You took a giant step in your life and purchased a home. Congratulations! Whether you’re a new homeowner, this is your second or third home, or you’re downsizing, this is an exciting time. It’s a chance to embark on a new adventure!
In this aggressive seller’s market, you were able to secure a home. The hard part is out of the way, but what happens next? Your home ownership journey has just begun and it can seem like your to-do list is never-ending.
Fortunately, attorney Ben Weaver at 23 Legal is a reputable real estate attorney in Illinois. He has years of experience helping clients with their real estate transactions and sharing expert guidance about being a new homeowner. In this blog, we’ll go over the proper steps to take after you’ve bought your new home. We’ll break it down into the high priority tasks, and then we’ll cover the tasks that are also important but can wait. Let’s dive in!
Steps You Must Take After Buying a New Home
These are the tasks you should absolutely do first after you buy your home. Mark these steps as high priority! They include key safety tips and general cleanliness tasks…
- Change the locks – When you get settled into your new home, one of the first things you should do is change the locks. Otherwise, the previous owners may still have access to your home. Make sure only you or your family have working keys.
- Invest in homeowner’s insurance – Homeowners insurance includes several types of coverage that come in handy. Homeowners policies typically include liability coverage in the instance you’re held responsible for an accident or injury. We recommend obtaining insurance for your home as soon as you sign a contract and agree on a closing date.
- Deep clean your home – Before you’ve unpacked, your new home will be as empty and accessible as it will ever be. This gives you and your family an opportunity to deep clean all the crevices that will be hard to reach once furniture is in the way. Moving furniture isn’t always the smoothest endeavor. Don’t be surprised if your furniture gets dusty or scuffed during the moving process. Even the most professional movers aren’t perfect. Consider hiring a professional furniture and carpet cleaner so you can hit the ground running with a clean, safe living environment.
- Power wash your home – Remove dirt, grime, and buildup from your home by power washing it. You will be surprised at how much gunk can pile up after years of neglect. You deserve a fresh and clean home, both inside and out.
- Install home security systems – According to FBI data, a burglary occurs roughly every 30 seconds in the U.S. That’s a lot of theft! Protect your home from intruders by installing a home security system. There are plenty of options for you to choose from. We recommend installing a home security system that includes standard video recording and live monitoring in case things go wrong while you’re away.
- Unpack your boxes – The longer you let your boxes sit around, collecting dust, the harder it becomes to finish the unpacking process. After you’ve done a deep clean and installed home security, it’s time to unpack. Unpacking will help you settle in and feel right at home in your new place.
- Prioritize repairs – There’s a reason you pay for a thorough home inspection before buying a home. Home inspections help you understand what repairs are immediately needed and which ones can wait. When the owner of the home moves out, minor repairs are often left to the buyer. Try not to let the fix list pile up as it can be stressful and seem like an insurmountable task. If handy work is not your cup of tea, services like Thumbtack give you access to local home repair providers that can target any issue you may encounter.
- Transfer utilities – Contact each utility company you previously used and inform them about your move. Research the company who provides your new utilities and facilitate the transfer. The last thing you want to do is move into a home without water or electricity. Many utilities companies are busy so make sure you do this in advance. With remote work on the rise, the internet is considered a utility now. Make sure you plan ahead for a Wi-Fi connection so you’re connected on day one.
- Update your address – Communicate with your credit card company, bank, and USPS about your address change. You can request a mail forwarding service to your new address. That way, you don’t miss any important information. Schedule a trip to the DMV to update your license and let loved ones and family members know about your new address.
Steps You Should Take After Buying a New Home
These steps aren’t immediate concerns, but they are important parts of the home buying experience. These tips will help truly make this new house feel like home for your family…
- Repaint rooms to your preferences – If you plan on painting your home, the best case scenario is that you have it professionally painted before moving in. If you don’t have the luxury of doing that, make sure to paint early while there are less things in your house. The earlier the better. Nothing refreshes a space like a fresh coat of paint! This is also a great time to add personal flair and home decor.
- Complete simple DIY home improvement projects – There are plenty of benefits to spending a few weekends working on DIY projects. Personalization helps your house feel like a home. You’ll save money from not having to hire outside help. You can also increase your home’s value. Start by making a list of desired updates. Little changes go a long way! Perhaps you’d like to change light fixtures and kitchen faucets to reflect a more modern style. Maybe the backyard could use string lights. Have fun with it!
- Create an emergency response plan – The time to plan for an emergency is not when it happens – create an escape plan in case of emergency like natural disasters. Make sure everyone in your home is aware of the plan. Your family should know where the fire extinguisher is and how to use it in case a fire breaks out. Taking time for emergency planning now could possibly save lives in the future.
- Come up with a lock-out plan – Even the most cautious people on the planet can lose their keys every now and then. Be prepared for that! Install a garage code or have a designated hiding area for a backup key. Maybe you trust a neighbor enough to let them hold a spare key for you.
- Explore the community – Explore the neighborhood. Join your neighborhood’s facebook group. Building relationships with your neighbors and your community will help your house feel like a home.
- Research local businesses – Even if you’re familiar with the area it’s a great idea to get acquainted with your new surroundings. Spend some time learning the backroads to your favorite grocery stores and restaurants. Find your new doctor or hairdresser. Use Yelp, Google reviews, and word of mouth to make educated decisions on where you choose to spend your time and money.
Comb Through the Finer Details with a Real Estate Attorney
23 Legal’s number one goal is to provide the best legal option for you. There is a lot that goes into buying or selling a home. But how does a real estate attorney factor in? Why is it a great idea to have one? Here are a few of the important transactions that a real estate lawyer facilitates:
- Review contracts in details before you sign them
- Communicate with the seller’s attorney to negotiate and resolve issues that may arise.
- Review home inspection reports so there are no surprises to the buyer or seller
- Order FOIA report to ensure there are no hidden building permit issues
- Ensure the deed is recorded properly
Real estate transactions can be complicated, but they don’t have to be! 23 Legal can help you through your entire real estate journey. Whether you are looking to sell your current home, finance a new home, set up a thorough home inspection, or plan your estate, attorney Ben Weaver is here to help. We can remove any doubts you might have about a new purchase because our focus is on you, not on selling or buying a property. Contracts are often written to benefit others, but not you. We can examine the contract to make sure everything is in proper order and that there are no hidden surprises.
Moving into a new home is just the beginning of an exciting journey!
That journey is much easier when you have action plans on what to do next…
Contact 23 Legal for expert real estate advice and estate planning!
Why Choose 23 Legal
23 Legal offers Real Estate and Estate Planning legal services to individuals, families, community associations and small business owners throughout Chicagoland. We know how intimidating “the law” can be. In fact, when most people think of law offices, they think of stuffy leather chairs, huge wooden desks and pompous lawyers who charge outrageous fees. That’s not us! We believe in 1-to-1; the same lawyer should work with you all the way through. Whether you have an estate planning issue, family trust concern, or you have a legal problem in regard to a new home, business, real estate or remodel, you need a lawyer who cares. That’s where Ben comes in! We are great listeners; more than that, we are lawyers who believe that our clients always come first.