8 Ways to Protect Your Home and Save After Closing

Happy Homeowners after Closing

You’re a new homeowner!! Now what? Hopefully you've made sure your utilities are switched over and that there was no break in service. And prior to unpacking, you took care of things such as painting, deep cleaning (the house), and putting up curtains or window treatments (so no one can see where you are placing your valuable belongings). Then, you unpacked, decorated and cleaned your furniture pieces once you got them in just the right spot.

Once you were all moved in, you changed your locks and updated your keypad codes throughout the house, including your garage keypad. You changed your address at the DMV, with the post office, and with every place you do business. You called and got information on garbage and recycling days, and you found the main water shutoff and electrical panel box just in case. You called and confirmed that your deed was officially recorded and all the little details have been taken care of. You can now relax, right?

Not exactly.

Buying a home is a major investment that you want to protect. Being a homeowner comes with new responsibilities, and by focusing on the following items, you'll be able to kick back and relax, knowing that you made a sound investment and have it all under control.

1. Check Your Home Coverage and Document Your Possessions

Take photos of everything you moved into your home for insurance purposes. A video of the home may help as well, in the unfortunate event that you need to make a claim. Maintain fire, theft and liability insurance, and as the value of your property increases, raise your coverage. Make sure you have the appropriate coverage.

Happy Homeowners after Closing

2. Store all Important Documents in a Safe Place

Make copies of all closing documents, surveys, plats, deeds, warranties, insurance policies, etc. and keep in a safe or on a cloud on the internet.

3. Start a Home Maintenance List

Making a maintenance list at the very beginning will make your life easier in the long run while owning your home. This list should include items that need taken care of throughout the life of the home. Regardless of whether you will do these items yourself or hire a professional, a list will help you organize and complete these tasks at needed intervals. Preventative maintenance is always an efficient approach to making sure you get the most out of the components of your home. Use the report from your home inspection as a guide. Typically, it will list details on when items should be serviced, maintained, or replaced.

Weekly:

  • Trash and recycling pick up
  • Weekly lawn care
  • Weekly cleaning

Monthly:

  • Test smoke detectors monthly
  • Inspect fire extinguishers

Seasonal:

Fall/Winter
  • Weatherize outdoor faucets and lawn irrigation system. Make sure hoses and faucets are drained.
  • Tune up your heating system. Have your furnace inspection so you know your unit is clean, efficient, and in good repair.
  • Inspect and clean ceiling fans, and change the direction of the ceiling fans to clockwise to help circulate the warmth in the home.
  • Check the roof for damage to make sure it can handle winter storms and snow loads.
  • In order to prevent fire, replace or clean out the dryer vent every fall.
  • Get chimney cleaned if you have one.
  • Test your sump pump.
  • Prune trees and shrubs in late winter.
  • Mulch your leaves, which will nourish your lawn while it decomposes.
  • Stock up on salt and ice-melt.
  • Monitor icicles and ice dams.
Spring/Summer
  • Clean your grill, and make sure you are stocked up on charcoal or propane.
  • Clean gutters and downspouts and make sure they are not damaged. With more rain during this season, it is important to make sure that rain coming off the roof can property drain away from the home and its foundation.
  • Make sure you’re A/C is cleaned and serviced to avoid issues during the hot season temperatures.
  • Get your lawn equipment ready for the Spring by changing out spark plugs, gas and oil. You may also need to sharpen or replace blades.
  • Mulch your garden, trim limbs and bushes away from the house, inspect the grading around the home and if needed, add top soil to change the pitch.
  • Change the direction of the ceiling fans to counter-clockwise to help keep it cool in the spring/summer.

Periodic- Set reminders of regular maintenance:

  • HVAC filters should be changed every 3 months. This will prolong the life of your unit and help it run efficiently.
  • Replace smoke detector batteries with every time change (once in the fall, and once in the spring).
  • Maintain driveway to prolong the life by sealing it. Staining it can also give your home a whole new look!
  • Upkeep the exterior of the home. Clean the exterior windows and screens clean the siding, repair chipping and peeling paint and stain the deck. Also check that the fence is intact and that there is no wood showing. When you see bare wood exposed, it is important to correct this and prep and repaint this surface to avoid unnecessary damage from the weather.
  • Vacuum behind the refrigerator to make sure air is circulating and the coils are not running too hot.
  • Every couple of years, flush out your water heater to extend the life of the tank and heater, and make sure the temperature stays at around 120 degrees to stay safe and remain efficient.
  • Take care of plumbing issues as they arise. Mold is always a serious concern.
  • Depending on your home needs, schedule pest control every couple of months.

4. Get a Home Warranty

Even if you conduct preventative maintenance and take good care of your home, it is always a good idea to make sure you have a Home Warranty in the unfortunate event of mechanics and structures breaking and wearing down. Protect your investment. If you have already received a warranty with your home purchase, be sure to keep your policy in a safe place for quick reference if you need it.

5. Be Prepared for Disasters

Always have a plan in place. Know escape routes and meet-up locations if you need to get out of the home or evacuate. Have a stock of food, batteries, flashlights, water, etc. And don’t forget about your pets! Have a system in place to keep them safe as well. Have a location within the home where you can remain safe if evacuation is not in order. Identify best windows for your exit strategy for any upstairs bedrooms in case of fire.

6. Get to Know the Area

Find the closest hospital, police and fire station, grocery stores, pharmacy, etc. Meet your neighbors. The more eyes you have on your home, the better. It’s also great to get to know them in case of emergency. They could be a good source of information about the area and a great comfort. It’s also great to build relationships with neighbors so you can trade favors like grabbing the mail, borrowing tools or watering flowers when you are out of town.

Happy Homeowners after Closing

7. Look into Tax Deductions

There are plenty of tax deductions and discounts that come along with owning your own home. Schedule time with your accountant for more ideas on tax deductions, and contact your local municipalities to find out about certain discounts, so that you can understand the financial perks of home ownership. And don’t forget to save your receipts and document everything.

8. Utilize Smart Home Technology for Security, Convenience, Safety and Economy.

New technology is making it easier for homeowners to stay safe and secure within their homes. You can now manage your homes lights, door locks, temperature, cameras and more through your cell phone. Sensors can detect moisture in the basement, or poisonous gases in the home among other things. Energy smart light bulbs, appliances, etc., will save you money all year long. It is amazing how far technology has come. A home-energy auditor has technological tools that can find air leaks and inadequate insulation within your home. Energy audits can also provide potential tax credits for you.

The best homeowners plan ahead and are prepared. Preventative maintenance helps you avoid much larger expenses that could come your way as a homeowner. Keep records and maintain coverage, just in case. Have a plan and use it when necessary. Be efficient and save money where you can.

Owning a home is a wonderful investment. Your home should be your safe haven and with these few post-closing tips, can breathe easier knowing you’ve organized your home.

Want more homebuying advice? Nestiny is a great place for homebuyer education and to help you gauge how ready you are to buy a home. Journey Homeward allows you to enter all your wants and needs while the True Affordability Tool will break down your budget, showing what you can comfortably afford. You will also receive a Ready Report that will give you a vital head start in the home buying journey, saving you valuable time and money.

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