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You’ve Closed on a House. Now What?

Congratulations! You just made one of the biggest purchases of your life. Buying a home is a thrilling rite of passage. But even if you’ve found the perfect home that’s move-in ready, you should take some steps before you start unloading the U-Haul.

Taking these steps won’t be exciting, but they’ll help you enjoy your new place now and in the future.

Change the locks

Whether you’re the DIY type or prefer to have a professional do the work, change all exterior locks before you move in. You have no idea how many people out there have a key to your home as the previous tenants could’ve handed spare keys out to friends or family. In addition, maintenance workers and real estate agents may have keys to your house. To help you and your family feel safer, beef up security by installing new locks as soon as you get the keys to the place.

Clean every nook and cranny

Not everyone will leave the house clean for the next resident, and someone else’s definition of clean may be vastly different than yours. Clean the carpets, cabinets, and every room to remove all traces of the former occupants. Again, you can handle this task on your own or hire a cleaning service if you’re pressed for time. Either way, you’ll feel much more comfortable in your new home.

If you’re planning to sand down wood floors or tackle other jobs that are typically messy and time-consuming, get to them before you move into your home.

It’s also wise to treat for insects and other pests before you move in. Your mortgage lender may require this.

Paint and make other improvements

The previous residents of the home probably hung pictures, artwork, and other decorations on the walls, so it’s important to go through and repair any cracks and holes in the walls and ceilings. Plus, fresh coats of paint will make the home feel more inviting and will allow you to customize the space to look exactly the way you want.

If you don’t have time to decide on a new color for every room, pick a neutral for all of them if the walls look to be in poor condition. You can always go back later and paint one room at a time. Remember, though, putting your stamp on the house doesn’t mean going crazy. You don’t want to paint rooms a color that will turn off potential buyers when that time comes.

Have mechanical structures inspected and cleaned

Especially in older homes, hire professionals to inspect and repair the cooling and heating systems, electrical outlets, and plumbing. Also check to see that carbon monoxide and smoke detectors are working properly before moving into the home. Lastly, familiarize yourself with the fuse box so you’re not wandering around blindly trying to find it and figure out which switch to flip when the power goes out for the first time. The same goes for the water system shutoff valve.

Make sure your family is prepared

Put together an emergency survival kit and map out an emergency evacuation plan and make sure all family members are familiar with the plan. You never know when disaster can strike, and it’s important that your family be prepared for any situation. An ounce of prevention now can prevent a wall of confusion in a real emergency.

Once all the chores are taken care of, enjoy the fresh start in your new home!


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