If you’re a first-time home buyer who has just finished the closing process, you might be wondering what you should do as soon as you move-in. Maybe it’s unpacking or gathering new design ideas to make the home your own. Before settling in, there are a few tasks you should consider completing to help keep your home comfortable and family safe. To help you transition to the status of new home owner, consider adding the following items to your to-do list.
Develop a Home Maintenance Checklist
You should regularly check, clean and/or test a wide variety of interior and exterior systems and structures. A robust home maintenance list can help keep your home functioning at an optimal level and save you time and money in the long run. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has a Home Maintenance Checklist to help you get started with the basic guidelines for keeping different areas of your home in the best shape.
Keep Documents Related to Your Home Organized
As a new home owner, you’ve likely gathered a mountain of paperwork, printed or electronic. Make sure to keep track of all the documents related to your home purchase, appliance warranties and insurance information. You might need to have those documents handy for future tax preparation or to keep track of items in your home may need to be replaced or repaired in the future.
Prepare an Emergency Kit
You don’t have to wait for seasonal storms or wintry weather to prepare your home and family for an emergency. In the event of a natural disaster, basic services such as electricity, gas or water, may be cut off for days, or even weeks, so you should be prepared. The Department of Homeland Security recommends stockpiling at least three days’ worth of food and water for your family. Visit ready.gov for a list of suggested items to include in a basic emergency preparedness kit.
Change the Locks
If you bought an existing home, you should rekey the locks right away. You never know who the previous owners gave keys to. The National Crime Prevention Council recommends purchasing high quality locks that have a long enough bolt so the door cannot be pried open. If you don’t have a deadbolt on your doors, now is a good time to install one or hire a locksmith.
Improve Your Home’s Energy Efficiency
Even if you’ve purchased a brand-new home with the latest energy-efficient building materials and techniques, there are still some improvements you can make to save even more money on utility bills. For example, you can install a programmable thermostat that can be set to automatically adjust the heat or air when the home is most or least used. Visit energystar.gov to learn about more opportunities improve your home’s efficiency.
For more information on homeownership, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
President, Greater Fort Smith Association of Home Builders