What To Do After Buying a Condo
Confused about what to do next after buying a house? You have looked at properties, made an offer, pulled together funds for a down payment, obtained financing, gone to a closing deal- and the home is yours.
Congratulations! Two in three homeowners found that the process of buying a house is a stressful experience, according to a survey featured in Peabody Sales-but you made it so far.
This may sound like a relief. However, there are still some important steps you should take immediately after buying a new condo-in which 42 per cent of millennials, as determined in CNBC News, find even more complicated.
So to avoid any hurdles in the future, here are a few first things to do after buying a home.
What to do First After Buying a Condo
Buy Home Insurance
One of the first things to do after buying a house is to purchase personal home insurance. The real estate building will likely include building insurance in your maintenance fee so having home insurance will protect your belongings and yourself even during natural calamities.
Meanwhile, home warranties also cover a whole set of things, from plumbing to air conditioners to simply rekeying your home. Sometimes your real estate agent will attempt to negotiate a home warranty to be paid by your seller for a year or so.
If that does not happen, your real estate agent will probably give you expert advice to check a home warranty yourself. If something happens and you reach out to your warranty company, they will send somebody out. That’s why home warranties are important.
Clean Your Home
Before you move all your stuff in, try to get at least an in-depth cleaning done, and if you can, get all your painting done as well. It is much easier to empty a room than a space filled with furniture.
Your new home may not have any window treatments. If not, they should be at the top of your condo-buying checklist.
Inspect to see if the condo has vertical and horizontal blinds, and ensure you like the style. If not, create a list of all the windows that require treatments and those window’s measurements so you have it handy at the hardware store or when you are purchasing online.
It is also wise to connect all of your must-have utilities—like gas, electricity, and water — before you move in. This will help prepare the way for a smooth move-in process and make sure you have the essential necessities as you are trying to get settled in your new home.
Be sure to get in touch with your neighbours and local service providers to know the process, what type of residence verification or ownership you need, and how far in advance you need to schedule turn-on for your utilities.
Update Your Address
When you get a new address, you need to notify many various places. Your employers will need your address for tax forms and other essential documents. Even the apps you use for your takeout or you use to deliver your groceries requires knowing your new address to deliver your food.
Contact USPS and direct them to forward mail from your old address to your new address. Typically, to make it easy, you can fill out the form online. Take note, mail forwarding ends right away, usually after a year. Hence, it is vital to complete the next step: updating your address everywhere.
Locks are one of the things you need for a new home. Before you move into your new home, make sure you change all the locks, security codes, and garage codes.
The last thing you want is the previous homeowners having access to your house just because you forgot this crucial step. If you’re carrying this out, inspect for hidden spare keys on the property in areas like under rocks on the porch and the tops of door frames.
Reset any security codes–alarms and even locks as they sometimes have security codes, so ensure you change all of the codes. If everything works accordingly, there should not be any cost linked to updating the passcodes for your garage.
However, if your home has an alarm system, you will have to reconnect service or go for a new provider and pay ongoing alarm system monitoring fees. The cost to change locks can vary based on the complexity of the lock, the level of security, and whether you opt to hire a professional locksmith or do it yourself.
Get Pest Control
Talk to your seller or real estate agents handling the property to understand when the sellers last had a pest inspection. It is advised as new owners of the unit to schedule your own inspections so you have complete confidence in the results reported.
Pest technicians will look for wood-damaging insects like carpenter ants, termites, and beetles, as well as search for other existing problems that would breed pest issues, such as damp places or existing populations of mice, ants, spiders, and more. They can also provide you with a Wood-Destroying Insect Report, which is typically required by banks when you’re seeking a mortgage.
Get to Know Your Home
In case of an emergency, you certainly should know where everything is in your new home!
First, the main water shut-off valve. Sometimes the water shut-off valve is in the basement, garage, or crawls space. Be sure you know how to shut off your water in case a sink starts leaking or a faucet breaks.
Next, locate the circuit box and check to see if the previous owners labelled the circuit breaker switches or fuses. Nothing is more vexing than blowing a fuse and having to inspect each one individually because nothing is labelled. You might also be surprised–sometimes switches from various areas of the house are tied together on one fuse, so do your homework early to avoid any issues during an outage.
If applicable, search for the gas shut-off valve. During a natural disaster, the first directive is usually to shut off the gas, so it’s super important to know where the gas shut-off valve is. If at some point you smell gas in the house and should shut it off, you do not want to have to go locate the valve while your house fills with gas.
If your house comes with a sump pump, ensure that you test it. Sump pumps are great when used correctly, but if not, they can result in thousands of dollars worth of damage. They are typically found in the crawl space or basement of a home, and they make sure that there’s standing water in your home, it is pumped out into a containment pond or your storm sewer.
In some countries like the US, over 20 per cent of homes on a septic system for treating wastewater. If you fall into this category, you will have to perform regular maintenance on your septic tank to ensure you don’t end up with a malfunction.
If you didn’t do so during the closing of your loan, it is a good idea to hire a professional to inspect your septic system. Septic tanks require to be pumped every 3 to 5 years, so ensure you have all the details on when maintenance was last done on your system. There are various types of septic systems and a number of variables that can affect how they function, so hiring an expert, in this case, is perhaps your best bet.
Create a Maintenance Schedule
Your new house needs maintenance not included in everyday tidying and cleaning up. These duties include:
- Dryer Hose: Clean out the vent and dryer hose yearly. A clogged dryer hose is prone to fire and can burn down houses.
- HVAC filters: Replace your HVAC filters at least once a season. You will save on cooling and heating and your unit will last longer.
- Smoke Detectors. For your safety, ensure that all of your carbon monoxide and smoke detectors are in working order. This may include replacing entire units or installing fresh batteries. Carbon monoxide detectors are called “the quiet killer” for a reason — it is colourless, odourless, and leaks are soundless, so there is no way to figure out if it’s in your house unless you have working carbon monoxide detectors.
- Refrigerator. Simple maintenance can significantly add up the life of your refrigerator. Empty your ice bins monthly. Every three months, inspect the door gasket and clean the condenser coils. Cleaning will not be necessary for newer fridges as they have insulated coils. If applicable, clean the drain hole and replace the water filter every six months.
- Water heater. Drain your water heater and rinse out any sediment that has collected in it once a year. Check the heat on your water heater and reset it if you are not comfortable with the temperature setting.
It is best to plan of maintaining your new home as a marathon rather than a sprint. Instead of attempting to deal with all of the maintenance tasks immediately, be thoughtful about the matters that need to be done over time.
This may include (but not limited to) cleaning the gutters, replacing air filters, pressure washing the exterior, and having the carpet cleaned. In addition, if all items on your inspection report were not addressed, create a plan to settle them–before they become bigger and generate costly repairs.
Using the home inspection report as a guide, create a list of things to update, repair, or maintain for the future, ranking them from most to least urgent. You will want to address things that can potentially blow up and cost you money later, such as leaky pipes, or windows and doors that need to be resealed.
Make a condo maintenance checklist that is realistic for your household. Budget for those tasks as well as unexpected repairs each year. The general rule of thumb is to save a minimum of 1 % of your home’s purchase price for repairs every year. You may decide to get the boon to handle some of these tasks, so factor that into your budget as well.
In case of emergency, make a list of emergency contacts. You’re already familiar with 911. These are the other numbers you usually need in an emergency. You should have them posted where they’re easy to spot.
- Your insurance agent
- Your utility companies
Prepare an Emergency Kit
Place fire extinguishers in the house — there must be one in the kitchen and one on each floor of the unit. And set up an emergency kit and put it somewhere you will remember, ensure to check it every six months for expired products. Your emergency kits should include items like:
- One gallon of water per person per day, and more if you have pets
- A three day supply of non-perishable food including pet food
- Prescription and non-prescription medications
- A battery-powered or hand-crank radio
- A manual can opener
- A first aid kit
- A change of clothing for each person
- Cash, preferably in small bills
- Fire extinguisher
- Feminine supplies
You can modify your emergency kit, so sit down and create a list of those daily items your family needs. If you’re just getting started, though, purchasing batteries, a first aid kit, extra water, and a power bank to charge your cell phone when the electricity is out are helpful.
Don’t forget to store copies (the originals should be in a safety deposit box or a fireproof safe) of important home documents so they are readily available. Go paper, cloud, or better, yet, both.
- Insurance documents
- Lender contact information
- Inspection report
- Property survey
- Final closing documents
- Mortgage documents
Reach Out to the HOA
Homeowners Association (HOA) is one of the things that come with condo ownership. Those who purchase property within the jurisdiction of HOA automatically become members and are required to pay dues, known as HOA fees. Some associations can be very restrictive regarding what members can do with their properties. Non-compliance could mean you could be forced to comply, fined, or even sued.
Typically, in exchange for the HOA fees, the HOA management will provide additional services. These amenities may include parking lots, landscaping, and facilities like tennis courts, swimming pools, or party spaces available for all the HOA members. Some HOA fees also cover the cost of snow removal and trash collection.
To ensure you’re never late for your HOA fee payment, you can sign up for an auto-pay. Most banks offer auto-pay for monthly mortgage payments. Set mortgage, utility payments, and other bills to auto-pay so you will never miss a payment. Just be sure to cancel the auto-pay of your previous mortgage and utility accounts, if you have one. Then, sign up again for your new house.
Introduce Yourself to Your Neighbours
It is always good to meet and introduce yourself to your neighbours. See who has your age, get inside information on other neighbours, and make some friends.
Your neighbours can also recommend good restaurants in the area, pest control and landscape companies, dry cleaners, and so forth. Your neighbours have tons of information on your new community, take advantage.
Have a Housewarming Party
Don’t forget to have fun owning a new home. After you move in and get settled, let your family and friends know your new place and host a housewarming party — even just a virtual one.
Whether you’re a first-time homebuyer or purchasing your second or third home, these are the steps you should take after buying your dream home. If you’re seeking more guidance, check out Ready Home’s articles and other latest posts on tips about properties and topics like settling into your new home.
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