Tips for First-Time Homeowners after Moving In

Thomas Short
Military VA Loan contributor

Buying your first home is a big deal. It’s likely the biggest purchase you’ve made up to this point, and it’s where you’re going to be living for the foreseeable future. But before you can cozy up and relax, you’ll want to keep some things in mind.

Owning a home is a big responsibility, and many people end up in a situation they could have avoided with proper planning. To make the most of your big purchase, here are some tips to make your transition smoother after you move in.

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Do a quick inspection

Once you get your keys, you should do your own personal inspection of the house. Yes, a professional has probably come through and checked everything. But something can happen to a home overnight, and you’ll want to know what to look for – and where to look.

First, check for any leaks with any piping. There shouldn’t be any but checking every pipe will also make you aware of where they are. Should a leak ever occur, you’ll have an easier time finding it if you know where all the pipes are.

The same goes for your circuit breaker and main water valve. If something is wrong with your circuit breaker in the middle of the night, searching for it will be pretty difficult. But if you know where it is, you’ll save yourself a ton of time – and avoid a potentially big problem. The same goes for your main water valve.

Change the locks

The previous owners may have given you the keys, but that doesn’t mean you’re safe. Most homeowners make copies and give them to friends or family in case of an emergency. This is smart, but once they move it means there are strangers who can enter your home.

Realistically, you’ll only need to change the locks on a few doors. This is relatively cheap, considering it has to deal with your safety.

Get some extra cleaning done

The previous owners may or may not have hired a cleaner. Either way, you should still do some cleaning yourself.

Get the carpets cleaned by a professional. This is particularly important if someone in your family has allergies. Also be sure to wipe down counters and cabinets – even professional cleaners can miss spots. The bathrooms are an area you’ll want to clean up as well.

Check your VA mortgage rates. Start here (May 29th, 2024)

Set up mail forwarding

No matter how many times you tell people you have a new address, someone is bound to forget. Mail forwarding will temporarily send mail from your old address to your new one. It’s free, and you can sign up for it online.

Even if you think you’re fine, you should take advantage of this. Tons of people and businesses have your address on file, so it isn’t crazy to think a bank or doctor could send you a letter only to have it end up in the hands of a stranger.

Plan for pests

You shouldn’t have pests when you move in, but they can come at any time. Mouse traps, bug sprays, and the works should be applied and sprayed upon moving in just in case there are pests. If there are no pests, having the materials to get rid of them lying around isn’t a bad idea.

Set a budget

Too many first-time homeowners don’t budget their home expenses correctly.

Yes, your main payment will be your mortgage. But on top of that, you’ll have energy bills, water bills, sewage, and garbage. Other expenses, like mending a roof, hiring a plumber, buying new appliances, getting new furniture, etc., also aren’t calculated into your monthly payments.

It’s up to you to set a budget for each month, planning to have a little extra on hand in case of an emergency.

Get to know the area

Once you’re all settled into your home, get to know the area. Find out where the nearest grocery stores are, the best gas stations, and the nearest hospital. You should know where to find anything that you might leave the house for.

Your new house is also your new home. If you’re moving to a new area, this area is your new home as well, so it’s worth getting to know sooner rather than later.

Check your VA mortgage rates. Start here (May 29th, 2024)