Congratulations! There is no feeling like signing all the paperwork and holding those keys in your hand for your newly purchased home! Now that you have carved a piece of the world to call your own, your hard work does not stop there. You may feel like you just ran a marathon, but the race continues, just at a somewhat slower pace, but still running, nonetheless! Many, many things must fall into place to get you started on the right track. (pun intended!)
Let’s start with some basics.
Replace the locks or get them re-keyed immediately. This includes all exterior doors and any door that may lead into the garage. Speaking of the garage, change the code to the garage door opener, as well. Also, change the locks on any storage area or shed. I recently read a story of a couple who did not change the locks on the very first day (after all, they were swamped with all the crazy, move-in business of the day) and when they returned with the second load they were met by the former owners stealing their property! (A cautionary tale that should to be heeded!)
Now is the time to have extra keys made and store one in an inconspicuous place so you don’t get locked out!
Maintain fire, theft, and liability insurance. Take pictures or a video of all your possessions for insurance purposes and keep the records in a safety deposit box or safe. Your insurance representative can recommend what to photograph. In case of a disaster, chances are you will not remember what you actually had. If you are the hyper-organized type, a home spreadsheet will work as well. Check your specific area for flood insurance recommendations. Floods are not covered by conventional home coverage.
Set up your new address everywhere! Text or do an email blast to friends and family. Don’t forget your employer! HR needs all your new information to update their records. Your creditors are another group not to be overlooked. The last thing you want is a ding on your credit report because the bills went to the wrong address. Finally, the USPS needs to know your new address, so set up mail forwarding from your old address to your new address, you don’t want to miss any important correspondence.
Assess the status of the utilities. These items must be paid in full by the former owners as of closing and subsequently transferred into your name.
Determine where your internet and cable/television will be installed.
Find the water and gas shut off valves. Better to know where they are ahead of an emergency.
Check the temperature on the water heater, maybe the former owners liked their water piping hot!
Make sure smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are present and in good working order. Replace all the batteries just to be on the safe side.
Don’t forget fire extinguishers! Place one in the kitchen and one on every floor. Check the expiration dates on the extinguishers.
Find the circuit breaker panel and make sure all are well-labeled. Also, there may be more than one circuit panel so check around and don’t be left scratching your head during an outage!
Introduce yourself to the neighbors and if you have a dog, take him/her along! They will be more comfortable with your dog if they have met them, and should the dog get rowdy, they can holler at them by name! 🙂
Your neighbors are an incredible resource for all the goings-on of the neighborhood. From babysitters to grocery stores and handymen, they will, no doubt, know it all!
Economist Dean Baker of the Center for Economic and Policy Research says you should set aside 1% of the purchase price for repairs and maintenance. You may never have to touch that money, but then again, maybe you will! If possible, try to have something set aside for emergencies.
Avoid piling up any more debt. After moving in, it can be a temptation to “redo everything” and have all new things. As tempting a that may seem, pace yourself and replace items when you can do so without stretching your budget.
Store your important documents in a fireproof file box or in a safe deposit box.
This pretty much covers the basics, the following is some handy tips from recent buyers!
If you can, paint before moving in. Tackle closets when they are empty, since they will never be again! If ceilings need to be painted, again, do it before any furniture arrives.
If you are ripping up carpeting, paint beforehand to avoid the hassle of using a drop cloth.
Change the toilet seat, because, well because!
Check out tax incentives in your state for improvements. You may be surprised by what is tax deductible! Save your receipts for EVERYTHING! Major renovations, especially additions, will lower the taxable cost basis for your home should you ever sell.
(I LOVE this one!) When packing, label each box with a different colored marker designated for a specific room. For example, anything labeled with a red maker goes to the kitchen! Green is bedroom, etc. Brilliant!
Now is the time to purge! If you have not used something in years, recycle, donate or toss it! Why move something you don’t use?
If you have children or pets, check out the plants in your yard, they could be dangerous to both!
Just because you have a fence, doesn’t mean it’s safe!
Inspect it thoroughly . Make sure your pet cannot sneak through a hole you did not see and get lost in an unfamiliar neighborhood. 🙁
Do you need blinds and shades or did the previous owners leave them? I am sure your neighbors would love to see what’s going on inside your house, let’s not give them the opportunity!
Moving day, you will need some type of tool box. At the very least a hammer and various sized screwdrivers. You will no doubt need nails and picture hangers, which your hardware store stocks.
Give the new buyers of your old house a sheet of stamps and large mailing envelopes, pre-addressed with your new address and the return address of your choosing. That way, what ever mail does filter through, they can just place it in the envelope and mail to you!
I hope this helps with the transition to living happily ever after in your newly purchased home!
LET’S EAT OUT!
On Sunday morning when I get into my car, I get a message telling me how many miles it is to downtown Kailua. I am off to shop at the Farm Lovers Market at Pali Lanes to be followed by Whole Foods and R Fields at Foodland Market. I leave much of my prepared food to be purchased in Kailua. I have been focusing on my health during the COVID 19 pandemic by walking greater than 10,000 steps an eating healthier. Since I am teleworking, I can avoid the delicious cookies and snacks grateful patients bring into the office!
Two weeks ago, I was informed that one of my favorite vendors was going on vacation to Israel for a month! Yonatan Armon and Maya Mordechay are the couple who provide the scrumptious offerings of plant-based, gluten free and vegan Israeli/Middle Eastern dishes. These include baked, waffled felafels or fawafelles in three different flavors including traditional, roasted red pepper and chili and potato curry. They feature authentic hummus, as well, and sometimes I buy two! Usually I scoop up their chickpea salad, tasty tabbouleh salad that is made with faro, rather than bulgar wheat, stuffed grape leaves, stuffed onions and an Israeli coleslaw without mayonnaise. During the week, I supplement these dishes with Japanese cucumbers and a variety of cherry tomatoes from Ho Farms (purchased on Saturday) With the increased walking and dietary changes I have been able to shed a whopping 24 pounds in spite of the fact that I have been known to grab one of Cathy’s low-fat fudge treats from the freezer from time to time! 🙂
Kaka”ako Farmers Market
1050 Ala Moana Blvd.
(Ala Moana Blvd. & Ward Ave.)
Saturday 8 am to noon.
Kailua Farmers Market
120 Hekili St.
Sunday 8 am to noon
WHAT’S HAPPENING THIS MONTH ON OAHU?
The transition from the renewed shutdown last month to some level of freedom has begun. There are no social gatherings without significant limitations to report at this time. It is quite heartbreaking to see local businesses struggle and some close their doors for the last time. The impact of decisions by the State and county mayors seems to have been arbitrary at times with no clear direction of a path to normalcy. If there is one positive gift from this downturn, it will have been the enduring yearning for companionship with friends. The experiences we shared together shaped our life’s journey. Those bonds are stronger than ever. Let’s start planning a celebratory reunion. Cheers…
Cathy, Mary and Jeff