Moving into your new home is exciting. You just went through an intensive process that tested your character. You feel a sense of relief it’s over. But the work is not over, it’s just beginning. There’s plenty to do after settlement that can help save you time down the road, keep your home functioning and maintain its value.
Of course, there are the standard items that needs immediate attention. Changing the locks is the number one item on the new homeowner list for obvious reasons. Deep cleaning the home is a task that is also performed, especially if the previous owner had pets. Keep all warranty information, including a home warranty policy (if you have one), in a safe place so you can find it if you need it. Make sure you know where the water shut off valve and the main electrical breaker is located in case of an emergency. Change of address forms from the USPS need to be completed to ensure you receive your mail. A visit to the DMV is necessary to change the address on your driver’s license.
But what else can you do to make life easier in your new home? Revisit your home inspection report. If the home seller made repairs, make sure you keep those invoices (your agent should have asked for those receipts prior to closing). If there is a problem with any of the repairs, you can call the associated contractor to reinspect the repair. However, it’s likely that the seller didn’t repair everything in the inspection, or maybe they didn’t repair anything. Review the report to see which items require your immediate attention, or may require attention within the year. Make sure you install any missing safety items (such as smoke and carbon dioxide detectors). Taking care of the urgent items immediately will likely prevent expensive repairs down the road. Keep the list of items likely needing attention in the future, so you can check them when you conduct regular maintenance.
Next on the list is to create a maintenance schedule. For most new home owners, maintenance seems to be a dirty word. After all, you just moved in and the last thing you want to focus on is “upkeep.” But putting off repairs can make the likelihood of damage to your home and repair expense increase over time. Research has even verified that deferred maintenance lowers your home’s value. Your home inspection report also should have information about maintaining systems such as (but not limited to): HVAC, electric, plumbing, roof and exterior.
If you haven’t yet created a maintenance budget, do it now. Some of the systems may need replacing sooner than others. Check your home inspection report for the systems’ age and average life expectancy. Start saving to replace systems (HVAC, roof, etc.) so it’s not as much of a financial burden when the time comes to replace them.
Poop happens. It is not uncommon for maintenance and other “surprises” to occur your first year in the home. Although it may seem correct to blame the home inspector, they are not perfect. They are limited to what they can see. “Surprises” often occur in a system or area that was not observable during the time of the inspection. It is my experience that home inspectors make themselves available within the first year of ownership to answer questions relating to their report. Some will even reinspect the item in question.
Dan Krell is a Realtor® with RE/MAX Success in Potomac, MD. You can access more information at DanKrell.com