7 Tips on What Not to Do After Closing on a House
After months of searching, you’ve finally found your dream home and have gone through all the steps of closing on it. Now you might be wondering what you should — or shouldn’t — do. While it’s tempting to think that closing on a property signals the end of the homebuying process, the choices you make at this point still matter. Whether you’re a first-time homebuyer or buying a second property, here’s a guide to what not to do after closing on your new home.
What Not to Do After Closing on a House: Financials
The closing process is a crucial part of navigating how to buy a house, which is why it’s critical for new homeowners to think twice before making big financial or life decisions before the closing date.
Avoid Making Big Purchases
Until your mortgage is closed and you officially own your new home, it might be best to avoid making big charges on your credit card — even for new things you want to add to the home. Making large purchases can affect your debt-to-income ratio and credit score, which could potentially disqualify you on a mortgage or introduce problems with your mortgage lender. Once the closing process is complete, you can move forward with purchases for your new home.
Press Pause on Big Life Changes
Buying a new home may inspire you to make other big changes in your life, like going for your dream job. However, we recommend waiting for your closing date before you make that kind of decision.
In order to determine your eligibility to buy a home, your mortgage lender will review your financial information. Quitting or changing your job can result in a change of income, which can be viewed negatively by a mortgage lender. In some situations, you might also lose your eligibility for a mortgage. After all, your lender wants to ensure that you are financially stable enough to pay for a monthly payment of the mortgage loan, as well as a down payment and closing costs. With that in mind, try to avoid switching jobs until the closing process is complete.
Don’t Forget These Steps After Closing
In addition to monitoring what you’re spending, read on for some more tips and tricks on what not to do after closing on a house.
Don’t Forget to Change the Locks
During the closing process, you will be handed the keys to your home, signifying one of the last steps to homeownership. It’s possible that the previous owner might have given a copy of the house key to others, so you should change the locks on your new house as soon as possible. If not, you might leave your new house vulnerable to a break-in. Changing the locks can give you peace of mind and help ensure that you’re taking the necessary steps to keep you and your family safe. This can be easily accomplished through hiring a professional locksmith, which ranges from $50 to $300. If you’re looking to take an extra step of safety, you might consider having the locksmith install a keypad.
Don’t Forget to Organize Your Paperwork and Secure Documents
Buying a home can result in a mountain of paperwork and closing documents, especially if you’re buying without a traditional real estate agent. Once you’ve closed on your home, be sure to set aside time to organize the important documents and make sure everything gets filed accordingly. This will most likely include everything from your purchase agreement to title insurance to inspection report.
To keep everything organized, consider storing closing documents and any paperwork pertaining to the sale in a safe place. A filing cabinet, safe, or cloud-based website, such as Dropbox will keep these important documents secure and easily accessible.
Don’t Forget to Set Up Utility Services
As the new homeowner, you’ll be responsible for getting utilities switched over to your name and payment information. Once you’ve identified the utility providers in your area, you can contact them to inform them of the date you’ll be moving in and schedule services to start then. If you already have utilities set up in your current home, you’ll need to transfer these to your new address. The most common utilities are:
- Natural gas
- Water and sewer
- Internet services
- Trash and recycling
Be sure to get your utilities in place prior to moving in so you get off to a smooth start in your new home.
Don’t Skip the Cleaning Process
While some homesellers schedule a cleaning of the property before moving out, it doesn’t hurt to plan your own deep cleaning or hire a company for this service. After all, the people that lived in the space before you might have left dirt, dust, or pet fur behind. Try to get this done before you move in, if possible, so you or your cleaners don’t have to work around boxes and furniture. Conducting a thorough cleaning of your new home will get you off to a great start.
Start by cleaning high, such as ceiling fans, overhead lighting, and shelving as dust and dirt will get on the areas between them. While all rooms are important, the kitchen and bathrooms are rooms that deserve special attention. Since you start at the top, you’ll end at the bottom, including sweeping and mopping floors or using a steam cleaner if there is carpet. While you can do the cleaning process yourself, it might be worthwhile to hire a professional cleaning service to get your new home sparkling in no time.
Don’t Forget to Change Your Address
Make a note to inform your accounts of your change of address. You can request mail forwarding through the United States Postal Service, where any mail sent to your previous residence will automatically be forwarded to your new address. It can take up to two weeks for the postal service to start forwarding mail, so you’ll likely want to update the address associated with your accounts as soon as possible. These include:
- Banks and financial institutions
- Utility companies
- Post office
- Insurance company
- Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV)
- Credit card providers
- Tax agency
- Any subscriptions you have
You’ll also be required to update the address on your driver’s license. Rules vary from state to state, but some require that you update the address on your license within 10 days of your move. If you move out of state, you’ll need to get a new driver’s license as soon as possible. Depending on the state’s rules, there’s a chance that you might need to take a new written or road test to obtain your new license.
Start the Homebuying Process With Aalto Today
Now that you understand what not to do after closing on a house, you can look forward to a smooth real estate transaction. At Aalto, we are there to guide homebuyers through the homebuying process from start to finish. Through our self-service real estate platform, you can easily shop exclusive homes for sale in the Bay Area. Instead of working with the traditional real estate process, homebuyers can use our platform to connect directly with homesellers. Buyers also have the opportunity to enjoy a virtual tour or get insider information on any home from our team of experts.
By using Aalto, you’ll have access to our on-demand team of experts to get answers and advice at every step of the journey. Whether you need to know more about the closing process, why a home inspection is important, or how to obtain homeowners insurance, our team is there to offer assistance in your journey to homeownership.
Since we're committed to simplifying and streamlining the homebuying process, buyers can even look forward to receiving up to 1.5% cash back on a home purchase. In fact, we refund up to 60% of the commission back to you so you won’t have to pay typical commission fees to a traditional real estate agent.
Ready to start the journey to finding your dream home? Then go to Aalto.com and start shopping for homes online today.
Aalto is a real estate broker licensed by the State of California, License #02062727 and abides by Equal Housing Opportunity laws. This article has been prepared solely for information purposes only. The information herein is based on information generally available to the public and/or from sources believed to be reliable. No representation or warranty can be given with respect to the accuracy of the information. Aalto disclaims any and all liability relating to this article.