I Bought a Home, NOW WHAT

Dated: January 22 2024

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I would like to congratulate you on becoming a homeowner! Your real estate agent and mortgage lender have likely guided you through the home buying process, but what happens once you’ve signed the paperwork and received your keys? If this is your first experience buying a home, you may be wondering what’s next. Below, I have compiled 10 tips to help make your transition into homeownership a little bit smoother:

  1. Change your locks: The keys to your new home have been handled by a lot of people, so one of the first things you should do is have a locksmith change all of your exterior door locks. This step is often overlooked, but one that you shouldn’t skip in order to ensure safety1.
  2. Understand your mortgage statement: When you receive your first mortgage statement, you may find that there’s a lot of information to review. While all of it is important, you’ll want to pay close attention to the amount due, how to pay it and the due date – this pertinent information will help you stay on track with on-time payments from the start1.
  3. Get to know your loan servicer: It’s possible your lender may sell your loan to a mortgage servicer, which may be done soon after closing or even later down the road. This is a common practice, since many lenders lack the resources to retain servicing on all the loans they originate. What does this mean for you? Not much, other than making sure to send your monthly payment to the new servicer. However, your loan terms won’t change, regardless of your servicer1.
  4. Disregard refinance offers: Refinancing typically isn’t beneficial early on in your mortgage repayment, since you’ll need to shell out closing costs. Certain factors may make it worthwhile down the road, including the ability to reduce your interest rate, to change the terms of your loan, or to reduce the life of your loan1.
  5. Keep track of documentation: On closing day, you’ll sign a stack of legal paperwork to officially complete the transaction, and you’ll be given copies of all documents. It’s important to hold onto this information, as it’ll be to your benefit come tax season. That’s because homeownership presents you with some pretty great opportunities for tax savings – and since your year-end mortgage statement may not reflect items you paid at closing, you’ll have the documentation you need to claim it on your taxes1.
  6. Take inventory: Your home insurance will take effect the day you sign the title to your new home, but there’s still work to be done after closing day. You should create an inventory record of the valuables in your home via handwritten list or by taking photos. Doing so will help immensely in the event your personal property is stolen, damaged or lost and will help your insurance company expedite the claim1.
  7. Say hello to your neighbors: It’s always a good idea to introduce yourself to your new neighbors. Not only is it a friendly gesture, but it can also help you get to know the area better and learn about any local events or issues2.
  8. Create a home maintenance checklist: Owning a home comes with a lot of responsibilities, including maintenance. Create a checklist of tasks that need to be done on a regular basis, such as changing air filters, cleaning gutters, and inspecting your roof1.
  9. Join a community group: Joining a community group can help you meet new people and get involved in your community. It’s also a great way to learn about local events and issues2.
  10. Make your house a home: Finally, make your house a home by decorating it with your personal style. Whether it’s painting the walls, hanging pictures, or adding plants, making your home your own can help you feel more comfortable and settled in your new space1.

I hope these tips help you make a smooth transition into homeownership. Congratulations again on your new home!

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Trung Duc Doan

There are many reasons why I enjoy helping people with their real estate needs. First and foremost is the deep satisfaction I get from helping them realize their dreams and get through the major trans....

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