Buying a home is obviously a BIG investment.  There are factors you've been considering for months: location, amenities, neighbors, schools, and more.  Once the papers have been signed, it's easy to relax and forget key chores every homebuyer should do once they move into their new home, but don't worry, here is a list of 8 important things you don't want to forget.   

1. Change the locks

You really don't know who else has keys to your place...when it comes to security, it’s always a good idea to make sure you’re the only one with keys, and the only way to really be sure is to get new locks. This is done by either re-keying or buying an entirely new lock set.  You can replace dead bolts yourself for around ten dollars.  Another option, becoming popular these days, is digital locks.  These open with a code and work with a home automation system (smart home).  So, you can live "key free" as well as lock or unlock your doors remotely.  

2. Look for leaks

Ok, so you've probably had a home inspection done before you bought the property, however, even if this report came back clean, theres no harm in double checking.  The risk is too great.  One way people are combating these water issues is with a set of sensors linked to their smart home system.  These sensors give you real time information for- if and when- a water leak develops.  This way you can be absolutely sure leaks have been taken care of, and if one occurs, you can handle it before a lot of damage can occur.   

*TIP: Here’s a neat trick: Check your water meter at the beginning and end of a two-hour window in which no water is being used in your house. If the reading is different, you have a leak.


3. Kick out the pests

 Pests are tricky.  You may not even know you have a pest problem. The previous homeowners may not have known about the issue, or maybe they simply "forgot" about the “friendly” squirrel living in the attic.  Well, there are a number of ways to get rid of these critters, some are more squeamish than others.  But, the easiest way is to hire a professional, which will run you usually costs about $100-$300, and there is a way to ensure these professionals don't miss anything; similarly to the water sensors, you can place motion sensors where suspected pests are, which will then alert your mobile device when motion is detected.  Now you know exactly where these pests have been hiding and can call a pest control company and point them right to where the problem exists.  

4. Inspect your Furnace / AC

Get familiar with your new HVAC system as soon as possible. Make sure to take a close look at the duct work around your furnace for broken or torn ducts and excessive taping.  Also, stand near the furnace while it’s running- the air should move through the system not into the room.  

Digital thermostats are also a great investment.  Especially ones you can control with your smart phone or tablet.  They give you the ability to set your temperatures remotely... say if you're on vacation and it is a super hot day back home.  

5. Update your Lighting

Everyone has their own unique lighting preferences.  I like being able to change the brightness of lights in each particular room, so I like the dimmable ones. Once you've lived in the house for a couple weeks, you start to get a feel for your preferences in this particular space.  Make it YOUR home.  And yes, you guessed it, you can also set these up digitally and control them from your phone! 

6. Get to know your Circuit Breaker 

It's always a good idea to figure out what fuses control which room and then label them accordingly.  It will take two people: One to flip the switch and and yell "How about now?" and the other to stand in the different rooms and yell back "yeah, that one!".  All kidding aside, it's good to figure out your new circuit breaker before you may really need it. If you need some assistance, your local hardware store is usually a good source for some of the more basic questions.

7. Get to know the Main Water Valve 

You want to make sure you can turn this valve off incase of an emergency; tornado or plumbing emergencies are common.  Another smart idea is to turn this valve off when you leave town.  You don't want to come home from vacation to find a pool of water in the basement.  It could be located outside or inside the home; find it and make sure you can turn it off.  Then test it by going inside and turning on the faucet.  

8. Steam Clean your Carpets

If you really want to get off to a fresh start, steam clean your carpets before you move any of the furniture in. You can hire a professional for around $50. a room or you can rent a steam cleaners and do it yourself.  Either way, you won't regret it.