Essentials After the Home Sale

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The t’s are crossed and the i’s dotted on a mountain of paperwork to buy your new home. But don’t put away your pen. Now’s the time to devise and check off your to-do list to ensure you and your family will fully enjoy the amenities your new home can bring.

“You’re a homeowner, and your home is one of the largest investments you’ll make in your life. You want to be safe and secure in it,” said Mary Riffel, Realtor. “Your home should be maintained on a constant basis to hold its value. Now’s the time to build your strategy for the future of your house.” To assist her clients in developing their new home plans, Mary shares a few basics she recommends as moving day arrives.

Change the locks.
Receiving the keys to your new home is one of the final acts of the sales process, and all should be given to you at that time. But it doesn’t always happen because the owner hasn’t kept track of the keys he or she has given out.

“If this is a resale, then rekey or change your locks. Relatives, dog sitters, housecleaners and more could have keys to your home. You don’t know to whom the past owners have given keys, and it’s impossible to truly know if every one is accounted for,” shared Mary. “The cost is minor compared to the peace of mind you’ll have that your family is safe.” Mary also points out that if security systems are installed in the home, ensure you change the passcodes. Some homes feature keypads on the garage doors, so those will need to be altered as well. If instructions haven’t been left behind by the last owner, consult the website of the manufacturer, which should feature details on how to set panels and passwords.

Create a maintenance plan.
There’s nothing worse than an air conditioner going out in mid-July, so it makes sense to take care of your equipment. List the major pieces in your home and the tasks required to keep them running. Many times, it’s a professional checkup before the season they’ll be called upon, such as late summer for your furnace or early spring for your air conditioner. If you had a home inspection completed before your purchase, you have a good head start.

“Look back to see what they’ve recommended. You can find maintenance tips on your lawn, furnace, annual insect and pest control and more,” shared Mary. “If you maintain your furnace, air conditioner, appliances and other parts of your home, you can rely on them for a long time.”

After the closing, save your documentation.
Those stacks of documents you signed are vitally important to you so store them wisely. Some contain tax information your CPA may need for your tax returns. Use a safe or a secure location to store paper copies. Also, consider scanning those documents, saving to your hard drive and then backing up to the cloud.

Update your mailing address.
The Postal Service has an easy-to-use website to forward your mail or you can stop by and request the paperwork. Financial institutions need to know you’ve moved as will your medical providers, insurance companies, schools, friends and family, phone company, internet provider and more. For most, you can update addresses on business websites. Consider printing business cards with your new address and handing them out to those who need to know. You can print them at home on pre-cut sheets available at office stores.

Meet your new neighbors.
Not only is it the friendly thing to do, it’s a very useful thing to do. You can learn the history of your neighborhood and exchange contact information. When you’re out of town or at work, it’s nice to have another set of eyes watching things. “Meeting your neighbors is a smart thing to do,” commented Mary. “Sometimes it’s the best security you can have. It’s nice to have someone checking on things.”

Even though you’re moving into a new home, it’s savvy to have your eye on the future. “Keep up with the market. If you resell, you have a better knowledge of pricing your home or knowing when to sell or downsize when that time comes. You want to get the most for your dollar,” remarked Mary. “Keep up with interest rates because you might be able to refinance to a lower rate. And always keep good insurance on your home with a reputable company.”

These are a few suggestions to get you thinking about your own new-home strategy. Even though you’ve just finished with the sales paperwork, the planning is just beginning for you and your new abode. Time set aside now to strategize and prioritize is well worth the investment for this asset you will soon call home. ■