Congratulations—you’re a new homeowner! Buying a home can be a complicated process filled with excitement and a lot of paperwork. The process continues even after you leave the home closing. Our post-closing checklist includes several crucial steps for future success.

Did You Forward Your Mail?

After closing, one of the first things you need to do is forward your mail. mail forwarding ensures you continue receiving important documents. When possible, contact services such as your bank, employer, and subscriptions to notify them of your new address.

Have You Transferred the Electricity, Water, Cable, and Garbage?

Ensure all utilities are available for your move-in date by transferring your service. Here are a few things to remember for each service:

  • Electricity and Water: Contact each of the local utility providers to set up or transfer your accounts. Make sure the services are active for your move-in date to avoid downtime.
  • Garbage and Recycling: Contact your municipality or private garbage collection service to establish service. Confirm the schedule for garbage and recycling pickup.
  • Cable and Internet: Reach out to your providers to transfer your service address. Now is a good time to consider changing providers if you are wanting to do so.

Will You Change the Locks?

Prepare ahead to change the locks on your new home. You never know who has keys to the existing doors, so this is a vital security step. For peace of mind, consider replacing the locks on all your doors, or rekeying the locks.

What Do I Need for Taxes?

When you become a homeowner, you receive several tax benefits. You will receive a closing disclosure at the time of closing on your new home. Here are some key documents to have available at tax time:

  • Closing Disclosure: This document provides a detailed account of the funds involved in the closing. This is essential for calculating property taxes, mortgage interest deductions, and other expenses.
  • Mortgage Interest Statement (Form 1098): Your lender will send this form, which details the interest paid on your mortgage. This amount is usually deductible on your tax return.
  • Property Tax Records: Keep track of your property tax payments, as these are often deductible.
  • Home Improvement Receipts: Make sure to save your receipts from home improvement costs. This can be a potential tax deduction.

Will I Get My Abstract?

The title abstract is a comprehensive summary of the property’s history. This document includes information such as previous owners, liens, and other valuable property information. You may or may not receive the Abstract at the time of closing. If you do not have your abstract, the local abstract company may be holding it for safekeeping.

If you do have a copy of your abstract, make sure to keep it in a safe place. The abstract is necessary to sell your home in the future.

Do I Need to Update My Driver’s License?

You do need to update your license after moving, as this is a legal requirement. Iowa state requires that you update your address within 30 days of moving. You can follow this link for more information on updating your address with Iowa DMV. Don’t forget to update your vehicle registration and insurance as well.

Do I Pay My Tax and Insurance Bills?

After you close on your new home, keep on top of your property and homeowners tax payments. Check your mortgage agreement for specifics. In some cases, your mortgage company may take these payments out with your monthly mortgage payment through an escrow account. If not, make sure to make these payments directly.

Is It Real Mail, or Is It Spam?

After closing and updating your address, you may receive a flood of mail. How do you tell if it’s something important or solicitations? Make sure to check your mail carefully; here are some ways to differ real mail from junk mail:

  • Important Mail: Typically includes documents from your lender, insurance company, utility providers, and government agencies. Look for official logos and contact information you recognize.
  • Spam/Solicitations: Often come in the form of marketing materials, extended warranty offers, or services you didn’t request. These may look official but usually lack detailed contact information or have fine print indicating their advertisements.

What is a 1098-INT Statement?

The 1098-INT statement is a mortgage interest statement provided to you by your lender. This form details the amount of interest you have paid into the home over the last year. Oftentimes, the interest paid on a mortgage is tax deductible. Your lender requires you to send out the form no later than January 31 of every year.

Closing on a new home is an exciting venture, as it’s just the beginning of your homeownership journey. Download our post-closing checklist to manage the several tasks that come with owning a home. From forwarding your mail and utilities to understanding important tax documents. Set yourself up for a smooth transition by staying organized and being proactive.