You've done it! You've found the home of your dreams, and you can do whatever you want to with it. No more landlords - you make the decisions.

Of course, you want to be a homeowner with good habits, so that you get the best return on investment for all the years you live there. And the minute you move in is the time to start.

Here's a number of items you should take care of for when you move into your home.

Security & Safety

Make sure you take care of these items right away:

  • Change locks. Spares could be floating around anywhere.
  • Hide an extra key in a lockbox. Thieves look under flower pots.
  • Reset the key codes for garage doors, gates, etc. You never know who the former owners gave the code to.
  • Test fire and carbon monoxide detectors. The former owners may have tested them, but maybe not.
  • Check the temperature on your water heater to make sure the water isn't too hot. Manufacturers tend to set them high. 120 degrees is ideal.
  • Make sure the bulbs are good in all exterior lights.
  • Put a fire extinguisher in the kitchen and each additional floor.

Maintenance Planning

Set reminders in your calendar to take care of these basic maintenance tasks:

  • Clean out the dryer hose and vent yearly. Clogged hoses can lead to fires.
  • Change your HVAC filters at least once a season.
  • Schedule HVAC maintenance for spring and fall.
  • Clean your fridge coils at least once a year. Newer refrigerators have insulated coils, so they don't need cleaning.
  • Drain your water heater once a year.
  • Clean your gutters at least twice a year.
  • And if all items on your inspection report were not addressed, make a plan to fix them — before they become bigger and more expensive repairs.

Emergency Preparedness

An emergency is not the time to figure out how to handle an emergency. Plan now.

  • Locate the main water shut-off valve. Because busted pipes happen to almost every homeowner at least once.
  • Find the circuit box and label all circuit breakers.
  • Find the gas shut-off valve if you have gas.
  • Test the sump pump if you have one. Especially before the rainy season starts.
  • List emergency contacts:
    • Your utility companies
    • Your insurance agent
    • Plumber
    • Electrician

Assemble an emergency supply kit. Some key items are:

  • Flashlights and batteries
  • Non-perishable food and water
  • Blankets and warm clothing
  • A radio, TV, or cell phone with backup batteries

Home & Mortgage Documents

Just in case there's a dispute with your lender or neighbors, and to keep in mind due dates, make sure to keep these documents handy:

  • Lender contact information
  • Property survey
  • Inspection report
  • Final closing documents
  • Insurance documents

Set mortgage and other bills to auto-pay so you’re never late.

Check back on our blog twice a week for more real estate news, ideas, and local events in Austin and Lake Travis. You can search for the perfect home on our website using our powerful home search tools. You can also get free listing alerts of homes as they hit the market at WelcomeToLakeTravis.com. And you can always feel free to call us at 512-657-4467‚Äč to talk to an experienced agent today.