First things to do after buying a new home!

You closed on your new property. The boxes are off of the moving truck, the furniture is in the right rooms and you are wondering what to do first. Here is a checklist of important tasks that are high priority.

1. Test the smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Install new alarms or change the batteries if necessary.
2. Establish an escape plan and safe meeting place with your family in the event of a fire.
3. Make sure you know where the main water, gas and electrical shutoff valves are, in case of an emergency such as a burst pipe or gas leak.
4. Determine which outlets serve which circuits and then label the breakers.
5. Change the alarm system code, garage code, and any other password-sensitive devices.
6. Change all of the locks and make a few sets of spare keys.
7. Update your car insurance, driver’s license and voter registration to reflect your change of address.
8. Have all your mail and magazine subscriptions forwarded to your new address. Keep a close eye on your bank accounts and credit cards, because during a move you are especially susceptible to identity theft if mail is not delivered to your current address.
9. Unpack any and all medication that may be needed. Also, make sure you have a first aid kit readily available and a fire extinguisher in the kitchen pantry.
10. Add any child locks that are necessary, on toilets, kitchen appliances, medicine cabinets, and any doors that lead outside. Do not forget to place child safety gates and safety plugs in outlets if you have small children.

Why you should plan multiple visits to a home before buying!

For most of us, a home is usually the largest single investment of a lifetime. Such a large purchase warrants multiple visits before making a purchase and it is recommended that you stagger the times of these visits to get a comprehensive experience of the property. Here are some things to pay attention to when viewing a property.

 1. Wall-to-wall windows coupled with an open floor plan may seem picturesque midday. Schedule a visit at sunset to get an idea of how light floods through the home and think about how you would ensure privacy at night. It still may be an ideal choice but it is wise to get a realistic view and calculate the cost of window treatments.
2. Visit or drive by a prospective home at different times of the day. That seemingly quiet residential street may be a noisy, highway-feeder street during morning or evening rush hour. The same may be true for the morning commute but if you only visited the property midday, you would have no idea.
3. The adjacent school may seem like a nice perk, but during school hours, the daily playground noise and extra traffic may be more than you bargained for. If you are viewing the home in the summer, ask your REALTOR® or even neighbors about what you can expect.
4. It may be nice to be within walking distance to bars and restaurants, but consider the amount of pedestrian traffic. Will late night foot traffic lead to noise or disorderly conduct? Also, remember you can always visit the local police department to get crime statistics of an area.