure, and an adjustable wrench, too. A basic toolkit with these items will help carry you through big jobs as well as simple tasks like hanging picture frames.
Don’t forget gardening supplies!
General landscaping upkeep varies from lot to lot, but you’ll almost certainly need a lawnmower, basic gardening tools, and a good garden hose.
Scope the neighborhood, and find the closest:
- Grocery stores and restaurants
- Pharmacies and emergency clinics
- Police and Fire stations
- Veterinary clinics
- Hardware stores
Introduce yourself to the neighbors.
Make a point to introduce yourself to your closest neighbors in all directions.
Positive first impressions count for a lot (especially in smaller neighborhoods), and having a network of people you trust to keep an eye on your property while you’re gone is good for peace of mind.
Take homeownership one step at a time.
Purchasing your own home, even if it’s brand new and you’re the first owner, comes with a learning curve.
It’s easy to get overwhelmed and start feeling stuck or paralyzed. But, if you follow the basic steps we’ve mapped out here, moving into your new home will disrupt your daily life a little less.
Remember, when it comes to owning a home, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.