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What to Do After You Buy a House

by The Linda Frierdich Group - Century 21 Advantage

 

You Bought a House!  …Now What?

 

There are some things that you can do when you move into a new house to improve the life of your appliances and fixtures and improve security, among other things.  Some of these things are common sense ideas, and some of them probably wouldn’t be brought to mind unless specifically identified.  For those who haven’t moved in many years, as well as those who are first-time homebuyers, remembering to take all these important measures when you move into a new place can be overwhelming, so we compiled this list of things that new homeowners should be doing when they move into a new house.

 

 


Change the Locks

 


 

The first and most important thing you should do when you move into a new place is change the locks on all the exterior doors.  You may know and trust the previous owners of the home, but you can never know how many other people may have a spare key.  It’s always best to have a locksmith scheduled for day one in the new house.

 

Transfer Utilities

 

 

After your closing, you will want to transfer all the utilities into your name.  If you are wanting to have cable or internet in your home, you will want to schedule the installation as soon as possible, so that you will have those services when you move in. 

 

Home Insurance

 

 

You will want to be sure to have your home insured as soon as possible, because no one plans that their home should catch fire or be hit by a bad storm.  Talk to your insurance agent about what coverage plans work best for you and your needs, and it’d be a good idea to talk to a few other agents to see what they would recommend and what their rates would be, comparatively.

 

File Important Documents

 

 

When you get your closing statement, make two copies of it, and file the original in a fireproof safe or at your safety deposit box.  The copies can be kept in a home binder to help you keep track of all the documents with your new home.  In this binder, you can keep copies of any important paperwork, as well as things like paint swatches and receipts. 

 

Contact Your Accountant

 

 

There are many costs that come along with buying a home, and some of those are deductible on your next year’s taxes.  Take one of the copies of your closing statement to your accountant, and he or she should be able to tell you what expenses you can use to your advantage when filing taxes next year. 

 

Photograph It

 

 

Before you begin moving things into your new home, photograph each room, fixture, and appliance.  You probably also want to photograph your possessions; at the very least, you should photograph your most expensive possessions.  No one likes to think about the worst-case scenario, especially on an exciting day like the first day in your new home, but the fact of the matter is that accidents do happen, and you should be aware of what was in your home, so keep those photos in a safety deposit box or store the files in the cloud.  To be sure that you are photographing the right things, call your insurance agent to ask his or her advice on what to focus on.

 

Get Familiar with Your New Home

 

 

Take a good walk around your home and familiarize yourself to all the important places and things.  For instance, it’s important that you locate your home’s main water shut-off valve so that you will be able to minimize damage in the event that a pipe bursts.  Label all the breakers on your breaker box.  Check that there are no leaks in your plumbing and under your sinks.  Check your attic to see if you need to add more insulation to save on heating and cooling costs.  Make sure that all home maintenance projects that need addressing sooner, rather than later, are close to being addressed.  As you are doing this, make a list of everything in your new home that needs updated or repaired, and then rearrange the items on that list in order of importance.  To go one step further, add dates for when you would like those tasks completed to the list to keep yourself on track and make sure that you haven’t forgotten anything.

 

Pest Control

Before you move into your new home, you should consult a pest control specialist to have him or her come to your house to inspect for any possible infestations or pest issues.  They can also do a preemptive spray for common bugs.  Especially if the previous owners of the home you are moving into had pets, you should ask a pest control specialist about having your home sprayed for fleas.

 

Deep Clean

 

 

You want to walk into your new home and feel excited; you certainly don’t want to walk inside and wonder how many germs are hanging around from the previous owner.  This is why it is important to deep clean your home before you move in.  If you wish to do the deep cleaning yourself, that’s fine, but if you wish to focus on other things during the move, there’s nothing wrong with hiring a professional to come clean for you.  Here is a list of what you should be focusing on while cleaning:

-  Carpets

 Steam clean any and all carpeting in your new home… After running over the floors with a vacuum a few times, of course.

-  Floors

Even if you don’t have carpets, be sure to do a deep clean on all your flooring surfaces, even behind the refrigerator.  A newly scrubbed floor will make your new home truly feel like yours.

-  Kitchen

Everyone knows how quickly a kitchen can get dirty… and not just cluttered or messy, but downright gross.  That’s a great reason why you should do an extreme deep clean of your kitchen when you move in.  You don’t want to be thinking of someone else’s germs as you’re cooking your first meal in your new home.

-  Bathrooms

Similarly to kitchens, bathrooms tend to be havens for germs and all things unsanitary.  Give your bathroom a complete scrub-down, including wiping the walls down with a damp cloth.  You will feel so much better knowing that the bathroom of your new home is fresh.

 

Air Conditioning and Furnace

 

 

When you move into your new place, one of the first things you should do is change your air filters.  This can save a lot of money on heating and cooling, as well as giving you a definite time of when it was most recently replaced so you can get set up on a regular maintenance schedule.

To ensure that your furnace and air conditioner have a long life, it is important to have them routinely serviced.  As a new homeowner, you never know for sure how often and how recently the heating or air conditioning systems have been serviced.  It’s also a worthwhile endeavor, because it can mean saving on your energy bills, as well!

 

Change Address

 

 

Before you move in, you will want to submit a forward request to your post office, so that the mail addressed to you at your old address will be re-routed to your new address.  It’s also important that you let other service providers, friends, and family know of your new address, as forward requests are only good for so long.  Once they expire, mail addressed to you at your old address will be sent back to the sender.  Most importantly, you should let your bank, credit card company, employer, service providers, and friends and family know of your change of address.

 

Smoke Detectors & CO Monitors

 

 

When you first move in, you will want to change the batteries in all of your smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors.  Even if the batteries inside them are still good, it’s recommended that you use those batteries elsewhere and put new ones in your detectors.  This way, you will easily be able to keep track of the schedule to change their batteries, since they will all have been changed on the same day.  

 

Get Moving!

 

 

No one, I repeat, no one, enjoys moving.  It may be exciting to get a new home, but the task of packing and unpacking all of one’s possessions is not exactly a walk in the park.  We have put forth some resources to help those looking to move in the near future.  To see our tips on moving, click here.

 

Enjoy Your New Home

 

 

The most important thing you can do when you move into your new home is enjoy the excitement that comes along with it.  Don’t get overwhelmed with the home buying process or the moving process.  These lists serve as a tool to help home buyers be more proactive and feel that they are more organized and in control of the mania that can come along with a home purchase.  At one point during closing day and the days that follow, allow yourself to just enjoy the excitement!

 

 

 

 

While this list is helpful, it is not meant to be comprehensive, as with all of our posts.   Hopefully it helped you think of a few things you should do when closing day comes around.

Your Guide to Winter Weather Preparedness

by The Linda Frierdich Group - Century 21 Advantage

 

Your Guide to Winter Weather Preparedness

 

Winter weather can strike quickly and fiercely, and it can create an array of issues for homeowners.  When a winter storm causes a power outage, however, things can turn costly and dangerous very quickly.  The most important thing one can do to keep safe during a winter storm and/or power outage is to be prepared.  Here are some things you can do to make sure that you will stay safe and warm.

 

 


Keep these things on hand… And if you don’t have any, get some!

 

Prescriptions and Common Medications

 

If any member of your home takes medication daily, you will want to be sure, first and foremost, that you will not run out of the medications, should inclement weather strike.  It’s also a good idea to keep common over-the-counter medications on hand, just in case you should need them while you are stuck at home.

 

Stock Up on Food

 

It’s important that you have enough food at home to last you at least three days, should a storm leave you stranded at home or cause a power outage.  If the power goes out, make sure that you have a sufficient supply of food that doesn’t need to be cooked before it is consumed. 

If you want to cook while your power is out, and you want to do so with a camping stove or other appliance outside of your kitchen, it is imperative that you take the camping stove outside to cook your meal. 

 

Stock Up on Water

 

To plan for how much water to have on hand in the case of a power outage, account for one gallon per person per day, not including cooking or hygiene purposes.

 

Back-Up Power

Should a storm knock out your power, you should have a back-up source of electricity, if it is financially feasible for you to do so.  If you use a generator, however, keep it outside, and NEVER bring it inside your house or garage.  If you are planning on using a generator, be sure that you have the proper length of outdoor extension cord to bring the power into your house. 

 

Flashlights, Batteries, & Candles

 

Make sure that you have a surplus of batteries, and that you have enough flashlights and battery-operated lamps to get you through.  Flashlights and battery-operated lamps are a lot safer than candles, so be sure that you have enough of them.  Also, gather them and store them in a handy place before the bad weather hits.  Should you run out of batteries, use candles as a last resort.  Exercise all safety precautions when burning candles.  Never leave them unattended, keep them away from anything flammable, keep them out of reach of pets and children, and never leave them burning overnight.

 

Keep a Weather Radio on Hand & Know the Terms

 

If you constantly are checking the weather on your cell phone during a power outage, you will quickly drain your power and have no way to restore it.  To monitor the weather without draining your cell phone battery, purchase a weather radio and check it occasionally for any updates to the forecast.  Here are the weather terms often used during a winter storm and what they mean, for those of you who might not know:

Winter Storm Outlook – Winter storm conditions are possible in the next 2 to 5 days.

Winter Weather Advisory – Winter weather conditions are expected to cause significant inconveniences and may be hazardous. When caution is used, these situations should not be life threatening.

Winter Storm Watch – Winter storm conditions are possible within the next 36 to 48 hours. People in a watch area should review their winter storm plans and stay informed about weather conditions.

Winter Storm Warning – Life-threatening, severe winter conditions have begun or will begin within 24 hours. People in a warning area should take precautions immediately.

 

Buy De-Icer and Salt Ahead of Time

 

Keep a stock of salt and de-icer spray on hand in case of icy or snowy conditions.  Even the slightest bit of ice can lead to injury, so it’s better to keep it on hand than to be caught without it.

 

Fire Extinguisher

 

Be sure that your home has a fire extinguisher on hand (that is not past its expiration date).  If the power outage should lead to a fire, for whatever reason, you will be happy that you have it.

 

Heat packs

 

Buy yourself a large pack of heat packs before the storm, in case you lose power and heat.  They can keep the blood flow going, keep you comfortable, and they’re great to stick in your socks or mittens!

 

 

Prepare!

 

Ease of Access

 

Before a storm hits, you should gather all the supplies you may need, as well as the ones you just purchased, and store them in an easily-accessible location.  This way, you won’t be fumbling around in the dark looking for flashlights and batteries before you take the precautions necessary in a winter power outage.

 

Make Sure Carbon Monoxide Detectors Are Working

 

The risk for carbon monoxide poisoning increases drastically in the bitter cold and during winter power outages.  NEVER turn to alternative forms of heating; their use often results in carbon monoxide poisoning or house fires.  If you are without power and your home is cold, contact your local emergency services to find a local community center that is offering warm lodging, rather than trying to heat your home in an unsafe way.

 

Fully Charge Your Electronics

 

Devices like your cell phone or tablets should be fully charged before a winter storm hits, so that if the power goes out, you are ahead of the game.  If at all possible, purchase a portable charger and be sure that it is fully charged, as well, so that you can extend the life of your cell phone’s charge.  Your cell phone can be a great tool to have in a winter storm, so that you can keep an eye on conditions, keep up on when power will be restored, and call for help should an emergency situation arise. 

 

Cozy Up!

 

Have a supply of warm blankets and sleeping bags set aside in case you lose heat to your home.  Having these handy, layer them, and stay under them for as long as possible to keep yourself warm.

Sleep together!  The more body heat under a blanket, the better!

Dress in layers to preserve your own body heat.

 

Garage Door

 

Find out how to manually open your garage door before the winter weather hits, especially if that is the primary way that you get in and out of your house.

 

Turn Off Electronics

 

As a precaution, you should turn off and unplug any electronics that do not need to be on before a winter storm hits.  This will help protect your devices in case the power surges.  If your power is already out, and your devices are still plugged in, unplug them.  It’s very common for the power to surge before it is restored fully and back to normal. 


Clean & Inspect Chimney

 

If your home has a chimney, clean and inspect it fully before a winter storm hits, especially if you plan on using it to help heat your home.  An improperly-kept chimney can lead to fire or carbon monoxide poisoning.

If you burn wood to either heat your home or burn in your fireplace, cover your wood pile well before a winter storm hits, so that it can remain dry but accessible.

 

 

Winter Weather/Power Outage Hacks

 

Trap the Heat

 

Even if you are using a generator to heat your home, shut the vents for rooms you don’t use, shut the doors, and lay a towel against the crack at the bottom.  This will help you conserve fuel by heating your house quicker, thus allowing you to turn off the generator faster. 

 

Avoid Frozen Pipes

 

Here is a list of ways to prevent your pipes from freezing in the winter.  Should you lose heat, turn your faucets on a slow drip.

 

Perishable Items

 

After 24 hours, the food in your refrigerator may be compromised.  After 48, the food in your freezer may be compromised.  However, given that this is a winter storm, you have some options to save that food.  Packing refrigerated and frozen foods in ice can help you keep them cooler, longer, so keep a cooler and a few bags of ice on hand.  Pack your food in the cooler with ice, and store the cooler outside.  If the temperatures are below freezing, your ice should last quite a long time.  If the temperatures rise above freezing, your ice will last a long time, as well, but it is a good idea that you occasionally check to see if it needs more, in that case.

 

Drink Coffee! …Or tea! …Or hot chocolate!

 

The important thing is that you occasionally drink a hot beverage.  Drinking a hot beverage raises your body’s core temperature, which helps keep your extremities, especially your fingers and toes, warm. 

 

Cardio to Fight the Chill

 

When you feel yourself becoming very chilled, try doing five minutes’ worth of jumping jacks or high knees.  This increased blood flow helps warm your body’s core temperature.  Be sure not to do so much that you sweat, thus dampening your clothes, as that will lead to you being even colder when your heart rate normalizes again.

 

Know When to Close the Curtains

 

Opening your curtains on a sunny day can bring natural heat into your home.  Even during the winter months, open your curtains when the sun is shining and shut them as it begins to go down, trapping the heat inside.

To really help trap that heat, consider hanging quilts or blankets over your curtain rods during a power outage.  This will help keep the heat in your home.

 

Park Facing East

 

Before a snow or ice storm hits, park your car with your windshield facing east, if at all possible.  This will allow the morning sun to hit your windshield, and it may make your car-clearing project a little easier after the snow or ice hits.

 

Gas Up Your Car

 

You always want to make sure that your car has a full tank of gas before a winter storm, for a number of reasons.  For instance, if you are driving, and you get stuck in a winter storm or in traffic, you will want enough gas to get you home and keep you warm through the ordeal.  Also, a full tank of gas adds some weight to your vehicle, which, in the case of a snow storm, can make your vehicle a lot easier to manage. 

You should also be carrying a winter weather emergency kit in your car.  For some guidance in regards to what is best to keep in these kits, click here.

 

 

As with all of the tips and lists that we post, this is not a completely comprehensive instruction manual, but rather a guide to give you an idea of what to do.  If you experience an emergency, do not hesitate to contact your local emergency services immediately.  Always exercise every safety precaution, and thoroughly read through any instruction manual that came along with any of your equipment.

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Photo of The Linda Frierdich Real Estate Group Real Estate
The Linda Frierdich Real Estate Group
Century 21 Advantage
103 S Main St
Columbia IL 62236
IL: 618.281.7621

138 Concord Plaza Dr
Saint Louis MO 63128
MO: 314.649.0221
Fax: 618.281.4311

Linda Frierdich is the area's premier real estate professional, offering services in St Louis, Kirkwood, Webster Groves, Crestwood, Ballwin, Arnold, Fenton, Oakville, Columbia, Waterloo, Millstadt, Valmeyer, Dupo, Belleville, O'Fallon, Mascoutah, Fairview Heights, Smithton, Ruma, Hecker, New Athens, Edwardsville, Collinsville, Caseyville, Shiloh, Swansea, Monroe County, Madison County, St Clair County, and Randolph County.  Her team focuses on resale homes, new construction, first time home buyers, condos, farms, land sales, subdivisions, lot sales, single family, multi-family, commercial, foreclosures, bank owned property, military relocation, and building. This site offers options to search real estate in Columbia Illinois and other areas. We offer buyer and sellers services second to none!

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