If you’ve just bought a new home, compliments to you! Becoming a homeowner is fun and exciting after what can be a strenuous, complicated home buying process. It’s a significant accomplishment so, take your time to celebrate and enjoy your new place. However, it’s essential to understand that homeownership is also a considerable responsibility. As you get ready to move into your new home, there are some immediate tasks you should take care of promptly to set yourself up for safe and happy home life!
1. Change the Locks
Once you get the keys to your new place, the first thing you should do is change the locks. Between the previous owners, their real estate agent, and anyone else who may have had a key, such as a neighbor or family member, you can’t ever really be sure who has keys to your house after buying it. It’s best to start on a clean slate and change the locks on your home and garage. Whether you choose to change the locks yourself or hire a professional to do it for you, it’s a small expense to keep your home and family secure.
2. Setup Your Utilities
Getting all your must-have utilities connected in the new home is an excellent way to ensure the move-in process goes smoothly. Electricity, water, and gas are all necessities you will need to settle into your new home. While you are at, it might be helpful to set up your internet and cable while you’re taking care of the other utilities as well. You may need to show verification of residence, among other assets, for the setup process, so it’s best to start reaching out to local providers early as possible to make sure there are no hiccups along the way.
3. Purchase or Review Your Home Warranty
There are many costs associated with homeownership beyond your mortgage. To help cover any unexpected repairs or replacements that come up, you may want to get a home warranty. Much like an insurance plan, you will pay a premium each month, and the warranty will cover the costs of any issues for the items you have covered in your plan. Having a monthly premium will help you budget for these expenses more effectively and avoid getting blindsided when a costly appliance requires repair or replacement unexpectedly. In some cases, the seller of the home includes the warranty when you buy the house. If you do not have a home warranty, there are numerous plans and coverages to choose the right one that makes sense for your budget and needs.
4. Get Acquainted with Your Home
You will want to familiarize yourself with how to operate your home; the sooner, the better. Having a firm grasp of the location and function of the home’s different components before an emergency strikes might save you from some expensive repair down the line. For starters, here are the most crucial areas you will want to begin with:
- Locate the main water shut-off valve and understand how to turn off your water in case of a burst pipe or similar situation.
- Know where your electrical panel circuit box is. You will want to make sure you can easily access it and label the different breakers if they aren’t already.
- Keep a fire extinguisher on hand in the kitchen. It’s recommended to keep one for every floor of your house as well.
- Test out your sump pump to make sure it’s working correctly before the rainy season comes.
- Locate the gas shut off, and understand how to turn off your if your home has one.
For your other home appliances, such as your HVAC, dishwasher, laundry units, etc., it’s a good idea to look up their owner manuals as many manufacturers of backlogs on their websites. It’s wise to keep them handy for reference to understand their operation or other troubleshooting tips.
5. Test Your Detectors
Keep your family and home safe by ensuring that the smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors are working correctly. It would be best to replace new batteries when you first move in or replace the entire detector, depending on the age of the device. It’s recommended to check and replace their batteries every six months and have at least one located on every floor of the home. It is also advisable to place them near the kitchen and laundry room when fires more commonly occur in homes.
6. Refer to Your Inspection Report
The inspection report you received from your home inspection likely flagged some defects throughout your house, which is typical for practically every home. You can use your home inspection report as a reference for future home maintenance coming down the line of homeownership. This can help you budget money for repairs or replacements that you may need and helps give you an idea of when these may occur so you can rate them in terms of which are the most urgent.
7. Prepare Your Maintenance Plans
Along with your home inspection report, there are numerous tasks you will need to complete as a homeowner to ensure your home remains in top working order. Proper home maintenance will extend the lifespans of the different systems and components throughout your house and help catch signs of problems in the early stages. The inspection report will cover more one-off maintenance projects, such as replacing your water heater, which you will only likely do every few years. Along with those, it is a smart practice to create a monthly, seasonal, and annual list to ensure you stay on top of all the maintenance tasks.
Becoming a homeowner is an exciting time for first-time buyers. After a long homebuying process and handling all the moving pieces involved, you will be eager to move in and get settled. Before you get too cozy, though, you will want to sufficiently prepare yourself for the responsibilities of homeownership as early as possible to save you some headaches down the line. Your future self will thank you for getting a handle on your new home ASAP!