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What to do after you buy your first home

Getting the keys for your first home is a hugely exciting moment – but probably feels like a big relief, too.

After all, the purchase process can be extremely stressful.

But even though you can now start to enjoy living in your first property, there are still some key tasks to complete.

Here are all the things you’ll need to do after you’ve purchased your first home…

1. Arrange your insurance

Sorting out your insurance policies is one of the first things you should do when you’ve purchased your first home.

Buildings insurance

In the case of buildings insurance, this should be arranged before you move in.

Your mortgage lender will almost certainly insist you have a buildings insurance policy in place from the date you exchange contracts with your seller.

If you’re buying a flat or apartment on a leasehold basis, the building’s freeholder will usually provide a buildings insurance policy and charge this back to you through a monthly or annual service charge.

But always check to see if buildings insurance is your responsibility.

Contents insurance

A good contents insurance policy covers everything inside your new home that isn’t part of its structure.

That includes all your possessions, but also:

  • Carpets
  • Curtains
  • White goods

Mortgage payment protection insurance

Mortgage payment protection insurance will help cover your mortgage payments should you be made redundant or be unable to work because of illness or injury.

Keep an eye out for exclusions on these policies, but mortgage payment protection insurance can provide great peace of mind if there is uncertainty around your job or business.

Life insurance

If you’ve purchased your first home with a partner or spouse, life insurance can help them to pay off your mortgage should anything happen to you.

Some mortgage lenders require a life insurance policy as part of their lending criteria.

2. Read your meters

As soon as you move into your new home, take meter readings for your gas and electric supply.

This will help to ensure you’re not paying for the previous owner’s energy.

Once you have your readings, contact the gas and electric suppliers, and submit them.

They’ll then forward a final bill to the previous owners at their new address and start your accounts from the day you moved in.

3. Switch suppliers to save cash

Shopping around for a better deal on your energy supply could save you hundreds of pounds a year.

When you speak to the property’s gas and electric providers to submit your meter readings, find out which tariff the property’s previous owners were on.

Then look at some online price comparison websites to see if you can find a better deal elsewhere and switch if you can.

4. Change the alarm code

While it’s highly unlikely the previous owners of your new home would want to gain access to the property, changing the alarm code should always be on your list of things to do when you’ve moved in.

You could also consider changing the locks to your front and back doors, although doing so would come with a cost.

However, if the previous owners lived in the property for some time, you can never be sure how many copies of their keys were made, so changing the locks can be a good way to make your new home more secure.

5. Do a deep clean

No matter how clean the previous owners left your property ready for your moving-in day, your home probably won’t truly feel spotless until its had a deep clean of your own.

Kitchens and bathrooms are often the spaces that require more intense cleaning, along with carpets and flooring.

If your budget allows it, you could bring in a professional cleaning company to undertake a deep clean of your property.

And don’t forget to run a cleaning cycle on any integrated appliances, such as a dishwasher or washing machine.

6. Know where important things are

Spend some time exploring your property, so you know where key things are.

That should include:

  • The electrical fuse box
  • Electric and gas meters
  • The water shut-off valve
  • The boiler and heating cylinder

In the event of a tripped fuse or a water leak, it’s important you’re familiar with how to deal with these issues right away.

7. Check the smoke detectors

Test every smoke detector in your new home on the day you move in and replace any batteries as needed.

If you’re unsure how well any smoke detectors are performing, or they look more than five or six years old, you may wish to replace them with new units.

If there are no carbon monoxide alarms in the property, you should also purchase these for any rooms where fuel is burned.

8. Write up a maintenance plan

Now you own your first property, you’re responsible for ongoing repairs and maintenance to keep it in good condition.

So, to keep you on track, it can be a good idea to come up with a planned maintenance schedule.

Add dates to your diary to complete certain tasks, or book professional trades.

Some of the maintenance jobs you may have to complete include:

  • Jet washing or cleaning down pathways and patios
  • Painting and maintaining window frames and doors
  • Clearing and cleaning out guttering and downpipes
  • An annual boiler service
  • Bleeding and maintaining radiators

9. File your documents away

Buying your first property means you’ll have a lot of important documents relating to your ownership and your mortgage.

As you’ll need these documents in the future, make sure they’ll filed away in an organised way so you can lay your hands on them when needed.

You could also scan your documents and save them to the cloud – meaning you’ll be able to access anything you need from your phone as soon as you need it.

10. Start saving a property fighting fund

It can sometimes seem like the costs never end when you own your own home.

Whether it’s a major maintenance issue that needs fixing, or you need more space and want to extend, it can really pay to start building up a fighting fund from day one.

Having a pot of money available for emergencies, such as a boiler breakdown, can help with your cashflow when you’re a homeowner, so try to put aside a small percentage of your wages each month to cover those kinds of scenario.

11. Make a list of things to buy for your first home

One of the most exciting parts of homeownership is being able to kit out your new property with everything you need.

However, before splashing the cash, spend a few weeks simply living in your new home with what you have.

You’ll then be clearer on what you actually need and the items that are more nice-to-haves.

Draw up a list and budget for the items you want to buy and then make sure you shop around.

Buying certain items at certain times of year can also save you money.

For example, tech items like TVs and music devices will almost certainly be cheaper in November around Black Friday.

And homewares, such as cushions, towels and rugs, may be less expensive just after Christmas during the January sales.

Further reading…

Your ultimate moving house checklist

Things you’ll need to remember when you move home

The real cost of moving house

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