Closing the sale on your new home can, in the moment, feel like the ultimate conclusion to the homebuying process. However, as you’ve no doubt since realized, there’s still plenty of work ahead. The closing simply served as an end to the seller’s duties as the owner of the property, and now it falls to you to pick up where they left off.
Security – First and foremost, change your locks. Despite first impressions, this isn’t necessarily an act of distrust regarding the previous owner. During their time with the property, they may have given spare keys out to third parties, such as friends, family, sitters, servicemen, etc. Until you’ve gotten to know those around you, it’s always best to take the extra precaution and get new keys.
Paperwork – Next, the deed. As soon as you’ve had the ownership rights transferred and received the property deed, you should store it in a safe location and make a copy. If you want your backup to be physical, consider getting a safety deposit box at a local bank; those preferring digital storage can simply scan a copy to themselves, then save the file to a secure account. Either way, this ensures that in the event of a robbery, fire, or any other sort of destructive home incident, you can still verify your ownership.
Social – Once you’re confident in your home security, take some time to get to know your neighbors. Establishing a network of people in your immediate area creates a sort of unofficial security system, as you can ask them to keep an eye on your home when you’re away – it’s also a perfect way to make new friends!
That said, your neighbors aren’t the only ones that should be kept in the loop. Don’t forget to update your place of work, family members, and any other important parties with your new address. We wouldn’t want mom and dad coming up to visit only to find a completely new family living at your old home.
Renovation – From here, we can finally turn our attention to maintenance. That said, before you commit to any major undertakings with your new property, take some time to verify the extent of your insurance coverage. For instance, if your property has a detached garage or shed, insurance may cover the cost of repairs for such structures.
During the home inspection, you were likely provided with a list of issues identified by the inspector. If any of the items on that list were not resolved/ never addressed prior to closing, consider making those a top priority. Of course, some items on that list may require the employment of specialists or contractors. Consider consulting your REALTOR® for recommendations. Barring that, you can always make use of your newly-established neighborhood social network to the same effect.
Once you’ve taken care of the most pressing tasks, take some time to figure out a schedule for general upkeep. How often will you need to clean out the gutters? Does the exterior need a new coat of paint for the upcoming winter season? When do you want to schedule your yearly battery replacement for smoke alarms? You won’t be able to rely on a landlord to keep track of these tasks anymore; the sooner you establish a checklist, the less you’ll find yourself dealing with random malfunctions.
Complacency has a tendency to sneak up on us all, particularly after major milestones like homeownership. So long as you’re able to follow through on our advice and maintain a proactive mindset, you’ll be able to bring out the true value of your property in no time!