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5 Home Maintenance Tasks for First-Time Buyers to Complete After Moving In

Moving into a new home is an exciting time, and the urge to decorate and nest is usually high. “Being a first-time homebuyer can be daunting, and quite frankly, a little overwhelming,” says Will Palmer, broker and owner at Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Historic. “From looking at and selecting a home to learning the ins and outs of financing and actually getting to closing, many buyers are exhausted by the time closing day comes around.”

But there’s one more checklist you should consider as you settle into your new digs, beginning with the more mundane tasks such as forwarding your mail, changing your driver’s license, and getting your kids enrolled in a new school. Here are a few things you’ll want to do immediately upon moving in to ensure your home is safe, sound, and in good shape.

1. Change the Locks

Whether you do it yourself or decide to hire a pro, changing the locks should be among the first priorities for new homeowners. This service runs about $50 to $200, depending on where you live and how many locks you need to have replaced.

“If you get a home warranty, they’ll give you a low cost or complimentary lock change,” says Lisa Lundt, a real estate agent with Better Homes & Gardens Real Estate Universal.

Changing the locks ensures that the previous owner and anyone they shared their keys with cannot enter the home once you move in. It’s a safety measure that will give you peace of mind and allow you to customize the locks on your home. For example, maybe you want all of your keys to match, or you’re looking to upgrade to keypads or smart locks.

2. Do a Deep Clean

Chances are, the previous owner did a quick job of cleaning up before they moved out. But in most cases, moving into a home illuminates all the overlooked cobwebs, dust, and streaked window panes. “Have a thorough deep clean done of the home, including having air vents professionally cleaned,” Palmer suggests. A deep clean will give you a fresh canvas as you move your belongings into your new space. This service can cost anywhere from $200 to $400 depending on the size of your home.

3. Hire Pest Control

You might not see any bugs, but chances are they’re there. Palmer suggests hiring a pest control company on day one to ensure long-term maintenance of your home. In many cases, the previous owner might have paid for a service that kept your property in good shape, but you shouldn’t go too long without overlapping service if you want to keep ants, roaches, and termites at bay.

This is a relatively affordable monthly service ranging in price from $30 to $100, depending on location, the extent of your problem, and the size of your home.

4. Address Your Home Inspection Report

Chances are you had a home inspection done before closing on your home. That report serves as a leveraging tool in buying your home and lets you know what you’re getting into with a new home. But don’t just toss it out once you’re moved in.

A home inspection report will point to problems you need to address before moving in and soon after. A common concern is smoke alarms, for instance. Lundt says your report will tell you which rooms have them and which need to have their batteries replaced.

From there, you’ll want to address the bigger issues in your home. “Check the age of the roof and make sure it’s in tip-top shape,” Palmer says. “If not, consider having it replaced so that you can enjoy years of carefree living.”

Do the same with your water heater. “If it is older than 10 years, I recommend replacing it,” Palmer says. “You’ll have better efficiency and fewer chances of leaks, etc.”

Finally, take a look at your home’s windows, ensuring they’re tight and secure, Palmer says. “I personally just bought an older home built in the 1920s and even though the windows were original and charming, I elected to replace all of them with new energy-efficient vinyl-clad windows,” he said. Doing so will ensure your heating and cooling bills remain reasonable.

5. Review Your Home Warranty

Most buyers elect to pay for a home warranty at least for the first year in their new home, but many buyers never bother to review the fine print. “People really don’t understand home warranties, and so we always recommend they contact the company before making repairs,” Lundt says.

Many home warranties cover your home’s HVAC systems, appliances, and major problems such as roof or plumbing leaks. Before you hire a handyman to come out, contact your home warranty company to ask what’s covered. You could save a lot of money.

Originally posted by Better Homes and Gardens