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What do I need to do after I buy my home?

Before settling into your new home, there are several things you can do to ensure your transition to homeownership is smooth.

To do list—after you buy your home

Here are some suggestions for transitioning into your new home:

1. Buy tools and install safety devices

Start a list of tools, safety devices and everyday resources that you need—fire extinguishers, hammers, wrenches, buckets, brooms, mops, rakes, shovels and more—and stock your new home. If you haven't done so already, install the adequate number of fire alarms and carbon monoxide detectors, to optimize the safe-keeping of your home and its occupants.

2. Find the on/off button

Locate your circuit breaker box, main water valve, and security system and make sure you're familiar with how to turn them off and on. This will come in handy in case of emergencies or if a home improvement project requires that you turn off power or water.

3. Buy a calendar and create a birthday list

Make a seasonal schedule for your home maintenance—air filters, plumbing, septic tank, yard maintenance, garden, etc. Be sure to include all of the services that may be required, like having someone clean your second floor gutters, or an annual visit from a chimney sweep. If you plan to do the work yourself, write a reminder for when you'll need to tackle the projects.

Jot down the dates when new appliances were installed and note the age of any existing appliances, and also when the roof was installed. You can be sure you'll have to buy replacements at some point, so budget accordingly to eliminate the sting when that time rolls around.

4. Check HOA rules/fees and property line

Read any HOA rules and regulations and add the HOA payments to your budget. Find out where your property line starts and finishes, and where your neighbor's does—this may help avoid misunderstandings with neighbors in the future.

5. Plan every room

Furnishing your new home all at once can be a costly undertaking. Consider the priorities and see if any existing furniture will work while you save for new items. Take advantage of seasonal sales and if you need to finance larger ticket items, such as a new refrigerator, keep an eye out for interest-free offers and free-delivery options.

It may take a long time, but if you choose quality furnishings that last over time, you'll end up saving money and appreciate your living space even more.

6. Dream smart

There may be some things that you want to change in your new home, whether it be simple upgrades or a larger remodel project. If that's the case, keep your budget in check with this simple plan:

  • Make a list of the projects you'd like to complete.
  • Get cost estimates for each one.
  • Prioritize the order of work based on budget or lifestyle.
  • Map out the timeline for completing each project.
Keep it up. You're getting smarter about home buying.

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