For many San Antonio homebuyers, closing day feels like the finish line. And while in many ways it is the culmination of the homebuying process, it’s really just the beginning. As soon as you sign those papers and the previous owner hands over the keys, it’s time to get to work. The process of being a homeowner has only just begun!
Here are a few tasks we recommend addressing as soon as possible:
1. Ensure the Utilities are Switched Over
Nothing is worse than walking into your new house and finding the water and electricity to the house have been disconnected. But if you aren’t careful, this could easily happen.
Prior to closing, communicate with the seller to get clear on when they’re planning on having the utilities shut off. (It’s considered a good practice for sellers to wait at least one day after closing to close their accounts.) Then immediately after closing, you’ll want to call up the companies and instruct them to change the utilities to your name on the closing date.
Just to be clear: It’s the buyer’s responsibility to call the utility company and change them over into their name. If you don’t, the utilities will get shut off and you’ll be charged a fee to reconnect them. This is not the seller’s responsibility!
2. Address Any Immediate Issues or Upgrades
Unless the property is already in immaculate shape, you probably have a list of certain tasks, upgrades, and renovation projects that you’d like to complete on the house. It’s best to address them right away, rather than waiting until after you move all of your stuff into the home.
Whether it’s repainting walls, ripping up old carpet, or swapping out appliances, it’s easier to complete a project when you have a blank slate. Unless you plan on doing this work on your own, it’s wise to line up a handyman or contractor ahead of time so that you’re ready to get to work immediately after closing.
3. Locate All Key Systems
As a homeowner, there are certain things you should always locate immediately:
- HVAC components. You might not know how to do HVAC work, but you should at least know where your AC units and furnaces are located, as well as their accompanying filters. If you have a furnace in the attic, be sure there’s a drip pan and alarm sensor installed to avoid a costly leak from damaging your home.
- Water heater. Knowing where your water heater is located is important for a couple of reasons. First off, water heaters are known to experience leaks. You’ll want to check on it occasionally to make sure there are no issues. Secondly, knowing where the water heater is located lets you lower or increase the temperature setting to your liking.
- Electrical panel. The electrical panel or breaker box is typically located in a garage, laundry room, or closet. In some older homes, you’ll find it in the kitchen or hallway. Knowing the location of the panel allows you to flip off individual breakers (or all of them) to safely perform maintenance work.
- Water shutoff. Nothing is scarier than a plumbing problem or burst pipe. Knowing where the water shutoff valve is located lets you quickly turn off the water to the entire house at a moment’s notice. (You’ll have one shutoff inside the house and another closer to the street.)
- Gas shutoff. If you’re ever swapping out a gas appliance, you’ll need to turn off the gas. And while you can usually turn off the gas at the site of the connection, it’s helpful to turn off the gas to the entire home as well. The gas shutoff valve is typically located on the outside of the home where the gas line enters the basement or crawl space.
When you know where these parts and systems are, you’ll feel like you’re in control. You won’t always be able to control what happens, but you can control how quickly you respond.
4. Organize and Store Closing Documents
You’ll leave the closing table with enough documents, papers, and packets to start a roaring bonfire. But we don’t recommend doing that. Instead, get organized. In addition to filing away documents in a safe and dry place (like a filing cabinet), you may want to scan some of the more important documents and upload them into the cloud.
5. Have the Property Professional Cleaned
Go ahead and spend the $100 or $200 it costs to have your new house professionally cleaned before moving in. If nothing else, this will help you feel like it’s your place. Ask the cleaning crew to pay special attention to the kitchen, appliances, bathrooms, carpets, and windows.
6. Change the Locks
It’s a good practice to change out the locks after moving in. While it’s unlikely that a previous homeowner would do anything malicious, it’s nice to have the peace of mind that you’re the only one with keys to the house. (You never know who the previous homeowner gave a key to – like a friend, neighbor, or family member.)
7. Change Your Personal Information
One of the more tedious aspects of moving involves switching over your personal information. (You don’t realize just how many different services and resources your mailing address is attached to until you move.) For starters, begin forwarding mail from your previous address to your new address. Then notify the following of your address change: employers, insurance companies, banks, tax agencies, utility companies, credit card providers, DMV, subscription services, loan providers, and other service providers (like accountants, doctors, etc.).
8. Meet the Neighbors
Finally, it’s time to meet your new neighbors! While it can be stressful to stop and say hello to a bunch of people when you’re in the middle of 101 different projects, remember that first impressions are everything. Be thankful if you have good neighbors, because they can be difficult to come by!
Buy and Sell With Green Residential
At Green Residential, we make buying and selling real estate in San Antonio a breeze. Whether you’re purchasing your first home, selling a second home, investing in an income-producing property, or anything in between…we can help. Contact us today to find out why we’ve become one of the most trusted names in San Antonio real estate!