|Home Buyer's Guide - Close the Deal|
Congratulations! It's done - you're a homeowner.
It's finally moving day! Depending upon your arrangements with the seller, you will be able to move in either right after the closing or the next day.
Be Prepared for the Movers
Make sure the moving van has room to park as well as easy access to both houses. Movers expect payment upon delivery, so you'll also need to have a certified check and/or cash available to settle the bill. Many movers accept credit cards as well, so inquire in advance if this is your chosen payment method. Tipping is customary - usually about $20 per mover - though this is obviously highly variable with the length and difficulty of the move.
Work With the Movers
Be available to answer questions about packing order and fragile items. Point out any items you intend to move yourself, and keep these things separated from those to be handled by the movers. Make sure the movers have clear directions to the new house as well as a phone number to reach someone if they get lost or have any problems. Make sure someone remains at your old home until the movers are packed and ready to leave.
Do a Final Walkthrough
Make one last inspection of your old home to insure that nothing has been forgotten and left behind. It's OK to have a few minutes to yourself if you are feeling emotional at this point.
Arrange for Mail to be Forwarded
You'll actually want to make these arrangements a week or two before moving day. Go to your old post office and arrange for mail to be forwarded to your new address (if you had a P.O. box you may want to retain it for a period of time). Send out change of address cards with your new location.
Get Settled into Your New Home
Target the most important areas of your new home and unpack for these rooms first. Arrange to have someone available at the house during the first few days to coordinate installations and deliveries. Have written instructions prepared for installers to make sure you get phone lines and TV jacks in the right places. If you have any improvement projects planned you can start scheduling the work if you haven't done so already.
Change the Locks
Though many people don't bother with this precaution it is extremely advisable to do so - you probably know very little about the seller and even less about anyone to whom they may have given a key.
Deal with Any Problems
If you discover any problems with the home after you move in, stay calm. Have the problem checked out and documented by a qualified professional, then consult with your attorney - the seller may be liable for any deficiencies that were not disclosed to the purchaser.
Finish the Paperwork
Store your purchase and closing documentation where you can easily find them at tax time (or whenever else they are required). Complete any paperwork required by local schools (if you have children who are enrolling). Don't forget to change your driver's license, automobile registration, and voter registration, if necessary. Lastly, confirm that the deed was correctly filed with the appropriate authorities.
Making Your New House a Home
Now that the search is over and the house is yours, it's time to start making this new place into your home.
The sooner you get your possessions unpacked and in their new places, the sooner you will begin to feel comfortable in your new surroundings.
If you are planning to do any home improvements you may want to make out a schedule and prioritize the most important projects.
The same applies to major decorating - if you are not going to do it all at once, try to concentrate on areas that have the greatest impact on your day to day lifestyle.
Before you know it your new house will feel like home.