Closing is complete, all the contracts have been signed and the keys to that new home are now safely in your client’s hands. Think a REALTOR ® ’s job is finished? Think again! Many new homeowners have no idea what to expect the first few weeks or months after they buy their new home.
There are many ‘to-do’ tasks that should be completed for a new home that go beyond the closing table. While your buyer should have taken care of big tasks like securing homeowner’s insurance, a lot of little details also are important when moving into a new home.
When you’re picking out that perfect welcome home present, be sure to gift your clients a new homeowner’s checklist, too!
Not sure what to include in this checklist? Here are the basics:
Always Replace these Items
Moving into a new home sometimes means acquiring the previous owner’s appliances, décor, etc. Some of those items need to go…always!
Here’s what your clients should replace in the home after moving day:
All Door Locks
Those keys are the old locks to the home. Tell clients to change them immediately!
Yuck. No one wants to sit on old used toilet seats! Those should be replaced without question, and, yes, they are cheap at most home improvement stores.
The Air Filter
Only the previous homeowner knows how long that filter has sat in the HVAC. It is recommended that homeowners change out the air filter when they take possession of the home.
Maximize Energy Efficiency with a Mini Home Energy Audit
Homeowners also should focus on energy efficiency and savings for their new home, and there are many easy ways to make sure that new home has the lowest bills possible.
Water leaks, bad bulbs and a hot water heater that’s turned up way too high are all things that should be investigated. Homeowners should conduct a mini home energy audit of their new home; they can use the HomeSelfe app to help them find issues, but a simple walk through of the home can find important energy issues, too.
Hunt for Water Leaks
The Simple Dollar notes that new homeowners should look at all faucets, pipes and water valves. Use a paper towel to check for any drips around valves and pipes. Are faucets leaking after they are turned off? If clients note any leaks in the home, they should contact a plumber immediately.
Adjust the Hot Water Heater Temperature
A water heater that’s set at a temperature higher than 120 degrees Fahrenheit could burn the body…and the budget! Adjust the temperature to a recommended 120 degrees.
For clients who aren’t so handy at the home improvement, CNET offers a great tutorial on how to adjust the hot water heater temperature.
Switch out the Bulbs
Checking light bulbs in the new home is a good idea. If those bulbs aren’t LED, replace them.
Adjust the Thermostat
Make sure all new homeowners check the thermostat on the HVAC.
Make adjustments as necessary according to personal comfort and budget. However, even little temperature changes might make an impact on monthly bills.
Call Utility Providers about Rebates/Offers
Homeowners interested in saving a little money should contact their utility provider to inquire about any rebates, special programs or other options to help lower bills and get the best rate.
Some companies also offer a set price for monthly bills—at the end of the period, the final bill will reflect any over or under payment for the year’s usage.
Every homeowner wants to make that new house feel like home. Simple and small changes can add individual style and personality to those bare walls and transform that new living space.
Here are five simple ways clients can add character to their investment:
Choose a New Paint Hue
Painting a room or sticking wallsticker is an easy way to add color and character to a space. Advise homeowners to cover carpet and furniture before painting…or wait to move furniture after painting the house.
Many REALTORS ® know that dark hues will give the illusion of a smaller space, but painting one wall a dark accent color is a beautiful way to create depth to a room.
While neutral shades of beige, white and brown are go-to options, homeowners should have fun with their new space. Bright hues will add light to a room, blue shades may have a calming effect and a favorite color may boost happiness.
For homeowners who are unsure what hue to choose, advise them to stick with a palette that complements or coordinates with their furniture and décor.
Cover the Windows
Yes, homeowners can choose basic white blinds or shutters. However, printed or bright curtains and drapes can add life and personality to a room.
For those who are a bit reserved about painting those walls, fun and funky window treatments can be a simple (and budget friendly) décor option.
All windows should include some type of window covering, though, to ensure privacy! Curtains can also help you save money if they are energy efficient!
Deck the Walls
Moving day is the perfect time to decorate those walls. A bare home is a bare canvas. This is the prime opportunity for clients to begin to find their personal décor style.
If they have nothing for those walls, encourage them to peruse thrift stores, estate sales or even flea market for fun photos, posters and maybe even amazing ornate mirrors.
Tying Up Loose Ends
Lots of details can fall through the cracks on moving day, or even during the first month of moving into a new space. Don’t let clients forget to do these important tasks:
Change Their Address
New homeowners need to notify the post office of their new address and have mail forwarded from their old address.
Obviously, all banks and financial institutions (including credit card companies) also need to be aware of the address change. Remind clients to update their new address with any and all important contacts!
Update a Landline Phone Number
The days of the home phone (or landline) are almost obsolete. Homeowners with a landline number need to make sure the line (and number!) is changed or moved to the new home. Sometimes, though, the number can’t move with them.
Trash pick-up days vary by location. This is a simple but important detail that homeowners need to know the day they move in. Be sure they call the waste disposal company to establish a new account and go over pick-up days. Some companies offer pick-up for recycling, too.
Notify the School District
If the new home is in a new school district or the address means a new school within the same district, then parents should contact the district with updated information.
If the child stays in the same school district can they stay at the same school, even if the new home is designated for a different school? This is a question on the school district can answer. Parents need to contact the district for questions related to school boundaries and policies.
If the new home places children in a different district, parents need to enroll their child through the district. Also, parents should understand that lying about an address in the hopes of gaining access to a better district can have serious legal consequences.
Before buying a home parents should always, always ask about the associated school district and research that district!
Become Familiar with the HOA Policies
Homeowners associations have unique guidelines and rules. Some HOAs designate that certain vehicles cannot be parked in a driveway. Others have specific policies on lawn maintenance or other details.
Homeowners need to be familiar with the rules of the association. Disagreements between HOAs and homeowners have escalated into costly legal battles, and understanding the rules, restrictions and regulations enforced by the association can ensure that there are no grey areas.
Buying a new home is an exciting time, and many new homeowners can’t wait to unlock their new home and move in. However, there are many details to finalize once the house becomes your client’s home. Gift your client a new homeowner’s checklist to ensure that they finalize all those small details.
Some items in the home should always be replaced. Your clients should come prepared with new air filters, toilet seats and light bulbs!
Inspecting a home upon move-in is important; little leaks, bad bulbs and other issues can cost big down the road. Homeowners also should take on an energy efficient role by adjusting the temperature on the hot water heater and updating the thermostat for the HVAC.
Move in day also is the prime time to transform the home to suit personality and décor tastes. Clients should take the time to paint bare walls and cover those windows!
Most importantly, loose ends need to be finalized. New homeowners should contact the school district about enrolling their child (or switching schools). Homeowners also need to remember to transfer their landline to the new home and contact the waste company to set up a new account and discuss pick-up times.
A new neighborhood also may mean a new Homeowner’s association. Every homeowner should read the by-laws of the HOA to ensure that they know the do’s and don’ts of the new neighborhood. Once those keys are in your client’s hands, the deal is done…and that house is now their home. Prepare them to understand all the responsibilities that come with unlocking that front door!