You’ve signed on the dotted line, you’ve popped the champagne and received your key chain closing gift from your particularly thoughtful agent, what more could there be to do? A lot actually. I don’t want to suck the fun out of the awesome investment you’ve just made in your future, but here are some tasks you may want to tackle sooner rather than later. So mull these over whilst you sit in your lawn chair in your new living room, eating pizza from your lap.

Change the locks!

Do you know everyone who may have had a key to your new home at some point in the past? Probably not. And even if you did, would you be okay with them still having access now you’re building your life there? To avoid any visits from drunken old college friends of the previous occupant, once you have keys in hand, have a locksmith come over and change the external locks. If you don’t want to take my advice and you’re okay with strangers entering your premises, be prepared to wake up with an empty fridge and a stove covered in ramen noodles.

Be safety conscious!

Now is the best time to check that all of the smoke detectors are working and they have fresh batteries. It’s a task that no one enjoys doing, unless you’re the jolly green giant, but it is vital. At the very least you’ll save yourself the annoying burden of having the whole house beeping like a possessed road runner. At least until the next time the batteries need changing.

Declare your homestead!

If this is going to be your permanent residence then declaring it as a homestead exemption with the county Property Appraiser is a smart idea. Several financial benefits come from having a homestead exemption on your property.  At the very least, the homestead exemption entitles most homeowners to a deduction of $25,000 off of their property’s assessed value, which can result in several hundred dollars in tax savings, among other benefits. But remember – The deadline for filing homestead applications is March 1st of the applicable tax year!

Make sure you’re eco friendly!

Is your new home as energy-efficient as it could be? If you don’t know, find out! You could save a lot of money on utility bills by having your house evaluated by the Home Energy Rating System Index (HERS). HERS is the nationally recognized system for inspecting and calculating a homes energy performance, and can give you invaluable information about how to make your home more energy efficient. Not only will you be doing your bank balance a favor, you will also be helping the environment!

Throw a soiree!

A new house is the perfect reason to invite friends and family over to admire your wonderful eye for property. Not only will they get to see how brilliant your home purchasing decision was, but you will also have chance to rope friends into agreeing to help with any DIY or decorating that may still need doing. I know, you shouldn’t give to receive, but if your friends are getting a selection of the best Publix hors d’oeurves, the least they can do is help you landscape your new yard!

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