11 Things You Need to Do After Buying Your New Home

entryway with white shelving and a bench

Finally closing on your new home is exciting, but that doesn’t mean the work is over. Here are eleven of the most important things that new homeowners need to do after the transaction has been completed. 

#1. Change Your Address

Officially changing your address and forwarding your mail is one of the first steps to take once you’ve closed on your new home. 

To prevent your mail from going to your old address, sign up with the post office to temporarily forward all mail from your old home to your new address. Visit USPS’s website to easily fill out the form online. 

The next step is to submit a change of address request to all of your accounts and items, but transferring your mail in the meantime will ensure that you don’t miss anything during the transition. 

#2. Set Up the Utilities

Hooking up your home’s utilities with local providers will make your home move-in ready. Since it may take a few days for the utilities to be turned on, it’s a good idea to set up the essentials a few days before moving in. Water, electricity, and gas should be taken care of first. 

Keep in mind that different utility providers have different processes for signing up new residents. In some cases, you may be able to do it all online. Or, you might need to submit specific documents to prove that you’re the new resident of the home. Check your local provider’s website or call their office to learn more about their specific requirements. 

#3. Check the Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors 

Checking the smoke and carbon monoxide detectors will make sure that your new home is safe to live in. Make sure all of the emergency detectors are working properly and have full batteries. 

In some cases, you may want to install additional detectors if they are missing from key areas in the home or are not located in a room that requires one. There should be at least one smoke detector on each floor in multi-level homes. Smoke alarms should be placed in kitchens, bathrooms, and laundry rooms as well as in hallways connecting to the bedrooms. 

#4. Change the Locks 

Safeguard your new home by changing the locks and access codes on any security systems.

Whether the previous owners gave copies of their keys to friends and family, or agents and repair teams had keys to enter the home throughout the listing process, it’s best to update all locks and access points. 

Remember to update garage door keys and codes as well as your community access code if you live in a gated neighborhood or building. 

#5. Locate the Water Valve and Electrical Circuit Breaker

Learn where the essential systems are located in your new home, such as the water valve and main circuit breaker. In case of a sudden leak or power outage, you’ll need to locate these items and work with them as quickly as possible. 

Once you learn where the water valve and breaker box are located, take a moment to get accustomed to them. If needed, place labels to mark important reminders or switches in your breaker box. Most homes in the U.S. have water valves controlled by either a round wheel handle or a lever valve. To shut them off, simply turn to the right.

#6. Get All of Your Documents in Order

It’s easy to get disorganized during the moving process. Once you’ve settled into your new home with your belongings, taking steps to get all of your important documents and paperwork in order will keep you from losing track of anything important.

Along with your pre-existing files, organize all of the new documents from the move. New homeowners should keep copies of these documents from their purchase:

  • Purchase agreement
  • Addendums
  • Disclosures 
  • Repair requests
  • Escrow information 
  • Inspection reports
  • Closing statement
  • Title
  • Appraisal
  • Deed
  • Mortgage documents
  • Insurance policies 
  • Home improvement receipts
  • Home warranties 

#7. Address Any Issues From the Inspection

In many cases, there will be items on the inspection report that the seller did not have to address. When you first move into your new home, review the inspection report and take note of any of the issues identified on the property that were not included in negotiation repairs.  

New homeowners can use the information from the inspection report to see what repairs and maintenance are needed and when they should be taken care of. The systems in the worst condition should be at the top of your repair list while items that require less attention can be at the end. 

#8. Deeply Clean Your New Home

Before you begin unpacking all of your belongings from the move, conduct a thorough deep clean of the entire home. Even though the property was cleaned before the previous owners created the listing and posted it on the market, the home is likely due for another cleaning by the time you move in. 

Make sure to address both the interiors and exterior of the home. Dusting, vacuuming, mopping, and cleaning the surfaces with disinfectant will clean the inside of the house. Wash the windows and sliding glass doors, and replace the air conditioning filter to keep the HVAC clean.

Pruning the landscaping, mowing the lawn, and re-organizing any outdoor items will help you get the exterior in order. Don’t forget to clean out the gutters and remove any debris from on or around the home.

#9. Create a Schedule for Maintenance

To prevent any lapses in maintenance, create a maintenance and upkeep schedule for your home and its key items. Make a list of all of the maintenance tasks that your home requires, including:

  • Changing the AC filters
  • Cleaning the gutters
  • Pest control
  • Lawn care
  • Preparing the home for seasonal climates
  • Replacing smoke detector batteries
  • Emptying the hot water heater 

Add any additional maintenance tasks that your home may need to the list and write down when they need to be done. Putting these to-do items on your calendar will make it easier to remember and stay current on your home’s care. 

#10. Stock Up on Supplies

Purchasing a stock of daily essentials will help you set up your home as you’re unpacking and decorating your space. 

Shop for food items, such as snacks, water, spices, and oils. Office supplies, like pens, paper, tape, and scissors will be useful, too. Miscellaneous items such as spare batteries, light bulbs, extra air conditioning filters, and cleaning supplies are good to have on hand. 

While you’re buying some of the bare necessities for your home, you may want to consider shopping for emergency supplies. Nonperishable foods, bottled water, matches, lighters, extra batteries, flashlights, and other emergency items will ensure that you’re prepared in case of an emergency. 

#11. Meet Your New Neighbors 

Finally, you’ll want to introduce yourself to your new neighbors — one of the most fun parts of settling into your newly purchased home! Attending community events or introducing yourself to neighbors you encounter are great first steps to meeting the people living around you. 

These eleven tips will help you settle into your new home while ensuring that it’s safe and secure. To browse more real estate advice, explore more articles by HomeFinder.