There are some activities that buyers should address immediately, while there are other things that you may defer to some future time after having lived in the house. New buyers need to begin by changing all the external locks to the house. If you are like me, you have probably given out a spare key to a neighbor or given a neighbor or friend the combination to your key code. Changing the door locks is inexpensive and will give you confidence that your home is more secure. While you are changing the locks, be sure to also change keypad codes for the garage and home security system.
Improving your home security may also include getting to know your neighbors. When we moved into our new home, our neighbors had a casual gathering soon after we moved in. I learned that two of my neighbors owned every tool known to man, which was important to me considering that I owned none.
Make sure that the utilities have been turned on the day of the closing so they are working when you take ownership of the house. This is especially important in Maine during the winter months when there is a risk of frozen pipes if the heat is not on.
Be sure to fill out a change of address form with the U.S. Post Office. When I moved two years ago, the Post Office was giving out out a moving kit, which included 20 percent off coupons for several of the big box stores; this saved us hundreds of dollars on our appliances. The Post Office will forward your mail, but do keep in mind that the mail will take a couple of extra days to get to you. Make sure to take the time to change the address on your credit cards and other loans to avoid any delays.
Use the home inspection results to develop a repair plan. The home inspection repair plan will help you prioritize what needs to be done as well as insure that you have planned for the budget needed to perform the repairs. Consider having an energy efficiency audit. This would be particularly beneficial in an older home. You may qualify for special financing or up to $1,500 in incentives from Efficiency Maine for work performed to improve your home’s energy efficiency. Before starting on any projects always check with the town office for permit requirements.
Finally, assemble a team of local professional tradesmen to assist you. This may include a handyman, carpenter and electrician to name a few. Once you have moved in you will quickly learn more about your home. These professionals can be of great help if and when the need arises and can help you prioritize repairs and maintenance beyond the closing.
Kevin Ronan is an Associate Broker affiliated with Alliance Realty, 290 Bridgton Road, Westbrook. He can be reached at Kronan@alliancemaine.com or 207-838-4855.