New Home Checklist: 7 Things to Do ASAP After Closing
Closing on a new home is an exciting time. For many, submitting closing costs when buying a home can feel like reaching the end of a long and often stressful period. Still, before new buyers take their foot off the gas, there are some critical items to address. It's often tempting to dive into the fun side of making a new property feel more like home, but getting several important tasks checked off first is vital.
Change the Locks
Safety first! Changing locks on your new home is a great way to establish security in your new home. Suppose you have purchased a property in a complex. In that case, the multi-family residential security solutions may have already sorted this out for you, as encrypted authentication access codes are typically reset automatically when a new tenant takes over occupancy. Still, it's worth asking a property management person to ensure security.
No matter what type of dwelling you've bought, if it comes with physical locks and keys for entry, it's well worth the peace of mind to have them all changed at your earliest convenience.
You simply do not know who else (besides the previously known owners) may hold copies of the keys to your new property, and that is one security risk that is easily mitigated. By purchasing and installing new locks or changing access codes as applicable, you can better support all types of home security systems.
Test Smoke & CO Detectors
Don't assume that the last owner checked the smoke and carbon monoxide detectors before moving out. As soon as you close on your new home - and before you hit the hay on night one - check all smoke and CO detectors are working correctly. Many new homeowners prefer to change their detector batteries upon closing, whether necessary or not, for added peace of mind and a date from which they can refer back first-hand with no discrepancies.
Clean & Service HVAC Systems
Depending on the time of year you move into your new home, you may not need to use your heat or air conditioning units for immediate comfort. Still, it's a good idea to check them over once you close on the property to be sure everything is in order and ready for the seasons to change. The last thing you want to face is a faulty HVAC system as heat or cold weather closes in.
So, check the units, test that they are working well, and clean out the vents while at it. Given that it is recommended that filters be changed every three months, it may be a good time to get that little job done, too, leaving your HVAC system clean, odour-free, in good working order and ready for the upcoming season.
Inspect the Water Heater
While there may have been a quick look over the property's water heater during the purchase process, there is little you or a property inspector can do before closing the house. Therefore, as soon as you close, it's time to give the system the once over, adjust the settings to suit your preferences, and ideally drain the water out to give it a minor service. Altering the pressure and temperature setting could lower your energy expenses and keep the water heater in good working order for longer, so it pays to check it over as soon as possible.
Double-Check Your Homeowner's Insurance
While you'll need to get homeowners' insurance in place before closing, reviewing your choice once you've moved in is prudent to ensure that you've gone with the most appropriate cover and the best deal. Review the level of protection offered, ensure that you've included all necessary items for coverage (i.e., furniture, personal possessions, etc.), and consider any additional items that you add to the home soon after moving in, such as large furniture or appliance purchases.
Find a Safe Space For Important Documents
Moving into a new house can be chaotic, with half-emptied boxes lying around far longer than many like to admit! It's a good idea to ensure that all essential documents are stored somewhere secure (and easy to find).
Collate your closing paperwork, including mortgage documents, deeds, closing disclosure information, insurance policy documents, and anything else about the property, and store them away safely. Some homeowners even keep them in a safety deposit box at home or their local bank.
Update Your New Mailing Address
Unless you treat changing your address with various parties (banks, utility companies, Department of Motor Vehicles, etc.) as a task to complete fully upon moving, an assortment of missed communications and avoidable issues will pop up repeatedly until you do.
Make Yourself at Home!
Closing on a home and reaching the end of your moving timeline is a great feeling, and it's understandable to want to forget all these little jobs and relax, but tying up these last few items will make settling into your home all the more enjoyable.