10 Things To Do After Buying A Home
You’ve just closed on your new home and it’s time to move in. As you walk through the door into the empty home for the first time, it may strike you just how empty the place is.
Where your furniture will go and what items you still need to fill the space, possibly appliances for example, will likely start running through your mind.
But there are other important things you’ll need to do right away as you get settled in. Things you won’t want to miss or forget, else you could find yourself in a pinch later because it wasn’t done.
Here’s a quick list of some things you should do after closing on your next home:
1. Change ALL of the locks.
If you didn’t buy a new construction home, this should be among the FIRST things to do after buying a home. Even if you knew the previous owners and trust them, there could be other people in their circles who received a key to the property along the way. It’s best to start fresh. This could cost around $200, depending on the number of exterior doors and the types of fixtures, so be sure to set aside a little cash for this before closing day if possible
2. Garage Doors and Security Systems.
Just like the keys, addressing garage doors and security systems is an important task to protect your safety and your belongings. It's definitely one of those things to do after buying a home. Be sure to reprogram your garage door openers and codes, and change your security system codes. If you are not familiar with these systems in the new house, call in a professional to assist you with making the changes and teach you how to operate the systems for the future.
3. Address change.
Address changes are a big task on the list of things to do after buying a home. Break the task into bite sized parts to help get the job done. First, make sure you get the address changed on your drivers license. Florida law requires this change be made within 30 days so it must be somewhere near the top of your list of things to do after buying a home. This can be done online or at the local DMV office. Next, you may want to pick up some cards to let family and friends know your new address, or send a quick email to those who matter. You’ll also want to make a list of all of your bills and accounts and be sure to get your address changed in their systems as well. Car insurance is a big one to handle right away. Finally, get to the post office and set up your forwarding address. Then just keep an eye on the mailbox. Anything that comes in with the yellow forwarding sticker is likely something you missed. Be sure change the address on file with those places as the mail trickles in.
If you haven’t already done this, on your list of things to do after buying a home you will need to contact all of the utility companies that service the home to have the services turned on or billing for them transferred to you. The short list of who you’ll need to call includes: Electric, Cable, Internet, Phone, Water, Sewer, Gas, Trash.
5. Pest control.
This is Florida, home of humid weather and big bugs that aren’t killed off by a cold winter each year. It’s usually a good idea to have the home and yard inspected and possibly given a common pest prevention treatment by a professional pest control company while it’s still vacant. It will be easier for them to treat areas that might otherwise be hard to reach if your furniture and belongings are inside. Putting pest control on your list of things to do after buying a home, and before you move in, will help you identify any existing issues and start with a clean slate in your new home.
6. Change the A/C filters.
Like getting an oil change when you buy a new car, this is about timing and it's a great item to place on your list of things to do after buying a home. Filters should be changed about every 3 months. You don’t know when the filter was last changed or if your preferred style and brand was used. Start with a clean slate and this will also give you an chance to get to know where the filter is located and what size you’ll need going forward.
7. Find the main water shutoff.
Don’t wait until someday down the road when something breaks and water is gushing somewhere in your home. Make this a key item on your list of things to do after buying a home. Walk around the property and make a mental note of where the shutoff is and how it works. Hopefully, you’ll never need to use that knowledge, but if something ever happens you will be glad you took a few moments to complete this little move-in task.
8. Hire a pro to do a vacant home deep clean.
Like the pest control, pro cleaners can do a better job and reach places that would otherwise be difficult if the home is empty. So, consider this one of those things to do after buying a home. Before move in day, call a professional cleaning service and have a deep clean done to ensure bathrooms, light fixtures, carpets and hidden corners are all fresh and clean when you move in.
9. Apply for homestead.
Head out to the Volusia or Flagler County Property Appraiser’s office to investigate your tax exemption possibilities. If you’ll be living full time in the home you just bought, you will want to take advantage of the notable homestead exemption that residents here can receive. There's good reason for placing this on your list of things to do after buying a home because the application deadlines for the exemptions are MONTHS in advance of the annual tax bills. You will want to get this paperwork in right away to ensure your exemption is applied as soon as possible.
10. Meet the neighbors.
Instead of the usual quick wave, make introducing yourself one of the things you do after buying a home. Neighbors can be a wealth of information about local companies, services and neighborhood tendencies. This could help you get settled faster and with less stress.
Now that you’ve worked your way through the important stuff, it’s time to move on with the fun stuff like shopping for window treatments, picking out appliances, and moving in to your new home.