First of – congratulations!! You’ve just made a huge decision to be a homeowner, whether for tax benefits, investments, etc. everyone has different motivations for buying a house. So much time is focused on what to do PRIOR to today, many people don’t think about what happens after you walk out of the attorneys office. Here are some thoughts:
1. If you bought a foreclosure or a short sale, the very first thing you should do is change the locks. Actually, it may not be a bad idea to change the locks no matter what you bought! You just never know.
2. Keep all of your closing paperwork somewhere safe and accessible. You may need it for your tax return, trust/estate planning, title insurance policy, and/or home warranty information, if you elected to purchase one. It’ll also help when/if you decide to sell it (yes, I know you just bought it!) So keep it safe!
3. The minute you start making improvements to the house, keep track! Any invoices/receipts should be kept and given to your accountant so they can determine what/if anything is deductible. But on the long term planning, keep records of what and when you made changes. New appliances? Keep the manuals and the date you installed them. New roof? Definitely write down when you had it replaced. I often give clients a binder to keep all of this in, so make sure you have it somewhere handy and organized. This will also help when you sell it.
4. Maintain regular maintenance of big appliances. Here’s a list of things you should get done annually to protect your investment: HVAC service; humidifier/dehumidifer service, termite treatment/protection, do a general walk-thru (check for exposed wires, the floors, check the foundation/basement for any indications of water). This will ensure the house is in the best condition when it’s time to sell.
5. Don’t forget to ENJOY IT!