25 Tips Every Homeowner Needs to Know

There’s a lot of work involved in moving into your new house and getting settled. It would be nice if your house came with a homeowner’s manual explaining all this. But that won’t happen unless you buy a new house from a very responsible builder. So our new homeowner tips is meant to guide you through your first year in a new house.

Here are recommendations on what you’ll want to do once you’re in your new home. Even if you’ve been in your house for several years, you may find things you missed. Some tasks only need to be done once. Other homeowner tasks should be reviewed every one to two years.

  1. Start building your home maintenance team (listed above). You’ll want to arrange for services like house cleaning, lawn care, pool cleaning and pest control right away. Then you should make needed repairs, starting with …
  2. File a change of address with the post office. Ask about a new resident packet which frequently contains discount coupons to local stores like Lowe’s.
  3. Paint the ceilings while the coast is clear, as they’re the toughest to reach with furniture in the way. This will give you time to pick your wall colors and paint rooms as you decide how you want to decorate.
  4. Review your home inspection report and create a punch list of needed repairs. These should be done before you start home improvements and other decorating. Here are priorities to guide your timeline:
    • Repairs to keep your family and guests safe.
    • Problems that involve water. This includes water penetrating your home from outside and interior leaks.
    • Updates that will reduce your energy bills and extend the life of major home systems.
  5. Research discount programs offered by local utility companies.
  6. Review your homeowner insurance policy with your agent to make sure you have the correct coverage. Don’t be surprised if you’re missing something … or you have more coverage than you need.
  7. Add contact information to your smart phone for your insurance company, utilities and home maintenance team.
  8. Change your driver’s license and car registration. Check state requirements as you may only have 10 days.
  9. Confirm your deed has been officially recorded about two weeks after closing.
  10. Check to see if you’re eligible for any property tax discounts. Often known as homesteading, you may find them for primary residence, seniors or even retired military.
  11. Setup a homeowner budget. Make sure you’re saving enough for property taxes and insurance if your bank didn’t require them to be put into escrow. You should also set aside money for preventive maintenance and repairs.
  12. Change your locks. If you’re considering smart locks, take time to think through your choices. Consider the multiple devices you want to control remotely, and you’ll save money with one shared controller.
  13. Ask your utilities to mark where their lines are, a free service so you don’t accidentally sever a line when installing a mailbox, fence, etc. Make a map with the lines for future reference.
  14. Don’t put your name outside the mailbox. Put it inside for the mailman.
  15. Buy gardening equipment needed to maintain your yard. It’s easier to start right away versus catching up after ignoring shrubs and flower beds for six months.
  16. Find your main water shutoff and learn how to turn your water off.
  17. Check the temperature on your hot water heater. Turn it down to 120º to avoid burns and save money. Your HVAC and/or plumber can help with this.
  18. Review you main electrical panel to make sure it’s properly labeled. Practice shutting off power and buy circuit breakers if needed.
  19. Schedule an HVAC maintenance tune-up to insure your system is running efficiently.
  20. Have your home cleaned before moving furniture into the house. It’s also the perfect time to get your carpeting cleaned or floors refinished.
  21. Meet the president of your condo/homeowners association. Learn about local customs, like getting exterior paint colors approved.
  22. Make a copy of your closing papers and store outside your home. Use an old fashion safe deposit box or scan and store documentation online, in case of a fire.
  23. Make a photo or video record of your home and personal possessions.
  24. Identify high value items and make sure they’re covered by your homeowners insurance. Review your policy now, as you probably didn’t have time before the closing.
  25. Meet your neighbors. Introduce yourself and learn what hobbies and interests you have in common. Share contact information with immediate neighbors (8 recommended).

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