Things to Do After you Buy/Sell Your Home

The closing on your home can be an exciting but busy time. There are so many things you have to remember and it’s easy to forget some of the most basic but necessary tasks. Here are a few things you’ll need to do or have done immediately after you close on your new home.

1. Call a locksmith to have the locks changed on your new home. Don’t forget to have him change the locks on all the exterior doors as well. If you’re going to change the locks yourself, you’ll need to count all the doors so you know how many you’ll need. This is something that can be done ahead of time so you’ll be ready to change those locks just as soon as you arrive at your new home.

2. Does your new home have any storage buildings or any other type of exterior building that’ll need a lock? If so, you’ll need to buy new locks for those as well. Additionally, if they’re already locked and you weren’t given a key at closing, you’ll need to have some bolt cutters on hand so you can get them open.

3. Make sure you’re given the garage door openers at closing. It’s a good idea to change the code as soon as you arrive at your new home. You may need to contact the manufacturer for instructions on how to change the code if you don’t know how. If they were not provided, you may have to talk with your local home improvement store or the manufacturer to obtain new ones.

4. If your new home has an alarm, you’ll need to change the alarm code. Contact the alarm company for assistance.

5. Change the batteries in all the smoke and carbon monoxide detectors then test them.

6. Buy new fire extinguishers to place around the house and in the garage.

7. Prepare a box of move-in supplies to take with you such as toilet paper, paper towels, soap, wipes, trash bags, drinks, snacks, etc. so you won’t need to dig through boxes or have to do without.

8. Don’t forget to have the chargers for your mobile devices handy.

9. Put together a move-in toolkit and include items such as nails, a flashlight, a drill, etc.

10. Hire a clean up crew. There’s nothing worse than showing up with the movers, dozens of boxes and your personal belongings only to discover the seller hadn’t had the place cleaned.

11. Set up the Utilities. The best plan is to call the utility companies and get service set up well before closing. If they haven’t received cancellation notice from the seller, let the seller know to take care of that.

Things to Do after You Sell:

  • Keep copies of all the paperwork related to closing and settlement. Although it might be tempting to run the mountain of paperwork through the shredder or tuck it away in storage, you’ll want to have it handy for April 15. When you file your taxes you’ll need documentation for the expenses and proceeds of the sale. And once you file your return, you’ll want to keep the paperwork in case you’re audited.
  • Keep proof of improvements and prior purchases. This is for tax purposes, too. The IRS allows you to add the cost of improvements to your home’s cost basis during the time you own the home, which is nice if you have a sizable capital gain. But to use this tax provision, you need to keep receipts of everything spent on home improvement.
  • Put your cash in a money market fund. If you sell and then don’t immediately buy, you’ll need a safe place to put your money. A money market mutual fund offers safety and a reasonable rate of return. Money market funds offer daily access to your money and check-writing privileges.
  • Stay on top of tax laws. A recently passed law allows you to exclude from tax a significant portion of the profits from the sale of your primary residence. Because tax laws are constantly changing, you’ll want to stay on top of tax laws to avoid losing a lot of money.
  • Remember to send change of address notices. The U.S. Postal Service recommends you complete and mail your Change of Address Order Card or Internet form 30 days before you move.
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