The San Diego Real Estate BLOG
Buying a Home #8:
Setting Up Your New Home
Congratulations!!! You survived the search, the financing, the escrow, and closing.
You finally own your own home!!! Now that it’s yours, here is a checklist to help you streamline the moving in process so you can start enjoying your new home ASAP!!!
If you you missed the first few posts in our series on the home buying process, you can catch up here:
Before You Move
Create an Escrow File
While you still have them “out” and (hopefully) all together, create a file for all your escrow paper work and keep it in safe location. You may need to refer back to it at some point and you want to make sure it is both complete and accessible.
Mortgage/Utilities on Auto Pay
Setting these important payment to auto pay will save time, hassle, and help you avoid late fees down the line.
Update Contact Info
Make sure you update your family, bank, school, and any other important people/institutions in your life that your address will be changing. Your family will no doubt want to visit, and things like your insurance rate may be affected by your new zip code.
Leave those off the list that you now longer wish to speak to. ;D
Consider getting a home warranty, at least for the first year. People have varying opinions on this since you often have to pay a “minimum” each time you use the service, but for the price you pay it can be very worth it.
Even with an amazing home inspection, things get missed, and sometimes things break that wouldn’t have shown up in the inspection anyway. It may not be worth it to file a claim if the only thing that goes wrong in the first year is that you break a window while moving in; but if you A/C unit goes out because the previous owners didn’t maintain it properly you will be glad you have the warranty.
Sometimes a limited-time (typically one year) home warranty comes as part of the conditions of your escrow, so make sure to check on this important detail.
Get a home owner’s policy through your insurance company. Not everything is covered and there are always limitations, but for the price you will be glad you have at least some form of coverage if something catastrophic happens to your home.
Start an emergency fund by setting aside 5%-10% of your monthly income in an account that you don’t touch for anything other than emergencies. Homes are complex systems and you never know just when something is going to come up.
Before You Move In
Change Locks/Security System
Hire a locksmith you re-key all the locks to your home. You simply do not know who the previous owner gave a key too, and for the cost this is the single best security update you can make to your new home.
Smoke Carbon Detectors
Smoke and carbon dioxide can KILL YOU. Following the inspection, your home SHOULD come with enough detectors to cover you effectively, but:
Are the Batteries New?
What Condition are the Detectors Themselves In?
Are The Detectors Properly Located?
Don’t leave this crucial safety step to chance. Be sure.
Locate Water Electrical Gas
If you haven’t already, located the Water, Electrical, and Gas Mains/Shutoffs for your new home. In case of emergency or repair you are going to need to know where they are, and potentially how to shut them off in a hurry.
Water Heater Temperature
Check your water heater and be sure it is set to no more than 120 degrees Fahrenheit. This is really as warm as the water will ever need to be, and setting the water heater thermostat at this level will both ensure any elderly or younger members of the household won’t be scalded by excessively hot water and save you a lot of money in the long run.
Get Local Emergency Info
Take a minute to go online and find out both the emergency AND non-emergency numbers for you local police and fire departments, and set them in your phone under the ICE settings. Again, you never know when you will need these and if you ever do, you will want them readily accessible.
Consider having you HVAC system serviced and or cleaned. Lots of things can build up in the system, especially if the previous owners were less than religious about proper maintenance. At the very least change the filter(s), and do so every six to twelve months going forward depending on your usage.
If possible, pull out your vacuum and clean the dryer vent, or hire a professional if it is not readily accessible. Vents should be cleaned at least once a year.
Dryer lint is extremely flammable and clogged dryer vents can start fires that burn down houses. Again, for the cost, this is not something you want to play around with.
Get out the ladder and spend an hour cleaning out the rain gutters. Again, you have no idea how well the previous owners took care of the home and water can cause major issues for both you roof and foundation. A couple of minutes of work could save you a ton of hassle and money down the road.
Replace all possible light bulbs in the home with new LED versions. This serves the dual purpose of ensuring all the lights in the home work, and will both pay for themselves in the short term and save you a TON of money in the long term.
Set Up Maintenance Plan
Once you have gotten a feel for your new home, create a maintenance plan and follow it at least once a year to maintain the value of your home.
Look around for any indication of pest infestation(s) and have them handled BEFORE you move in to minimize the hassle.
Clean and Paint
Again, BEFORE you move in, take the opportunity to deep clean the house and paint any rooms that need it before there is ANYTHING in the way.
Pets can be upset by a change in surroundings so be sure to bring them over as soon as possible to get acquainted with their new home.
Setup any beds first. You are going to be TIRED on moving day regardless of whether you did it yourself of not. Be sure you have a place to pass out at the end.
After the beds, set out the toiletries as they are the next most essential part of the home and you will likely want to shower after a long day of moving.
The kitchen is the heart of the home and should be the next to be set up. You may end up eating out for the first few days, but you will find that once the kitchen is set up, your new house will begin to truly feel like a home.
Personal necessities are next followed by drawers and closets.
Set up the living room, den, and “relaxing” spaces last. This will help keep you motivated to finish the unpacking process before taking too many unnecessary breaks.
Take the time to set up a home disaster kit to be as prepared as possible for any unforeseen occurrences.
Meet Your Neighbors
You truly never get a second chance to make a good first impression. Take a move-in break an make the effort to go meet your new neighbors (if they don’t come to see you first ;D).
We hope you have found our series on Buying a Home helpful and informative.
Be sure to check back often for more exciting content related to San Diego Real Estate.
If you would like more information on owning your own home, please don’t hesitate to:
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