What Are The Most Important Things To Do After Closing On A House?
There are many steps to buying a house that buyers are often aware of. On the other hand, there are also many steps that buyers should take after closing on a new home that many buyers aren’t aware of.
It’s important that when buying a house you realize that the work doesn’t stop as soon as you close on your new home. In fact, in many cases, the work is just beginning.
Working as a real estate agent in Rochester NY for over 6 years, I find it extremely important to educate buyers on what to expect as a homeowner. Being a homeowner comes with new tasks and responsibilities, many of which should occur right after closing on a new home.
Below you’re going to find out 13 of the top tasks to complete after closing on a home. It’s extremely important that when buying a house you consider completing the following tasks after closing. By completing the following tasks, new homeowners greatly improve the chances they’re happy with their home purchase for many years to come!
1.) Make Copies Of Documents & Store In A Safe Place
When buying a home there are a lot of documents that will be signed and executed. Many of the documents that buyers receive when buying a home maybe needed in the future for a variety of reasons.
For example, if a buyer decides to put up a privacy fence on their property, a local municipality is likely going to request to see the survey map of their property prior to agreeing to a permit. Yes, getting permits for additions and improvements
After closing, it’s important that you get copies of all the documents from the buying process as well as the closing. Make sure that you store these documents in a safe place, such as a safe or private filing cabinet.
One tip for first time home buyers or buyers purchasing their fifth home is to also store these documents on a secure cloud based website or software such as Google Drive or Dropbox.
2.) Change or Re-Key The Locks
One task to complete after closing on a new home that most buyers are aware of is changing the locks or re-keying them. A common mistake made by new homeowners who’ve recently closed on their new home is they decide to not spend the money to change the locks.
Changing the locks on a new home is highly recommended for security purposes. One of the contingencies in a real estate purchase offer is that all keys to a property are delivered to a buyer at closing, however, it’s impossible to truly know if every key is accounted for.
The cost of changing the locks or having them re-keyed should not be more than a couple hundred dollars, depending of course on the number of locks. A couple hundred dollars is well worth the additional “peace of mind” that comes with knowing you have the only keys that can gain access to your new home!
3.) Update Any Keypads
Homes nowadays are being equipped with smart home technology features. One of the most popular features that today’s buyers are looking for in homes are keypad door locks. If you’re buying a home with keypads that lock and unlock the doors, after closing, you need to update the keypads and codes.
Most home sellers will leave instruction guides to electronic keypads which have instructions on how to change keypad codes. If not, you can find most instruction guides online.
In addition to keypad door locks, another keypad that should be updated after closing on a new home are garage keypads. Garage keypads have been around for decades and it’s important that if the garage can be opened by a keypad, you change the code on that as well as the any door keypads.
4.) Start A Home Maintenance List
Being a homeowner comes with maintenance tasks. Regardless if a buyer is planning on completing maintenance themselves or plans on hiring a professional, it’s important that after closing on a new home that buyers start a home maintenance list.
It’s a good idea that when starting home maintenance lists that the tasks are broken up by seasons or months. For example, there are many spring home maintenance tips that should be completed once the gloomy winter months are
Whether the home maintenance list is one piece of scrap paper or on a detailed spreadsheet, it’s very important to start planning the upcoming maintenance tasks. By keeping up on maintenance tasks, buyers can greatly reduce the number of huge repairs and expenses that come with deferred home maintenance.
5.) Alert Important People & Companies About Your Move
After closing on a new home, another important task to complete relatively quickly is alerting important people and companies about your new home. Within a couple days after closing on a new home, a buyer should first alert the United States Postal Service. This will ensure that important mail will not go undelivered!
The USPS is only one of the important people and/or companies that should be aware of a change of address. Below are a few of the other important people and/or companies to alert of a new address.
- Friend and relatives
- Financial institutions
- Insurance companies
- Phone, internet, and cable companies
- Medical offices – dentist, physician, etc…
- Newspaper subscriptions
Buyers who understand who to alert about their new address after closing on a new home will make moving less stressful. Buyers who have to worry about losing mail or not having insurance because of not alerting the proper parties about their new address are adding unnecessary stress and anxiety.
6.) Check The Water Heater
One of the top reasons to complete a final walk through before closing on a home is to check that the home still has hot water. While you may have hot water at the final walk through, you still should check the water heater temperature and water pressure in the home after closing.
Everyone prefers their own temperature of water and also pressure, so make sure you evaluate these items after closing. Most water heaters have dials where you can adjust the temperature of the water. Here is a handy guide from Energy.gov that provides some tips for adjusting water heater temperatures. It’s also recommended that once a year you drain your water tank to get rid of collected sediment in the bottom of the tank.
There are a few different ways to adjust water pressure in a home. One of the most common ways to adjust water pressure is by adjusting the water pressure reducing valve. The water pressure reducing valve is generally found near the water main coming into a home near the main shutoff.
Make sure before adjusting the water pressure reducing valve to drastically in a home, you’ve read up on tips for adjusting the water pressure. Skipping the proper steps to reducing the water pressure reducing valve can lead to some major issues in a home, such as burst pipes.
7.) Check The HVAC Systems
One of the most important reasons to have an inspection when buying a home is so that the HVAC systems can be looked at. Assuming that the HVAC systems check out after an inspection, there are still a couple tasks that buyers should complete after closing on a new home.
It’s possible a buyer will request a seller have the HVAC serviced prior to closing, but if not, one of the first tasks to complete after closing is to have the HVAC serviced by a professional. The cleaning of a furnace and central air conditioning unit is recommended every year and can help prolong the life of them.
Another task to complete after closing on a new home is to make sure the filter is new in the HVAC system. Old and dirty furnace filters can drastically impact the efficiency of an HVAC system, so replacing them regularly is recommended.
8.) Freshen The Interior Walls & Ceilings
One of the first things that many buyers will complete after closing on a new home is freshly painting the walls and ceilings. It’s a smart idea to complete any painting of the walls and ceilings prior to moving in personal belongings, if possible.
It’s critical to understand that the type of paint is dependent on the type of room being painted. For kitchens and baths, semi-gloss paints are suggested because they’re easier to clean when comparing to a gloss paint. As a homeowner, understanding how to select the right paint is important.
9.) Complete A Deep Cleaning
Real estate contracts request that homes are in “broom-clean” condition upon closing. “Broom-clean” condition can mean two very different things, depending on who you’re talking with.
After closing on a new home, completing a deep cleaning is suggested. It’s possible that the previous owners did a fantastic job so a deep cleaning may be relatively easy.
In some cases, hiring a professional company to complete a deep cleaning may be required. If a buyer prefers to complete the deep cleaning themselves, some of the tasks to consider completing after closing include;
- Wash all windows, inside and outside
- Steam clean carpeting
- Wash any draperies or valences that were included
- Clean included appliances
- Clean and polish wood flooring
- Scrub tile grout
10.) Consider An Energy Audit
If you’re buying a new construction home, an energy audit is likely unnecessary. If you’re buying a home that’s older, you may consider an energy audit after closing.
Older homes are notorious for poor efficiency, especially if they haven’t had an energy audit in many years. One task to consider after closing on a new home is having a local company perform an energy audit.
There are many companies in the Greater Rochester NY area who perform complimentary energy audits on homes and this is likely the case in most cities. During an energy audit the homes insulation levels, heating systems, cooling systems, and a variety of other areas and features will be inspected to see if there are areas that could be improved.
It’s important when considering an energy audit that a reputable company is being used. The Residential Energy Services Network, RESNET, can help you find a contractor who’s a qualified home energy professional in your area.
11.) Investigate Smart Home Technology
Each and everyday it seems like a new piece of smart home technology is being released. Bigger, better, smarter, and even more impressive. The possibilities seem endless when it comes to smart home technology. The impact of smart home technology on real estate cannot be understated.
After closing on a new home, buyers should explore smart home technology options that may interest them. Whether it’s a thermostat that can be adjusted by
a mobile phone or sensors that can detect if there is water in a basement, after closing on a new home it’s a good idea to at least explore the incredible technologies that are out there for homes.
12.) Research All Tax Deductions & Discounts
Many homeowners don’t realize that there are some great tax deductions for home buyers. After closing on a new home, it’s important to explore all of the tax deductions and discounts that are available in your area, city, and state.
A great person for homeowners to consult with is their accountant. An experienced accountant can help a buyer understand any deductions, discounts, or implications of owning a home.
After closing, it’s also important to contact the local municipalities and state about discounts that maybe available. In New York State, homeowners are eligible for the STAR exemption which is a discount on the local school taxes. The discount amount varies from school district to school district.
13.) Meet The Neighbors
When a new homeowner moves into a neighborhood the surrounding neighbors are usually curious to meet the new owners. After closing on a new home, get out and meet your neighbors!
Not only is meeting the neighbors the “neighborly” thing to do, it’s also a good opportunity to exchange contact information with them just in the event of an emergency. Homes with security systems can be secure, however, sometimes the best security for a home are the surrounding neighbors!
Being a homeowner is an amazing feeling and as you can see, there are things to do, even after closing. The above 13 tasks are all very important and will improve the overall home buying experience.
As the years go by in a home, the list of tasks typically continues to grow but owning a home is a great investment and accomplishment! An additional tip for homeowners is to use the home inspection report, if one was performed, as a resource. An inspection report often provides detail as to when certain things should be serviced, maintained, or replaced.