Home Buying Step 10: What's Left to Do After Closing?
You've done it. You've looked at properties, made an offer, obtained financing and gone to closing. The home is yours. Is there any more to the home buying process? Whether you're a first-time buyer or a repeat buyer, there are several more steps you'll want to take.
Safeguard settlement papers: Your settlement papers are extremely valuable, so hold onto them. In the short term, they can help establish tax deductions for the year in which the property was purchased. In the long term, they will be important for tax purposes when the property is sold, and in some cases, for calculating estate taxes.
Transfer utilities: Also at closing, determine the status of your home’s utilities, such as water, sewage, gas, electric and oil service. You want utility bills to be paid in full by the seller as of closing, and services to be transferred to your name for billing. Usually such transfers can be done without turning off utilities. Your REALTOR® can provide contact numbers and related information.
Confirm your property deed records: About two weeks after closing, contact your local property records office and confirm that your deed has been officially recorded. Such records are public notices that show your interest in the property.
Photograph or video record your possessions: Many owners make a photo or video record of the home and their possessions for insurance purposes and then keep the records in a safety deposit box. Your insurance provider can recommend what to photograph and how to secure your records.
Get proper insurance coverage: You should have fire, theft and liability insurance. As the value of your property increases such coverage should also be increased. Again, speak with your insurance professional for details.
Expect a “broom clean” home: It is generally understood that sellers will leave homes "broom clean" when moving out, not "vacuumed" or "spotless." Broom clean makes sense because it means the house is ready to be painted and cleaned.
Lastly, enjoy your home: Owning real estate involves contracts, loans, and taxes, but ultimately what's most important is that home ownership should be a wonderful experience. Enjoy!