After the house-hunting process, you’ve finally reached your closing date. You’ve paid closing costs (usually between 3% and 6% of the loan amount), tracked down all the important documents, and now you’ve been handed the keys to your dream home. But before the moving truck shows up, there are some things you should do between closing and move-in. Changing your address with USPS and hiring a pest control company, for example, will go a long way in making your move to a new house go more smoothly.
Make copies of all title documents
All those documents received from title companies? Don’t lose them. These legal documents are often requested by lawyers, utility companies, and other organizations as proof you own your home. I encourage my clients to make a copy of all those documents and store them in a safe place, like a fireproof storage box or safe deposit box at the bank.
Set up a will
It’s never too early for estate planning. Using a new home as one example, having a will can help prevent confusion or even contention over who owns the home in the event of your death. A will is also useful if you are alive, but temporarily or permanently incapacitated. “If you get sick, you could end up in the hospital without anyone speaking for you,” says Jacqueline Cooper, president and executive director at Financial Education Associates in Boston.
An estate attorney can be particularly helpful, as estate laws vary from state to state. Attorneys can help navigate the complex issues involved in planning for your family’s future. But there are also online resources you can use that cost much less than hiring an attorney.
Hire a moving company
Whether you’re hiring moving trucks or trying to DIY, now is the time to compare pricing across competitors. You want to get a couple bids from moving companies.Look at the number of movers hired, services offered, estimated amount of time, and other factors that will affect moving day. Keep in mind, though, it’s not just about the money. Go with the one who will take care of your belongings in the move.
Change your address
Start the process of changing your address as soon as you close. Fill out the official change-of-address form with USPS and switch the address on your driver’s license. Don’t forget your subscription companies as well — newspapers, subscription boxes, financial entities, your children’s school.
Contact your internet and utility companies
Once the property is in your name, make sure all utilities have been switched over to your name. This includes electricity, gas, water, heat, and internet. Some of these may require a service appointment. Start early, because you don’t want a home without internet for the two weeks.
Take photos before you move in
Before you make yourself at home, take photos of the interior and exterior of your new home; these pictures offer a record of any issues that arise. If you discover certain issues or defects the seller knew about but didn’t disclose, the seller may be responsible for covering the costs of fixing the issue. The photos will also be helpful if and when you resell the home someday.
Re-key the entire home
Buying a home doesn’t mean you have to keep everything you inherit. In fact, keeping the same locks is a potential security issue. We recommend re-keying the entire exterior of the home, including garage doors, exterior doors, garage door openers, and mailbox. This also includes updating any keypads that provide access to the house.
Hire pest control
The best time to deal with bugs is before you’re cohabitating with them. It’s best to hire pest control when the house is empty. They can access areas that are typically not accessible once you move in your furniture.
On the same note, clean your home before introducing your furniture or yourself. This becomes especially important during the COVID-19 pandemic, as you may have contractors and professionals in and out of the home before move-in.
Some more checklist items:
- Change air filters
- Disinfect the dishwasher
- Plug in the refrigerator so you can get it flowing and cool for food storage
- Disinfect all carpets and surfaces
Moving day is often chaos, no matter how well you plan. Stocking up on essentials for your new place can help mitigate the stress. Have quick meals on hand, such as frozen pizza and granola bars, plus bottled water, paper towels, toilet paper, and disposable cups and plates.