Congratulations! After weeks (maybe months) of hard work, you finally closed on the purchase of your new home. For many buyers, the first few weeks will be hectic. Coordinating movers, getting kids ready for a new school, getting used to your a new commute to work—just a few of the challenges new homeowners face.
In these first few weeks buyers should make sure the following tasks are also completed:
Organize All Closing Documents
Buyers should organize all the home’s closing documents into a binder. For the truly organized, used binder tabs to separate the documents by mortgage documents, title documents, contract documents, etc. This binder can also serve as a Home Maintenance binder and maintain copies of receipts/invoices for all repairs, upgrades and improvements.
Change all House Keys
Get new keys made for every door in the house. If your mailbox has a key, you should also change the lock mechanism on that.
Title Policy Documents
If you did not receive a copy at closing, they will arrive in the mail in a month or two. Place these documents in your Closing Document binder.
The deed to your home will arrive in the mail a few weeks after closing. DO NOT fall for scams that come in the mail offering a copy of your deed for a fee. These are not from your local county clerk and are unscrupulous businesses trying to scam new homeowners for something they will receive as part of the title fee paid to the closing agent.
Loan Payment Booklet
You should receive your lender’s loan payment book or schedule before your first payment is due. If you don’t receive it, or have questions on the payment amount, you can contact your mortgage banker or broker or you may contact the closing agent for clarifications.
Property Tax & Exemptions
You should immediately file for a Homestead Exemption any any other property tax exemptions you qualify for. Most often, these exemption forms are available on the web site of your County’s Property Tax Assessor. Each county has a deadline date (Broward County is March 1 for the 2018 tax year).
Driver’s License & Vehicle Registration
Often overlooked for weeks, the state of Florida allows you to do this online or via the mail. No need to wait in line at the DMV.
I always recommend using the U.S Postal Service Change of Address packet to start. This will immediately forward all your mail to your new home. Then contact every company to update your address and new contact information. Most likely, all of the changes can be completed online. A short-list of companies to contact: Employers, credit cards, your children’s schools, auto dealerships, auto insurance, magazine & newspaper subscriptions, investment accounts, health insurance providers, and primary care physicians. If you are self-employed as a registered business with the state, and used your prior home address as the business’s registered address, make sure to update that information in the annual report filing each year.
Wills & Trusts
Your new home is a new asset and must be written into any existing wills and trusts. Contact your attorney as soon as possible.