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Home buyer checklist – You’ve signed on the dotted line, now what?

Purchasing a home for the first time is an exciting milestone, however, after finally finding the perfect home and navigating the purchase process, there are still a number of things to take care of before you move in and it can be quite overwhelming.

“After all those stressful months, once you’ve signed on the dotted line and finalised the transaction, you’re looking forward to the next big step which is to move into your new home,” says Cobus Odendaal, CEO of Lew Geffen Sotheby’s International Realty in Johannesburg and Randburg.

“However, there are still a few items to cross off on your to-do list which are essential to making a smooth transition and settling in as quickly and seamlessly as possible.”

He adds that it can be easy to overlook important tasks, so making a checklist is the best way to ensure you don’t drop any balls and add unnecessary stress to your life.

Odendaal lists the following as crucial checklist items:

Notify work and schools

As soon as the deal is done (if not sooner) you must notify the school if you’re planning to move to a new area and you should also book sufficient time off work on both sides of moving day. Make sure all the paperwork is in order if your kids will be attending a new school.

Plan Your Move and Hire Movers

It’s important to plan your move well in advance to ensure that everything goes smoothly. This includes hiring a moving company, packing your belongings, and coordinating the move-in date with the seller or landlord.

Update Your Address

Make sure to update your address with the post office, banks, credit card companies, and any other important contacts. You may also need to update your driver’s license and voter registration information.

Inspect Your New Home

It’s important to inspect your new home before moving in to ensure that everything is in working order. This includes checking the plumbing, electrical, heating and cooling systems, and any appliances that are included in the sale. If you notice any issues, make sure to address them with your real estate agent or the seller before moving in.

Secure Homeowners Insurance

Homeowners insurance is essential for protecting your investment and your personal property. It’s important to shop around and compare policies to ensure that you’re getting the best coverage for your investment.

Notify your insurance company of your move

If you are securing homeowners insurance through a different company, you need to let your existing insurance company know that you – and your insured possessions – will be moving to a new address.

Deep Clean the Home

Before moving in, it’s a good idea to deep clean the home. This includes cleaning the floors, walls, cabinets, and appliances and, depending on the age and the state of the house, you may also want to hire a professional cleaning service to ensure that everything is thoroughly cleaned.

Change the Locks

For security reasons, it’s recommended that you change the locks on your new home before moving in. This ensures that previous owners or tenants no longer have access to your home.

Connect Utilities

Before moving in, make sure to contact the utility companies to set up the necessary services such as water, electricity and internet. You may also need to set up trash and recycling services.

Keep important documents safe

You should think about keeping documents safe as your move approaches. This includes: birth certificates, contracts and passports. The last thing you want is for critical paperwork to get lost or perhaps mistakenly thrown away in the move. It’s worth considering a safe box to keep all your important documents safe.

“Finally, take some time to enjoy the fact that you are now a homeowner and look forward to being part of a new community and making new friends, exploring your new neighbourhood and creating new memories,” concludes Odendaal.

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