19 Things New Homebuyers Should Do
If you’ve just bought a new home, and especially if it’s your first, congratulations! A new home is an exciting adventure, but of course it also comes with a lot of responsibility. No home is perfect—not even a brand new one. There will always be a few bumps along the way.
To make your first year in a new home as smooth as possible, take a look down our checklist of things every new homebuyer should do.
Safety and Maintenance
- Change the locks right away as a safety precaution.
- Locate and test smoke alarms and CO detectors. If there aren’t any CO detectors, or not enough smoke alarms, get more and install them.
- Replace your air filters. Buy enough new ones for several months to make life easier every month when it’s time to change them again.
- Make note of all cracks in the basement so you can tell if they grow over time.
- Find the main water line and shut-off valve. You’ll definitely need to know this in an emergency. Find out now so you’ll be prepared later.
- Get to know the basics of all your home’s main systems including the furnace and air conditioning system.
- Figure out how old your appliances and systems are so you can plan ahead for repair and replacement. Replacing worn-out appliances is much easier if you’re ready for it than if it catches you off-guard.
- Watch closely for leaks. In the first few months, make sure you identify potential trouble spots, and call in a plumber for any leaks you notice. As with so many things, catching it early is much better than catching it too late.
- Keep up with outdoor maintenance. If you’ve been renting, you probably didn’t have to worry about this before. Make a checklist of regular and seasonal tasks like cleaning gutters.
- Start keeping records. Write down everything you’ve done and found out, and make a maintenance and repair to-do list.
- Review and update your insurance coverage. An agent can help you know what coverage you’ll need or want that you didn’t need as a renter.
- Get to know the fuse box and label the switches as needed.
- Adjust the temperature on your hot water heater. To save money, don’t set it above 120 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Replace traditional light bulbs with energy efficient ones. It will save you money in the long run.
- Learn how to use the thermostat.
- Find out what tax breaks and incentives you qualify for as a new or first-time homebuyer.
- Budget for unexpected repairs or changes in your utility bills. You should set aside more for the first year since you’re still learning what expenses to expect. With a budget, you won’t be as likely to rack up unexpected credit card debt.
- Get recommendations for contractors and other professionals (like plumbers) so you know who to call when something needs attention. You can also compare fees so that you know you’re not overpaying.
Finally, enjoy your new home. With all the stresses, don’t forget to enjoy the excitement, too!