You found a house, fell in love, made an offer, and it was accepted. Congratulations! Before you pop the champagne and pick out paint colors, there are a few steps you need to take to ensure the transition from your old house to your new home goes as seamlessly as possible.
Below are seven tasks – some small, some big – that everyone should do on or before closing day. By taking care of everything on this list, you’ll be able to unpack your champagne flutes in peace.
- Change the locks. No matter how trustworthy the sellers seem, it’s always a good idea to change the locks as soon as your new home is officially yours. After all, you don’t know who had a spare key, how many keys are floating around, or how someone might take your move-in date as an opportunity to break in. Play it safe and call a locksmith so you can sleep soundly in your brand new bedroom.
- Switch over the utilities. This includes gas, electric, cable, Internet – basically everything that makes a house a home. The last thing you want to do is take a cold shower after moving boxes all day, or turn on Netflix to relax, only to remember you’re not connected. Call your providers at least two weeks ahead of time to make sure you get appointments when you need them.
- Update or sign up for homeowners’ insurance. Almost all lenders require homeowners’ insurance, so unless you’re paying in cash, you will need to make sure your policy is in place the day you move in. This is because lenders need to protect their investment, your home, in the event of storms, tornados or other disasters. Even if you’re not taking out a mortgage, it is a good idea to get homeowners’ insurance. Anything can happen and it’s best to be prepared.
- Meet your neighbors. Your new home is part of a community, and you’ll enjoy living there more if you feel like part of the neighborhood. Introduce yourself to the neighbors on either side of your house and across the street, and get their contact information (and offer yours) in case of an emergency. You can also check to see if your neighborhood has virtual communities on sites like Facebook or Nextdoor. This is a great way to introduce yourself and stay aware of events and issues, from yard sales to suspicious activity.
- Thoroughly review your paperwork. If you can review all your documents a few days before the closing, take the opportunity and do so. Any typos, from a misspelled name to an incorrect address, can hold up your closing for hours or even days. Your real estate agent is a great resource when it comes to paperwork. Agents spend all day reviewing contracts and documents and know exactly what to look for, so take advantage of their expertise.
- Measure all the rooms while they’re still empty. It’s a great idea to take measurements before you move anything in, since it's easier to take accurate measurements in an empty house. Why do you need this information? If you’re buying anything for your home, such as furniture, curtains or décor, it will be easier to get the right sizes if you have this info on hand. It’s also good to know all the measurements of your home when it comes to things like tax deductions and insurance policies.
- Be absolutely certain your home is move-in ready. Take a final walk-through of the home right before you sign the final papers. Take notice if anything is amiss, including if the home hasn’t been cleaned out, if something is broken, or if an agreed-upon repair has yet to be completed, and bring it up immediately. Once you close, the home is legally yours and you won’t be able to negotiate anything else. Even though you’re excited, it’s best to slow down, take a deep breath, and make sure all is well before you sign your name on the dotted lines.
We hope these tips help you have a smooth closing day. No matter what stage of the home buying process you’re in, the agents
at Network Real Estate
can help you make the right choices every time. Contact us today
to learn more about buying, selling, and making your dream home a reality.
Neal Johnson is a CMCA, CRB, CNE and GRI-certified, licensed real estate broker at Network Real Estate, which has exclusively served a high volume of property sales and purchases in the greater Wilmington area for more than 30 years. With offices at College Road, Historic Downtown and Pleasure Island, Network’s brokers are widespread and well-versed in this marketplace, making Network a preferred real estate company for first-home buyers and beyond.