There are a number of changes that we recommend you make to your new home, once you have closed and you are the new legal owner. Some of these things are for your safety and security; others are for the longevity of your systems; and finally, a couple are to make this property truly feel like home.
Things We Think Are Must-Have Security Measures
- Rekey all of your door locks. You just never know who still has a key to your new home — the previous owner’s friends and family, housecleaner, neighbor, dog-walker, etc. Keys could be floating around in the hands of strangers. Better to be safe than sorry and have a locksmith rekey the existing locks on all of your exterior doors. This is a MUST for all buyers. Our recommended locksmith is Unlockit Locksmith and Security (770-441-0466). They can rekey all of the exterior locks so you only have one key which opens all of your exterior doors. We highly recommend having this done the day you move in or the day after to be safe.
- Install an alarm system. There are so many options these days for alarm systems and monitoring companies. We suggest shopping around to find the best company and system for you. Regardless of which you choose, we strongly recommend having a security system if you’re buying a single family house or a condo below ground, on the first floor or one which has an exterior staircase that people could climb up to get to your unit. It can take a week or more to get an appointment, so we recommend calling ahead and setting up an appointment for the day of or the day after closing. Remember, you’re most likely to get broken into the first week you’re in a new home. Thieves look for people moving in as they know the are generally easier to burglarize as they don’t have many safety features set up yet.Some security systems these days will come with great features, such as the ability to operate the system and exterior door locks via an app on your Smartphone and outdoor cameras and doorbell cameras. We love these options, personally, but they may not be right for everyone. Here’s a great article on how to choose the security system that is right for you.
- Put a peep hole in your front door if it doesn’t already have one. This isn’t hard to do and can normally be installed by a handyman. If you live in a condo or townhouse and the door does not have a peep hole, you may need to reach out to your HOA before installing one yourself.
- If you have a sliding glass door, buy a thick wooden dowel and keep it in the door track on the floor when the door isn’t open. We also recommend adding a jimmy plate and an auxiliary lock to any patio doors.
- If you’re buying a single family home, consider adding a dusk to dawn light over all exterior doors and consider adding motion detector(s) on the gangway or garage area. Just search for “dusk to dawn lights” at Home Depot, Lowe’s, or your favorite local home improvement store. If you’re buying in a condo building, ask the HOA to add these items if they aren’t already in place in the building.
- If you are buying a single family home with a garage and the garage has a window, consider putting a curtain or blinds over the window or change the window to frosted or glass block so potential burglars can’t see inside your garage.
- Reset any smart home devices. If your new home came with any smart home devices, such as a Nest Thermostat or a Ring doorbell (just to name a couple), you should reset those devices to their factory settings immediately upon moving in.
We strongly urge you to consider doing the above items as soon as you move in. Criminals are known to watch new people moving in to see what kinds of valuables you’re bringing into the home such as TVs, computers, etc. and then rob you shortly after moving in. It’s definitely better to be safe than sorry.
We also want to make sure you feel secure virtually — you can read more about that in Step 31.
Other Things To Do Right After Closing:
- Change the air and furnace filters. Even if the previous owners were meticulous about their HVAC maintenance, new filters will ensure that the system runs more efficiently for you. You may also want to consider setting up a regular annual or semi-annual HVAC servicing contract with a local company, which may help to prolong the life of the system (and may come with discounts on other services and repairs).
- Change the water filter in the refrigerator. Get the cleanest and best tasting drinking water by changing the water filter when you move in and regularly after that, per the manufacturer’s instructions. (And for good measure, also consider dumping the ice from the ice maker and starting fresh with a new batch!)
- Change the batteries in the smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Experts say you should change these batteries every 6 months – the best way to remember is to change them when you change your clocks. Change them upon move-in, no matter the time of year, to make sure they are fully charged for your safety. If you are installing a Smart Alarm System (one that you can monitor and control from an app on your Smartphone, you may consider changing out the smoke and carbon monoxide detectors to the same brand, so that you can monitor these from your phone, as well).
ONE LAST THING: Change a room color.
This isn’t for safety, of course, but it is something that we recommend you plan to do, right away. Why? Nothing makes a house feel more like your own than one comfy, cozy room that feels like you.
Pick the room you’ll be spending the most time in, your go-to room for relaxation, or just the room that needs it the most. A new color — just a quick coat of paint — will make the house feel like it’s all yours.
Have questions? Call us at 404-994-2181 or email us at Maura(at)BuySellLiveAtlanta(dot)com