Did You Finally Close on Your Dream Home? Use This Checklist to Guide Your Next Steps
Everyone dreams about owning a home. In 2015, approximately 62.2 percent of the Americans owned the home they stayed in which is not that special. In fact, it is not impressive at all. But many people believe in the years ahead this number will improve with a pro-growth and pro-job president in office but that’s another topic that we’ll avoid with a 10-foot pole.
The house-buying process can be quite stressful because there is a lot that you need to take care of – from house hunting and loan applications to making an offer and the final walkthrough; it is a tiring yet immensely fulfilling process. Even if you have managed to close on your dream home, your job is still not over. There are a few of things that you must do, before moving into your new home.
Here is a checklist to help you out:
- Keep Your Documents in a Secure Place
Once you close on your home, it is vital that you make copies of some of the documents and keep them in a safe place. Documents such as the Purchase Agreement, HUD-1 Settlement Statement, and the Title Transfer Document (the Deed) are critical for future reference when it comes to paying taxes or filing a claim. Make photocopies of these documents – keep one copy in a safety deposit box in your bank and the other copy in your home (in a fire safe box, if possible).
- Do not Forget to Change the Locks
Did you know more than 40 percent of break-ins happen without the use of force in the US? When you have finally closed on your home, it is critical that you change all the locks, including garage, pool, and greenhouse locks (if you have one of course). This is a safety measure because you don’t know who the former owners gave their keys to. While upgrading, think of flipping the switch for locks with higher safety quotients such as those with remote or keyless locks that need a four digit code.
- Get in Touch with a Pest Control Company
When you move into a new home, you definitely do not want to be bothered by creepy crawlies. The pest control business in the country is flourishing with annual revenue of $14 billion. The main reason for this success is that pest control services work.
In a recent survey conducted by National Pest Management Association, 93 percent of pest professionals stated that single-family homes are one of the top places where they find bed bugs. Therefore, ask a pest control company to inspect your home and get it cleaned up before you move into it.
- Ensure that You File for Homestead
If your new home is in one of the homestead states, then it is important that you file for a homestead. Homestead exemption laws can help you get a discount on your property taxes, but it doesn’t happen automatically. You will have to tell the county that you actually live in the house that you just bought. As soon as you close on your new home, check the eligibility and deadlines with the local county office.
- Go Through the House and Make a Maintenance List
Although it may not seem as exciting, this move is just as important as the others. On an average, homeowners in the US spend between 1 to 4 percent of the overall value of their home on maintenance annually. This percentage will increase if you keep ignoring the situation until it becomes a major problem.
Therefore, ensure that you make provision for sprinkler blowouts, gutter cleaning, and changing filters on your maintenance list before moving into your new home. And do remember to set up reminders for checking the thermostat, water heaters, and other appliances regularly.
- Change Your Driver’s License and Vehicle Registration
According to the laws of the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), you must notify the state department of your change of address and relocation. You will also have to transfer vehicle registration to your new address. Even though each US state has slightly different DMV laws, you will most likely be required to change your address within 30 days. If you forget to update your license and registration, it may be categorized as a misdemeanor, and thereby, punishable by fines and/or a year in jail. But that is unlikely though a small fine is possible and anytime you toss away money is not good.
- Meet Your New Neighbors
Make your transition into the new neighborhood easier by meeting your neighbors before you move. You could do something as simple as taking flowers to them and introduce yourself or even a batch of cookies! You can take tips from them about the play groups, local athletic clinic, social gatherings in the area, and so on.
Moving into a new home should be a fun and fulfilling process. With the help of this checklist, you can rest easy knowing that you have not missed anything critical.
Once you close in on your dream home and take care of the nitty-gritty little things, you are free to focus solely on the joy of purchasing and staying in your very own house.
If you enjoyed this checklist, you may also be interested in one of the following checklists:
New Home Walkthrough Checklist (a checklist created by a home builder to use while doing your final walk through with your homebuilder)