You’ve signed and closed on your new home, so what’s next? While you may be very excited to embark on your journey in a new place, you might be feeling anxious about all the responsibilities this new house will require within the first year. Whether it’s new construction or a fixer upper or something in between, there will always be some steps you need to take during the first year of living there to truly make your new home truly feel like home sweet home.
CHANGING THE KEYS OR LOCKS – Receiving the keys to your new home signals the completion of your real estate transaction. It can be a very special feeling to unlock your home’s doors for the very first time. However, you should seriously consider either changing the locks or re-keying. Re-keying is when a locksmith replaces the working key of the lock but keeps the same original lock, replacement will give you entirely new knobs which may appeal for a design change. Both services will have the same effect and keep you and your family safe from anyone trying to gain access with the old keys. If there is a delay while waiting for the locksmith for whatever reason, be sure to double check around the property for any spare keys hidden – you never know if the previous owner hid one or gave one to a neighbor. Also, be sure to change the passwords or combinations for garage doors and other security systems.
PERFORMING MAINTENANCE – There will be maintenance tasks to handle during the first year in your new home – particularly if your home is not brand new. Besides the obvious seasonal tasks, some maintenance should be performed as soon as you move in, no matter the season. Start by locating all fire and carbon monoxide detectors to check if they are working properly and loaded with new batteries. Also, check all flood lights, motion lights, spotlights, and any other security features to make sure they have working bulbs and are functioning properly. A task often overlooked is cleaning out your clothes-dryer vents. You can’t be too sure when the last homeowner performed this task, and it is important because if left uncleaned, your new house could catch on fire. Similarly, be sure to clean out your HVAC ducts. The accumulation of dust and dirt inside ducts can cause your HVAC system to not run as efficiently and cost you money, as well as the danger of poor indoor air quality that can severely worsen allergies and asthma.
MEETING NEW PEOPLE – Neighbors can be an incredible resource for discovering the ins and outs of the neighborhood. If you’re not a naturally outgoing person, you may be wondering how you can socialize with your new neighbors in an organic way that doesn’t seem too forced or uncomfortable. Take some time to wander around your new neighborhood (even better if you make this a family activity!), and explore what the whole neighborhood and surrounding areas have to offer. While out on your walks, say hello to neighbors that are outside. In no time, you’ll develop a friendly rapport with neighbors and striking up a conversation will feel less awkward and more comfortable. Inquire if there are any block parties, barbeques, or a neighborhood watch so you can participate. If none of the above options works for you, consider holding your own party that invites neighbors to come by and to meet the ‘new’ neighbors – aka YOU!
ADVICE – If you have been reading my columns and followed my advice by engaging a Realtor® and other professionals in the purchase, reach out to them and take advantage of their professional sphere of influence. Typically, they have helped other clients become acquainted with their new home and can suggest the perfect source if something needs done that is beyond your capabilities.