You bought your house, congratulations! You’ve made it through the toughest part – getting the mortgage closed. Now it’s time to celebrate.
Don’t party too long, though. You still have a lot to do. Buying a new (or existing) house is a lot of work. Use the checklist below to get started.
Change the Locks on Your New Home
Don’t take any chances. You don’t know who had keys to the old locks. Make this one of your first steps. Change all exterior door locks as well as garage door codes. Have the garage door openers reprogrammed as well.
Choose Your Security System
If you will have a home security system, arrange for installation after your closing date. While you may not be in a big rush, it’s always a relief to have the system in place shortly after moving in. If you are unsure, look around the area. Do a lot of neighbors have security systems? You may want to follow suit.
Even if you don’t install a security system, at the very least, try a video doorbell. This gives you a bird’s eye view of what goes on just outside your home. Police and neighborhood watch groups use the videos all of the time.
Deep Clean the Home
This step is up to you. Many people bring in a crew of family and friends and tackle the house themselves. Others, hire a company to deep clean the home. We recommend doing this before you bring in furniture or any of your belongings. It’s your one chance to clean every nook and cranny without anything in your way.
Set up the Utilities
You should do this before you even move into the home. Unless you don’t plan on going into it right after closing, you’ll need electricity, water, and gas turned on. If you buy an existing home, you just need it switched to your own name. If it’s a new home or a vacant home, you may need everything turned on.
Set up the Phone and Internet
Phone and internet companies often have long wait times. Set up your installation date before you close on the home. This way you may have a phone or internet connection by the time you move into the home. You will need to be present, so make sure it’s a time when you are available and have possession of the home.
Move Your Belongings and Furniture Into the Home
Once you deep clean the home and set it up as much as you can, go ahead and move in. Hire movers, ask friends, or just make lots of trips back and forth bringing your furniture and belongings to the home. It will take time to get unpacked and for it to feel like ‘home’ but just having your stuff there helps.
Hang Window Treatments
You may not be able to cover every window in the house right off the bat, so start with the most obvious windows. Bedroom windows are typically of utmost concern. Bathroom windows and any windows on the first floor that give a bird’s eye view of your home are important too.
If you can’t afford fancy window treatments right away, check out the temporary blinds and window coverings offered at hardware stores. They have come a long way, providing coverage where you need it without making your windows look too silly.
Share Your New Address
Don’t forget to announce the excitement of your move. Send friends and family your new address. Whether you are formal about it, sending a card in the mail or you send a big group text, get the information out there.
Don’t forget about your creditors too. Your mortgage company obviously has your address, but what about the rest? Think about your current bills and get your address changed quickly. This can avoid any delay in you receiving your mail and paying your bills late.
Contact the Post Office
Chances are you will forget to let someone know about your new address along the way. Rather than letting the mail sit at your old address, fill out a Change of Address form at the post office. This way all mail gets forwarded to your new address, even if it’s a little delayed.
Pay Your Mortgage
Of course, there’s the one thing you can’t forget – paying your mortgage. Luckily, you get a little break when you first close. Your first payment is typically due in around 45 days from the date you close. Prepare yourself accordingly so that you can make your first mortgage payment on time.
Buying a house is expensive and time-consuming. Make sure you prepare yourself ahead of time for all of the extra fees and costs that go into buying a home. While getting the mortgage is essential, it’s not the only cost you’ll face as a homeowner.