Homebuyers invest a lot of time and discipline in getting to the closing table. Buying a house can be hard work! The moment you turn the key to your new home is liberating, but your choices from this point on still matter.
Do you want a peaceful, financially sound start in your new home? Read on for a list of what not to do after closing.
Avoid Big Charges on a Credit Card
Do not rack up credit card debt. You bought a house and now you need to furnish it. Yes, some purchases are justified, but do yourself a favor and set a budget for your post-closing spend. Know your limit when it comes to furniture costs and first-year upgrades. Be deliberate and choosy about each expense. Above all, do not pay for furniture, updates, or home improvements with a credit card. This includes the credit cards/programs offered at retail stores. For more on the importance of sticking to a budget, visit the Ruoff Porch archive.
Be Careful with Trends
Do not choose home décor based on fleeting trends (but do get trendy if it fits your style!). Décor trends are fun. Each year the paint stores feature hot new color palettes. Furniture design is rich with history. Lighting, window treatments, rugs, and every object you put in your home offers a chance to showcase your style. But remember that while some new fashions are here to stay others will be out the door before the snow melts. Decorate your home based on your own personal taste and incorporate trendy design only when it feels right. Your home should be a reflection of what you love, not what an advertising manager wants to sell you.
Do Not Neglect Your Neighbors
Make the most of your time as the new kid on the block. Get out and meet people. Invite your new neighbors over for your housewarming party. Keep a tidy yard and decorate your exterior for the Holidays and seasons. Showing your neighbors that you are approachable is a good first step toward acclimating to your neighborhood’s culture.
Don't Miss Tax Breaks
Do not forget to file your homestead exemption. If your county offers a tax exemption for homeowners, call your local assessor’s office to file one in your name. You may have to show up in person to file the exemption. Ask your Realtor ahead of time where to go and how much money you will need to cover the paperwork. Also, find out if cash is required for the filing fee. Title companies do not file homestead or other exemptions during the closing.
Keep Your Real Estate Agent Close
Do not be shy about asking your Realtor questions. Your Realtor is still there to help you navigate the housing market, and this includes the post-closing. If you have questions about paperwork, homeowner responsibilities, or anything else relating to homeownership, contact your real estate agent. If you need a referral to a good tax professional, contractor, or service provider, your agent is a great source for information. Many established Realtors host client appreciation parties throughout the year. Attend these events to keep in touch with your agent and to network with other people in his or her sphere.
Save That Mail
Do not throw away the previous owner’s mail. If a package or piece of mail comes to your home in the name of the previous owner, you can call your Realtor or the United States Postal Service to sort things out.
Celebrate! You Did It!
Do not forget to celebrate. Buying a house is a big deal. Break out the streamers and the party hats – You own your own home! Enjoy your new investment and the take time to acknowledge that you made a beautiful investment into your financial future.