In this article I'll be sharing tips for buyers following closing on real estate.
Initiate Mail Forwarding & More Mail Tips
You may want to initiate mail forwarding at this time in case you haven't done it already.
Instructions & information for varied mail situations:
1. Cluster Boxes (multiple mailboxes in your neighborhood owned by USPS instead of owned by the HOA)
You will need to bring a few forms of ID/ paperwork to USPS to prove your address.
Closing papers are 1 option.
"Homeowners need to bring identification with them to the USPS such as
a) a government--issued picture ID card (e.g. your driver’s license with street address referenced to the mail box) or b) pieces of official mail, such as 1) current utility bill plus (2) a vehicle registration with the Homeowner’s name and address on them."
2. Installation Guidelines for mailboxes
3. “If privately owned or maintained by a landlord, apartment complex, condo association or other housing group, then that management is responsible for maintaining the box including keys.”
4. PO Box
Sign(s) at the Property
The listing firm or their sign company should be by the house to pick up the sign within 1 week after closing. If it's not up by then, please let me know so that I can alert the listing agent.
Keeping in Touch with Your Buyer's Agent
I like to keep in touch with my former clients, and there are a few ways that I like to do that. 1. I like to connect with others on social media, as I have enjoyed for over 15 years.
Here are my personal profiles where I'd love to connect if you are a member of them:
A. Facebook (I am the most active here & I also use Facebook for event invitations for events that I host at times)
If You Don't Have a Home Inspection
If you didn't perform a home inspection, & didn't receive a home inspection from any prior buyers, it's a good idea to get one. Agents, Adam Garrett included, aren't typically also licensed as home inspectors, and while Adam can think of at least one exception where he pointed out more physical negatives than the home inspector did, a home inspector will typically point out more substantive defects of a home than your agent will. It's not unusual for known defects to ideally be addressed sooner rather than later.
If You Have a Home Inspection
I recommend going through the inspection & seeing what has urgency to be repaired/replaced based on additional damage that could occur if something fails or if it's a safety hazard. Some buyers like to take a preemptive approach at replacement of something older, especially for systems, plumbing, & electrical that are beyond their typical lifespan where not replacing something could lead to damage beyond the system. For instance, 1 buyer I worked with, where the 25 year old water heater in the attic wasn't installed properly, & was connected by 1st generation PEX, had their PEX leak within 1 year of closing. While I had shared about home warranties including suggestions prior to closing, they didn't have one in place. A leak caused $20,000 in damage. Thankfully it was covered by insurance, but it may have increased their rates as claims often do, especially big ones, just like with many other forms of insurance. Insurance won't typically cover a hot water heater replacement, but in this case they were assisted by insurance. Because the water heater was in the attic, the labor alone was $1800, and the total cost of water heater replacement was $3k.
The home inspector isn't an expert in everything, so the home inspection may recommend that you get another expert opinion on something, and especially if it poses a significant risk, it's typically a good idea to do so.
With any maintenance items or other items that you don't address immediately, be sure to keep careful watch as time goes by.
If You Have a Home Inspection & Requested Repairs of the Seller
Check the home inspection and if you had a repair request list, compare it to the repair request list (in Hampton Roads, the Property Inspection Contingency Removal Addendum) to be familiar with anything that wasn't covered by the repair request.
Ongoing Property Maintenance
There are some items that are best for property owners to maintain themselves, while other items may not be worth the time for owners to learn about (if they're not already familiar) & do themselves, especially if paying someone else to do the job would be a low amount per hour, there are certain valuable guarantees provided by that company in the event of issues, and the primary income of the owner is a high amount per hour. Even if you hire out many service contracts, it's still a good idea to a check yourself throughout your home's interior & exterior once every Fall & once every Spring for issues. As time goes by, carefully inspect the interior and exterior of your home periodically, looking out for moisture issues that start small and grow. Do careful inspections on items soon before warranty expiration, whether for home warranty, warranty on any new appliances, etc.
For more details on home maintenance, go to my article on the subject here.
Connect with Others in Your Community
You might want to consider joining an online community for your neighborhood, such as on Nextdoor, local Facebook groups that do activities together, clubs, churches (Google Maps are a great place to look & I have some recommendations if you'd like), & via Meetup groups, especially if you're new in town.
Finding Things To Do
I created an article here on how to find things to do no matter your location in the US as well as listing some of the top things to do according to TripAdvisor in SE VA divided by SE VA region & city/county.
Cost Effective Improvements
The kinds of repairs, updates, and other changes that are ideal for a forever home are different than those for a renovation to sell, and those are different than a renovation to rent out. If you'd like any advice on any ideas that you have for things that you'd like to do to the home, just let me know. There are also a number of articles on the subject like this one.
Seasonally Sensitive Pictures If Thinking About Selling or Renting Out Your Property in the Future
Long before you are ready to rent out your property or sell, if thinking about selling or renting, it's best to time your photos (including on property & if applicable, area photos) according to the season, with some seasons being better than others for certain images. These include still photography from the ground, air, and your virtual tour since virtual tours (ideally Matterport, which I always use in my listings) best include exterior, not just interior like typical virtual tours.
Surveys Within 60 days of Closing If You Plan to Put Up a Fence, Add On, or Want Owner's Title Insurance Coverage to Include Encroachment
While land surveys are ideally done prior to closing, many buyers don't have that luxury in part due to competitive offer scenarios where they're trying to limit seller liability to make their offer more competitive. You can open up a can of worms with surveys after closing and there's a problem. That said, you can also save yourself in some cases from adverse possession. Especially if you see no sign of encroachment, and especially if you are planning on adding an addition, detached structure, or anything else close to the property line, it's best to get a survey within 60 days of closing and get that survey to your title company so that title insurance can include the survey.
Capitalize on Your Commute
Prepare to Say No to Those Who Send You Mail, Call You, & Come to Your Home Looking for Money or Looking for You To Sign Away on Something
It's very important to be able to say "no" to people, whether they show up at your doorstep, relentlessly send you mail, pound your phone with calls, or otherwise. There are people who don't care if you have a disability, don't care if you care for others with a disability, and simply want to take advantage of people no matter their situation. Once you purchase a home, that purchase is public record. Be wary that information like your name, your home address, other mailing address, your relatives, your number, etc. may be found online. People could call you posing as a police officer, government entity trying to "help" you with your mortgage but actually seeking to swindle you (article from FTC), & otherwise. Sometimes it may appear as though it is someone you trust, like your lender, but in the fine print they may state that they have no affiliation to your lender. They may use language like "warning" with a deadline or may use an envelope type that may make it seem official when it's really not. If you're ever in doubt, and you're my current or former client, please reach out to me before making a potentially disastrous decision.
Below are a few examples:
Should You Get Solar Panels for Your Home? For most, the answer is "no" in SE VA, due to factors like governmental subsidy/tax breaks, the cost of electricity here, our climate including cloud coverage & rainy days. Also, you typically don't get a dollar for dollar increase in sales price from an addition like solar panels, and they can even be a liability if you have a solar lease or solar loan going. Solar panels are best in SE VA when purchasing a home that you plan to live in for 25+ years where you have a brand new roof, no trees causing shade over the house now or any time in the next 25+ years, and high electric utilities costs even after making energy efficient improvements to your home via things like insulation additions & identifying & rectifying areas of exterior air intrusion.
For instance, a heading of my article on cash off market offers below is, "Just How Much Less Will Sellers Sell For According to Drexel University Research Lab? "less than half the value they would by using traditional methods.""
For more of the scams & bad ideas that target homeowners, there are a number of articles on the subject, such as this one from GetCarefull.com
If Thinking About Selling Your Property in the Future
I have many articles dedicated to sellers, and can personally help if you are looking to sell in the future. Here are some of those articles:
If Thinking About Renting Out Your Property in the Future
I have a number of related articles for owners looking to rent out their home:
While free for Adam's sellers listing with him, for Adam's real estate clients who have closed on a property with Adam & who wish to acquire virtual tours & aerials for property management (not for sale), Adam offers Matterport virtual tours for half of his typical competitive costs (Matterport, Aerials) for up to 3 properties per closing at that pricing (typical pricing if desiring more than 3 properties to be scanned per closing).
See the "Post Closing" section at the bottom of my Buyer's Guide