Congratulations! Closing on your new home is no small feat. You probably feel like you just finished running a marathon, but the trek isn’t over. In fact, your journey as a homeowner is just beginning.
Here is a list of things you should consider doing once you’ve closed on your house:
While homeowners are expected to hand over all keys to the property, you never know who else may have an old copy. After closing on your property, you should change al the locks on your new home. Additionally, if the property has any keypads, you should change the codes of those too.
Smoke & Carbon Monoxide Detectors
Safety comes first. You should test your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors during your first post-settlement visit. According to the U.S. Fire Administration, smoke detectors should be replaced 10 years from the manufactured date.
Some maintenance tasks, such as testing carbon monoxide and smoke detectors, can’t wait. You, your family’s, and your friends’ safety all depend on functional detectors, so as soon as you’re done basking in the glory of closing title and escrow, check the smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.
Paint & Flooring
Nothing freshens up a home much more than a fresh coat of paint and new flooring. Over time dirt and debris gets trapped into the walls and carpet and can result in unpleasant smells. Sometimes these phantom odors may become unrecognizable to the owner because they became accustomed to it over time. They may have even been hidden from you during your initial walkthrough. Whether the culprit is a pet, smoke, or otherwise, it may not have bee detected if masked by a candle or another fragrance. One of the quickest remedies is to remove all carpet and and padding, along with deep cleaning the walls and ceilings before painting. However, if paint and new flooring isn’t necessary or in the budget, wiping all surfaces down with a non-abrasive cleaning solution and renting a professional-grade carpet cleaner is a great alternative.
Walls, Floors, and Fixtures
The property is due for a deep clean. Depending on the condition the property was left in, this task could be an evening project or a multi-day task. Wipe down all walls, countertops, windowsills, and fixtures. Then, vacuum or mops all floors. If cleaning seems to be an overwhelming project, consider asking for help from friends and family, or call a professional cleaning company.
One of the most commonly neglected items in a house is your HVAC system. Routine maintenance for your HVAC system is important. While annual inspections are often recommended, most homeowners forget to regularly replace their air filter let alone have a professional inspect the unit to ensure it is operating properly.
A deep clean of your home is likely to stir up a lot of dirt and dust, especially if you are repairing holes, cracks, or nicks in the drywall. Be sure to replace the air filter and consider contacting a professional to inspect your unit and provide a tune-up. Nothing is worse than having your HVAC unit be nonoperational in the middle of a frigid winter or sweltering summer. Budget for this annual task, as an inefficient system will increase energy bills and will decrease the system’s expected lifetime. A routine maintenance check will help you save money in the long-run.
At settlement, you likely received a closing packet. This typically includes your mortgage, promissory note, deed, and closing disclosures. I would also recommend keeping a copy of your buyer-agency agreement, purchase agreement, seller’s disclosures, title insurance policy, and home inspection report in a separate folder or binder someplace safe. As soon as possible, you should also place a copy of the documents in a fire-proof location, such as a safety deposit box or safe.
Change of Address
Don’t forget to notify required parties of your change your address:
- Insurance Companies
- Bank / Financial Institutions / Credit Card Companies
- Utility Companies
- United States Postal Service
- Department of Motor Vehicles
- Subscriptions (mailers and digital)
- Related Service Providers (e.g. doctor, dentist, accountant, lawyer, etc.)
- Friends & Family
Consult with your lender to understand who is servicing your loan and how payments can be made. You may not be in the habit of paying a mortgage ever month, especially if you never owned a home before. However, it is essential that you may each payment on time and in full. Be sure to know when your payment is due and how much money you will need to cover it. I recommend regularly setting aside money to help cover the cost. While mortgage payments are due monthly, I suggest transferring a portion of the mortgage every pay period (e.g. setting aside $600 every two weeks for a $1,200 monthly mortgage payment). You can then use the leftover money as an emergency fund, home maintenance fund, or extra money to pay towards your principal. If you are unsure how much money is owed, review your closing disclosure. You will find a breakdown of the mortgage payment, interest, taxes, and insurance in your closing disclosure.