Buying Your First Home : Part 6

Before & After Moving Day

In the following sections, you’ll learn a little about before and after moving day. Of course, if you have any questions at all, feel free to call or email me. I’ll get back to you with an answer right away!

Before and After Moving into your New Home

Soon after closing you’ll move into your new home. Before you move in, you should check the house carefully to be sure that it is in move-in condition, and that the builder or seller has completed everything called for in the contract.

If you are buying a new house, you may make an agreement with the builder to move in before all outside work is completed. For example, the builder may not be able to complete the landscaping, driveway or walkways due to inclement weather. In such cases, however, it is important that you have a clear understanding in writing that any uncompleted work will be finished properly by a specified date or within a reasonable time thereafter. Call me to confirm that an early move-in is okay with our lender.

You should obtain copies of the manufacturer’s warranties on any mechanical or electrical equipment included in the home (heating and AC units, water heater, refrigerator, range, washing machine, dishwasher, etc.), together with contact information in case the equipment needs to be serviced. Follow any instructions that are supplied to you on how to use and maintain each piece of equipment properly.

In general, once you buy a single family residence in a non-homeowners association tract you will have to pay for future repairs and upkeep, such as painting, decorating and routine maintenance. However, when you buy a new home you will be given a warranty by the builder. You should carefully review this warranty so that you have a full understanding of what is, and more importantly, what isn’t covered and for how long.

If at all possible, you should get an agreement in writing as to what the builder is willing to do to correct defects. Many builders of new houses usually assume responsibility during the first month or two after you move in for certain items requiring repairs or adjustments. In all cases where you find flaws that need correction, you should notify the builder or product manufacturer and allow for a reasonable period of time for the company to make any needed corrections. You should expect friendly cooperation from the builder and in turn you should be friendly and polite about it as well. You should not ask for any work or repairs for which you are not entitled, as the builder will be less willing to work with you on other matters in the future. If you have legitimate items which need repairing or adjustment, and have contacted the builder but do not receive a response to your requests after several tries, you may need to contact an attorney that specializes in settlement of builder-buyer disputes.

If you buy a house which has been previously occupied, there is seldom any action you can take against the seller to have defects corrected unless the defects were agreed to be fixed in the purchase agreement or there has otherwise been egregious (knowing and deliberate) misrepresentation by the seller. That makes it even more important to be sure that the house is in proper condition before you buy. The same applies to fixtures included in the property, but don’t expect to win a dispute for repairs on older fixtures and appliances which may break as a result of normal wear after you move in. One of the smartest moves you can make to insure yourself against costly repairs by obtaining a Home Warranty Policy, available from nearly all homeowners insurance carriers. Policy costs vary by the amount and type of items covered, but at a minimum, you should make sure that your electrical, plumbing, heating and air conditioning units and other major appliances are covered.

It’s important that you make each mortgage payment on the date it is due. If you are unable to make a payment on he due date (or at least by the end of any “grace period”), get in touch with your lender immediately. In most cases, lenders are happy to work out an arrangement to overcome a short-term problem. Remember, though, any late payments of 30 days or more will most likely be reported to one or more major credit bureaus whether the lender makes an allowance for being late or not. Your credit can be vastly improved by having an excellent mortgage payment history, or very damaged by failing to do so.

Finally, be very, very careful about over-extending your unsecured credit after purchasing your home. Getting into too much unsecured debt as a homeowner can result in personal bankruptcy or even losing your home to foreclosure. Be smart and protect your investment by minimizing as much debt as possible and put the money you save into solid financial investments for your future.

Most likely after you move in, you’ll start receiving junk mail offers from all sorts of vendors of products and services, some of which could prove useful, most of which is not. Some of these offers are for credit cards, and the even more dangerous “automatic lines of credit”. Some of these credit lines carry interest rates as high as 30%!!

If you need a legitimate, low-rate home equity line or home improvement loan, give me a call. As always, feel free to call or emailme with any questions you may have.