January 25, 2023

10 SMART Things to Do After Closing

10 SMART Things to Do After Closing

First, congratulations on purchasing your new home! Closing is a moment of joy, relief, and excitement. While it marks the end of a complicated process, involving one of the largest investments of your life, your work is not yet done.

Everyone’s housekeeping list after buying a new home will differ, based on the repairs needed on the property and the customizations you plan to make. However, all SMART home buyers check these 10 things after closing!

  1. Deep Clean the Property
  2. Refresh the Home’s Interior
  3. Change the Locks
  4. Service the HVAC
  5. Test Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors
  6. Check the Water Heater
  7. Use the Home Inspection as a To-Do List
  8. Organize and Securely Store Your Home Documents
  9. Update Your New Address
  10. Get a New Driver’s License

Deep Clean the Property

It’s possible that the sellers had the property professionally cleaned before you moved in, but in case they didn’t, you will want to invest a few hours in a deep clean.

  • Wipe down and sanitize all surfaces
  • Dust and clean all fixtures
  • Sweep and mop floors
  • Vacuum and steam clean carpets
  • Move large appliances to clean behind and under them
  • Tidy yard, remove debris, and ensure all throughways are clear

Interested in having your new home professionally cleaned? Your real estate agent likely has a company or person they recommend, before or after you move in.

Refresh the Home’s Interior

Now that the home is clean, it’s time to freshen it up! A new coat of paint on the ceilings and walls will make it feel new again. Ideally, you’re able to repaint before you move all of your furniture and belongings in. Caulk the windows, replace weather stripping, fix trim, and repaint doors.

Change the Locks

One important safety item that should be at the top of your list is changing the locks. Purchase and install new locks to the property, reprogram the garage door, rekey the code to the garage pin pad, and ensure the security system has been disconnected or changed to your account.

Service the HVAC

Experts recommend that you have your HVAC system professionally serviced and cleaned twice a year, in early spring and in early fall. When you complete this task will depend on when you actually make your move, but it’s important that you have this on radar to avoid losing heat in the winter or air conditioning in the summer.

One thing you can take care of yourself is to change the heat and air filters inside the home as needed. Your HVAC runs more efficiently when the filters are clean and clear.

Test Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors

The home inspector may have checked the property’s smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, but it’s important to your family’s safety that you ensure they are all functioning. Test each device as required by the manufacturers. They may all be working properly, but you  may also need to change batteries or replace units. To keep this annual check a priority, select one day every year to complete this check (perhaps this home anniversary date is a great one!).

Check the Water Heater

When you had the property inspected, your inspector checked the age and condition of your water heater. Now that it is officially yours, though, you will want to give it a thorough examination. At the very least, drain the water and adjust the settings to your family’s preference. Many homeowners take this chance to lower the water heater’s temperature and pressure to lower their energy bill and extend the life of the unit.

Use the Home Inspection as a To-Do List

While the seller may have fixed some items from the home inspection report, you likely have repairs and replacements left from the list. Take the inspector’s cue and begin with the highest priority items, group like items together to maximize your time (or the contractor’s time), and consider seasonality while you look over the list.

Depending on the time of year, it is also smart to review a seasonal checklist to ensure your home is prepared for the next season! You can download Spring and Fall checklists from the SMART Blog.

Organize and Securely Store Your Home Documents

Every move requires a bundle of paperwork, even when you close remotely. After you’ve closed on the home, organize your documents: discard items you will never need, shred documents you don’t need but contain confidential information, and store the most important documents in a safe or lockbox. This includes items in your closing packet, such as your promissory note, mortgage documents, the deed, closing disclosure, title insurance policy, home inspection report, seller disclosure, and contracts.

Update Your New Address

Once you actually list out all of the places you need to update your address, it can be more than you’d expect. This includes updating your bank, tax agency, all utility companies, home security system, the post office, all credit and debit card providers, car and home insurance companies, mailed subscriptions, health insurance and prescription providers, and employers. And don’t forget to let your friends and family know - they may want to send you cards from time to time!

Get a New Driver’s License

Each state is different, but most require you to get a new license with your new address within weeks of moving. Do a bit of research ahead of time to find out the specific regulation and whether or not you need to take a written or road test when you apply (especially if you are moving to a new state).

Are you still at the beginning of your home buying journey? Don’t forget to close SMART. Home buyers typically choose the title company, so tell your real estate agent to add SMART Settlements to your offers!

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