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Buying A Home: 9 Things You’ll Do Before You Move-In

By Dan Green

After writing a contract on a home, you’ll wait up to two months to move in. Use your time effectively. Have the home inspected. Get your internet, water, and electric in order. You’ll want to make a to-do list. There’s a lot to get done.

Buying A House: While Your Home Is Under Contract

Moving into a home requires time management skills. There are tasks to accomplish. Your To-Do List can get lengthy.

Have a plan to get things handled.

Here’s what you’ll be doing while you wait to get your keys.

1. Have the house inspected for defects and irreparable damage

Real estate contracts are iron-clad, but also include a series of “outs” meant to protect both the buyer and the seller.

The most common out is what’s known as the Home Inspection Clause .

The Home Inspection Clause states that, if the home is found to have massive defects which the seller cannot or will not repair, the buyer is allowed to cancel the home contract and walk away without penalty.

Commission a home inspection as soon as your home purchase contract is signed.

A home inspection is a top-to-bottom home examination, performed by a state-licensed home inspector. Inspections take about a half-day to complete and cost approximately $400.

They’re worth every penny.

A thorough home inspection will uncover cracks in a home’s foundation, which could cost you tens of thousands of dollars to repair. Or, it could find a massive mold infestation that would make your home unlivable.

It’s common for sellers to conduct their own home inspection before putting a home for sale, but not always. This is why you should always take advantage of your contract’s Home Inspection Clause.

It’s a little bit of money for a lot of peace of mind.

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2. Hire a moving company

When you’re under contract to buy a house, hire a moving company immediately.

You’re not going to move yourself in, and moving trucks and professional movers are in short supply. Make your reservation before they book up. It pays to be proactive.

Moving companies are especially busy on Fridays and at the end of each month. Expect to pay more to move-in during these times. Tuesdays and Wednesdays mid-month are usually cheapest.

For in-town moves, a local moving company is acceptable.

For out-of-state moves, shop around and contract with a respected national brand. Make sure you feel safe.

You’ll spend alone time with your movers, and your movers will spend time with your life’s most important possessions. Hire movers you can trust.

3. Get with your mortgage lender to finalize your monthly payment

Until now, you’ve been pre-approved to buy a home. It’s time to get your mortgage actually approved.

Getting a mortgage approval requires less effort anymore.

Most lenders accept information digitally and paperwork requirements are fewer as compared to what they used to be.

Your lender will ask for proof that you’re earning income, and will want to know that you have at least some money in savings. You’ll also be asked about your down payment , so your lender can determine the size of your loan.

You don’t have to make a downpayment to buy a house.

4. Get insurance to protect your house from damage

As a homeowner with a mortgage, you’re lawfully required to have your home insured against massive damage or loss.

Insurance of this type is called homeowners insurance .

Homeowners insurance, which is sometimes called hazard insurance, pays for repairs or a complete rebuilding of home in case it’s ever damaged or destroyed by fire, weather, or something else.

Homeowners insurance is typically paid in 12 monthly installments. You can keep your costs down by doing any of the following with your house:

Homeowners insurance should be shopped around because some companies charge a lot, and some companies only charge a little.

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5. Pre-order your home security system

Your next step in buying a home is to select a home security system.

A home security system will protect your home from invasion; and protect the lives of people (and pets) that matter to you.

You’ll also be protected from robbery.

Today’s home security systems are inexpensive to install and most are do-it-yourself. Technical skills aren’t required, there’s nothing to hammer, and sensors attach with removable sticky strips.

In 30 minutes, your home security system can be completely installed and ready to go, no technician required.

You can also extend your home security system to include smoke detectors, water freezing sensors, and carbon monoxide alarms.

Your home doesn’t even need a landline.

Click to order your home security system online.

6. Set up your TV, internet, electric, etc

Several weeks before moving in to your new home, get your utilities in order.

Utilities are services required to live in a home.

Utilities include electricity, sewer and water, natural gas, telephone, and trash collection. It may also include telephone, cable, and internet.

When you move into a new home, utilities are usually “turned off” by default. You’ll want to have them turned on and waiting for you on move-in day.

Your list of utilities may include any or all of the following:

  1. Water
  2. Natural Gas
  3. Electricity
  4. Sewer
  5. Cable TV or Satellite TV
  6. Internet
  7. Garbage Collection and Recycling
  8. Telephone

To turn on utilities for your new home, visit the websites of your new home’s community providers; or, use an online utility setup service to save yourself time.

7. Get your lawn care, gutter cleaning, and other services ready to go

Maintenance and upkeep is a priority when you own a home. Some tasks you’ll manage on your own. Others will require a specialist.

Your home’s heating and cooling system, for example, should be examined every six months; and, your home’s water heater should be checked once each year.

These are jobs for trained professionals.

Similarly, gutters on your roof should be cleaned regularly to keep them from clogging; and, windows should be washed at least every four months.

There are other jobs you may prefer to farm out, too:

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8. Wait, wait, wait as everyone works for you

Buying a home takes time. A lot of people do work on your behalf and they’re often very busy.

It can feel like forever while you wait to move in to your new home. All you can do is wait.

If you ever feel like you’re out of the loop, contact your real estate agent or mortgage lender for an update. They’ll be happy to catch you up.

While you’re waiting, get your homeowners insurance in place, order your alarm system, and make plans to have your maintenance team in place.

9. Sign your paperwork and get your keys

Signing the paperwork will be your last step in buying a home. This is commonly known as your closing .

You won’t know when or where to go for your closing until about a week in advance. At that time, your real estate agent will tell you at what time and location to be.

You will have two things with you at closing:

  1. Photo identification
  2. A cashiers check for your down payment and other monies due

You may be handed a pen and a stack of paperwork to sign; or, you may be presented with a computer screen for electronic signatures.

Closings rarely take more than an hour.

Once a closing is complete, you are handed the keys to your new home. Your purchase of a home is complete.

More From: How To Buy A House

The details of exactly how you buy a house will be unique to your circumstances. How you live, where you live, and what’s important to you will affect the path you take.

Everyone’s path to homeownership, though, passes the same major milestones. For as much as you do differently, you’ll do a lot of things the same.

Read more from our series on How To Buy A Home:

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Written by Dan Green

Dan Green is a mortgage lending expert and the founder of Growella. Prior to Growella, Dan was a six-time, top-producing loan officer; and, ranked repeatedly among the top 1% of loan officers nationwide. Dan's home buying expertise has been in print and on TV with The Wall Street Journal, NPR, Forbes, CNBC, and others.

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