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Buying a new home is a big deal — and getting swept up in the exciting process of moving is easy. However, even if you’re not a first-time homeowner, it’s easy to lose your head and end up making a couple of costly mistakes. The last thing you want is any issue jeopardizing the home you’ve worked so hard to buy. And that’s why we’ve created an in-depth guide for homeowners with what to do before moving into your new home. Here are a couple of practical steps you need to take early into your home-owning experience. If you do these properly right away, you’ll save tons of money, time, and effort down the line.
Chances are that you’re moving to an entirely new neighbourhood — and there’s no time to explore it like the present! Luckily, North Delta is home to plenty of great amenities, restaurants, community centres, stores, and other points of interest for the locals. And seeing as you’re now one of them, these will become the brand new go-to spots for your family and yourself.
So, once you feel like you need a little break from all the unpacking, take a drive or a stroll around North Delta and discover all the amazing stuff you’ll be privy to in the future. Also, you’re bound to meet your new neighbours at some point — and it’s going to be less awkward and easier if you introduce yourselves and say hello right away. Trust us, there’s no better way to make a new house feel like home than becoming friendly with the great folks in your surroundings.
Plus, once you meet the neighbours, you’ll have the perfect opportunity to learn more about your community and ask them for recommendations on local services. And we’re not just talking about the best local restaurants either. As you’ll see once we start getting into the details of your other tasks, you’ll need some basic handymen soon enough — such as locksmiths.
Of course, if you don’t feel like it, you don’t have to go door to door nearby — but every time you run into a neighbour you haven’t met before, it’s not a bad idea to introduce yourself. Even some basic courtesy and friendliness goes a long way.
We’ll go over some of the more practical stuff you need to do around your house before you can truly say that you’ve settled in — but the most important first step is to change all of the locks.
Sure, you get the current keys to your new house during the closing. Still, you can never be too careful. Just because you’re acting in good faith doesn’t mean everyone else is. That’s why you can’t be sure that the previous owner hasn’t made themselves a copy of your keys before selling the home — and you can’t be certain about who all of the people who have a pair of these keys are.
That’s why it’s crucial to change all of the locks as soon as you take possession of the house. And sure, you could do this yourself by buying the necessary tools and equipment and doing some Googling — but at the end of the day, a professional locksmith is always the best option. They’ll be able to get the necessary work done quickly and securely, freeing up time you can use to deal with other stuff on your moving-in list.
If you can, do a walkthrough through the new house while it’s still empty. This is especially useful if the interior was staged while you were in the process of buying it. When you see it without the temporary furniture, you’ll have a blank canvas to work with — making plans on how you’ll fit in your belongings more easily.
Take a tape measure with you and try to plan where the bigger furniture pieces will go more accurately. Once you start unloading and unpacking, this will save you a great deal of time and money.
Plus, this gives you the chance to see if every term of the sale has been completed. If there were any agreed-upon repairs, check to see if they were completed — or if the appliances you were supposed to be left with are still there. All of the fixtures, switches, and outlets should be in working order as well. And if they’re not, the sooner you notify the appropriate party, the quicker it’ll be resolved.
When you buy a new house, it’s easy to see a ton of stuff that you’d like to change and the ways you want to make it your own. However, you don’t want the mistake of going into too many home remodelling projects at once. You may want to put up a new fence, but you also want to remodel your kitchen — or perhaps paint the walls an entirely new colour?
Don’t do everything right away. And if you’re not sure what you should focus on first, it should be the painting.
It’s a no-brainer; painting a house while it’s still empty takes a lot less effort and time. Painters will be able to quickly do their work and move from room to room. Plus, you can cover the floors and protect everything more easily, because there’s practically nothing inside yet.
Also, if you’re going to hire painting contractors, you should know that painting a new, empty home will almost certainly be cheaper than painting once you’ve already moved in.
Besides the coverage area, painting contractors will also consider the necessary labour hours while setting their rates. So, it’ll cost you a lot less for them to paint an empty home because they’ll spend less time moving furniture around and doing other secondary tasks.
Also, no matter how careful the painters are, there will inevitably be some cleaning to do after they’re done. This will also be faster and easier to do while the house is still empty, and you’ll avoid any fingerprints, smudges, or spills. Plus, you’ll get to appreciate the new paint job in all its glory.
Besides painting, if you’re to make any changes, renovations, or updates to your new home — now’s the time to do it. Everything will be more complicated and disruptive to your daily life once you move in, so do major changes beforehand.
However, we advise not overspending. Remember, you’ve handed over a big chunk of your savings for closing costs, the down payment, and moving expenses. In the case of most first-time homeowners, money is pretty tight right after the home purchase. Their savings get reduced quite a lot, and their monthly costs start going up almost immediately as well. There will be extra insurance, as well as water and trash bills.
Of course, this will be nothing new if you’ve already been a homeowner before this house, but it’s all something to keep in mind. Of course, everyone likes personalizing their new house. And upgrading from temporary apartment furniture to something nicer is always a great feeling — just make sure not to go overboard and try to make a bunch of improvements at once.
Solid maple cabinets would be a nice addition to your kitchen — but they’re not worth jeopardizing your finances. Instead, give yourself some time to deal with new homeownership expenses and rebuild some of your invested savings. And those cabinets will certainly be waiting once you can afford them more comfortably.
Whenever you move to a new place, it’s good to check out the local regulations on zoning, property permits, HOA restrictions, etc. The same is true for North Delta, so you should check out Delta’s zoning bylaws if you need information on stuff like common amenity spaces, electric vehicle parking, adaptable dwelling units, and other zoning issues.
If you need more details, you can check out the MyCity website which contains important and streamlined information on property taxes, dog licences, business licences, and similar stuff homeowners should know.
Ideally, this is something you should do before you’ve committed to your new home and bought it. But regardless of when you do it, you should make sure you know what kind of neighbourhood and the general area you’re moving to before you do so.
Luckily, it’s never been easier to check out city reports and crime stats for any given location — thanks to the public records that exist on the Internet. All it’ll take is a couple of minutes and an active Internet connection.
There are tons of great free tools for researching new places. For instance, you can look up different communities and neighbourhoods on websites like AreaVibes. Each place is assessed in terms of its housing market, weather, cost of living, amenities, schools, and local safety — and all of this is condensed into a simple Livability score on a 0-100 scale.
Within every city, you can also find a Neighbourhoods tab that lets you see specific information on different communities. There, you can see crime reports for your new area, and how local crime rates compare to the regional and national average.
For instance, Delta has a livability score of 77 — on this scale, that’s considered exceptional. Furthermore, local crime rates are 40% better compared to the British Columbia average, and living expenses are 7% less than in BC in general.
If you haven’t been a homeowner before, you’re probably not used to dealing with maintenance on your own. However, you’ll soon see that making repairs is not only a regular activity that comes with homeownership — it’s about to become one of your relatively regular expenses. Once your toilet gets clogged up or your roof starts leaking, you won’t have a landlord to call.
Of course, on the other hand, there won’t be rent increases either, and homeownership is one of the most wonderful experiences an adult could have. Still — you should approach it responsibly.
Remember when we said that you need to show some restraint while buying nonessentials doing extra renovations right before moving in? The opposite is true when it comes to any problems or repairs. If you discover any issue that’s likely to get worse over time or could even put you and your family in danger — deal with those right away, and before you move in.
Make no mistake, delays can help small issues snowball into much more difficult — and much more costly — problems. Of course, the best way to protect yourself against unexpected maintenance is to have your new home thoroughly inspected before buying — but something may slip through the cracks nonetheless.
We’ve talked a lot about saving money before moving in — but skimping on professional contractors in the face of necessary repairs and improvements isn’t the way to do it. Remember, your home isn’t just a place where you live — it’s an investment. And when you make any changes to it, they should be handled by expert professionals.
Sure, you may want to paint your walls yourself, and there’s nothing wrong with that. But if you find out that something’s wrong with your electric garage opener, don’t start fiddling with the wiring yourself.
Remember, hiring professionals to do the stuff you aren’t qualified for isn’t just a great way to keep your house in great condition — it’s the safest way to go. After all, you wouldn’t want to injure yourself in a stupid accident right before you’re supposed to enjoy your new home, right?
Finally, make sure you’ve checked the local building regulations and acquired all necessary permits before you start any work.
When you get a mortgage, your lender will likely require that you purchase enough homeowner insurance to completely replace the property in case of a total loss. However, this isn’t the only kind of insurance coverage you need.
If you’re sharing your house with someone who can’t pay the mortgage on their own and relies on your income, you should get life insurance and name them as a beneficiary. That way, they won’t lose the house in the event of your untimely demise.
Yes, this may seem a bit grim, but it’s necessary to prepare for any eventuality. For instance, you may want to get disability-income insurance to make up for your income in case you won’t be able to work due to a disability.
Also, if you’re a sole proprietor or self-employed, you should think about forming a corporation. That way, you’ll have more legal protection for your assets — including the newly bought house. Insurance providers also offer umbrella policies, which pick up the rest of the slack left by your other insurance policies.
As we’ve mentioned in the beginning, owning your own house is a great joy — and great freedom. However, great freedom comes with great responsibilities, and no process shows that better than homeownership. It’s always important to manage your finances properly to maintain your home and its condition in peak order — and do all the necessary stuff to properly prepare you for living in it. However, if you plan out everything properly and not let the excitement of the new place lead you to oversights or unwise decisions — you’ll be just fine!
Looking for more home purchase/sale tips check out 13 Closing Costs You Need to Budget for When Buying a Home in British Columbia