10.You Now Own a Home, What’s Next?
Congratulations on your new home! Now that you’ve successfully navigated through the world of purchasing a new home, you’ll need to store and retain for easy access all of the information you were provided during the purchase and the closing as well as other documentation important to your life in your new home.
Important Documents to Store Checklist
Some of the data and documents you need to securely store and have quick to access are:
- 4-Point Inspection
- Animal Liability Insurance
- County Property Report
- Disaster Preparedness Guide
- Elevation Certificate
- Flood Insurance Policy
- Flood Map FEMA
- Homeowner Insurance
- Homeowner Insurance Policy
- Limited Liability Insurance
- Photographs: Insurance
- Receipts: Insurance
- Sinkhole Insurance
- Site Survey
- Title Insurance
- Wind Mitigation Report
let’s see how DomiDocs can help! Partnering with DomiDocs will enable you to securely store your home’s important legal documents, schedule regular home maintenance with reminders, and keep an ongoing list of reliable contractors handy. Check out the Document Bundle features of DomiDocs where it’s easy to catalog all of your important household documents for yourself, insurance agents, prospective buyers and more.
The Importance of Staying Organized with Homeownership
It’s estimated that 1 in 4 Americans have lost or misplaced homeowner documents, and 40% of Americans can’t find a specific document when needed.
Secure online storage is today’s standard when it comes to disaster proofing your household documents. DomiDocs will take you into the digital-first generation with its comprehensive and secure cloud-based document management software system where you’ll have immediate 24/7 access to your vital household documents.
You’ll have peace of mind in knowing your documents are organized, ready to go, and more importantly safe. You can retrieve all of your information at your fingertips no matter your current circumstances or location. Instead, you can be present, less stressed, and focused on your family’s immediate needs, which can include food, shelter, and safety basics. This simple planning step can help speed up the overall recovery process for everyone involved.
Plus, this digital safe deposit box of information will be accessible throughout your property-owning years. You can update documents in real-time with a few simple clicks, and store all of your manuals and warranties for quick access.
Staying Organized Checklist
Whether you choose to remain in your home for a lifetime or sell at some time in the future, your home is your biggest investment so it’s important to maintain it to the best of your ability. Here’s what you need to do as a homeowner:
- Consistent monitoring of your home for structural or water damage
- Emergency repairs as necessary
- Have a disaster preparedness plan in place.
- Keep on top of household expenses, and utility payments
- Keep on top of interior and exterior maintenance, including landscaping necessities
- Know when your property insurance and taxes are due
- Know when your warranties may expire
- Regularly inspect the plumbing, electrical, heating and cooling systems
- Schedule regular seasonal maintenance for yourself or a service provider
Helpful Tips for Successful Homeownership
Take Advantage Of The Government Renewable Energy Tax Credit Program. You can earn a tax credit of up to 30% (depending on when the service was placed in your home) for purchasing items such as geothermal heat pumps, small wind turbines, solar energy systems or fuel cells for your home. The current renewable energy tax credit program expires on December 31. 2021. Before purchasing any such items, be sure to check with a tax professional to determine whether you can take advantage of these tax credits.
Seek Professional Tax Advice, At Least Once. Experts suggest having your taxes professionally done for at least the first year of your new homeownership as “homeownership significantly changes most people’s tax situations and the deductions they are eligible to claim.” An accountant will ensure your tax return is completed correctly while maximizing any potential for a refund. If you choose to do your own tax returns after the first year, you’ll then have an example to follow for the future.
Stay Organized. Utilize the notes feature of DomiDocs to keep track of whatever may arise within your homeownership such as a to buy or a to-do list. You can also upload your home improvement receipts as having documented proof of upgrades and renovations will help to increase your home’s value if you decide to sell in the future
How to Take Care of Your Home in the Right Way
As a new homeowner, you’ll no doubt feel pride in taking care of your new home. This includes everything from clearing the daily clutter to undertaking regular maintenance. It’s easy to set a routine within DomiDocs where you’ll be reminded of monthly and annual maintenance tasks, property tax and insurance due dates, expiring warranties and more.
Considering a Renovation? If you intend to take on a major renovation on your home such as adding a deck or a garage, check to see what building permits you’ll require well in advance of starting the project. Upload your receipts and permits into DomiDocs to keep everything readily accessible.
Do It Yourself Or Contract It Out Home Repairs? If you’re faced with an unexpected home repair, it pays to know your limitations as a handyman. Even with the best of intentions and research, it’s easy for a seemingly simple project to go sideways. If that’s the case, swallow your pride and call in a pro to finish the job so it’s done right. How much will that cost? Here’s an estimated cost of what you can expect to pay when outsourcing:
- Arborist $150/hour
- Bathroom re-caulking $50/hour
- Buying a cord of split and seasoned wood $120 – $400
- Checking and fixing door locks $96 – $210
- Chimney cleaning $100 to $250
- Cleaning gutters/downspouts $85 – $300
- Cleaning of decks and patios $551 – $1,209
- Cleaning out the dryer vent $95 – $163
- Closing your pool for winter $150 – $300 (more if the pool needs to be drained for the winter)
- Concrete sidewalk repair $904 – $3,150
- De-icing of walkways $52 – $183
- General gardening/lawn care $50 – $223 per visit
- Gutter cleaning $85 – $300
- House cleaning from top to bottom $200 – $300
- Leaf removal $50 – $233
- Painters $1,683 – $3,919 depending on what’s being painted
- Pest control $83 – $214
- Planting perennials $325 – $5,000+ depending on your requirements
- Prepping your lawn for summer $136 variable on requirements
- Prepping your pool for summer $300 – $600
- Sealing of sidewalk and driveway cracks $904 – $3,150
- Sealing up the house (weather-stripping/caulking/installing storm windows) $169 – $523
- Sump pump inspection $117 – $235
Think Like A Future Buyer. While it may seem strange to think of, think like the potential future buyer of your home. Will they notice those drywall imperfections? Will they want to see receipts to show what you really paid for those upgraded kitchen cabinets? If you proceed to care for your home as if you’re going to sell, it shifts the way you’ll think about the entire homeowner process in general. You’ll be more apt to keep on top of things while knowing the upkeep of your home today will provide the best value tomorrow.
Helpful Tips Checklist
- Conduct regular home maintenance
- Have your taxes professionally done
- Renewable energy tax credit program
- Think like a potential future buyer of your home
- Upload all home improvement receipts and keep notes in DomiDocs
Home Safety Tips Checklist
How to Keep Your Family Safe
Everyday Safety. Keeping your family safe at home starts with day-to-day rules for everyone to follow within the household. This can include things like never unlocking or opening the front door without knowing who it is first, to never leaving items of value strewn about on the front lawn.
Fire Safety. Hold a regular fire drill so you and your family know how to safely leave the home in case of an emergency. If you have a multi-level house and there are bedrooms on the upper floors, consider purchasing emergency rope ladders to keep in each closet. Establish an emergency family gathering place outside of your home. It could be across the street or at neighbors.
The American Red Cross reports that home fires are 90% of the disasters they respond to. Establishing an out-of-home meeting place and regularly practiced fire escape plan are vital to keeping you and your family safe.
Install a Smart Home Device. A video doorbell or a complete home security system will provide additional peace of mind for both you and your family. Be sure to utilize the stickers provided by the alarm, as these seemingly simple signs will help to deter any potential burglars. Wireless door/window sensors can easily be installed and controlled through your smartphone; if any activity is detected, the app will alert you by text message. Not sure if you locked the garage door? The app can do that for you as well.
Are You Going On Vacation? If you won’t be occupying your home for a period of time, it’s important to establish a plan so it appears you’re still at home. This can include having a neighbor pick up your mail and water your plants, to setting timers for lights in different rooms throughout your house.
Home Safety Maintenance Tips
- Install a home security system or exterior motion detectors
- Patio doors can easily be wiggled and jiggled to obtain entrance. Secure yours by inserting a metal rod or piece of wood cut to fit inside the door track of the bottom slide
- Keeping physical copies of your important household documents in a safe is old school. For better security, upload them to the DomiDocs secure, cloud-based platform
- Always keep the garage door closed and the exterior doors locked at all times
- If you’ll be away, create the illusion that you’re still home: stop your mail delivery, have a neighbor put out the garbage, set a time so your lights come on and go off regularly
- Don’t hide a spare house key under a plant, just don’t. If you really need to do so, leave an extra key with a trusted neighbor or friend nearby
- Ensure you have a non-expired fire extinguisher in the kitchen, garage, and on each floor of your house
- Keep a first aid kit on hand
- Falls are a particularly alarming source of potential injury in a home. A window screen is not a barrier and won’t prevent someone from falling through an open window; never allow your kids to push or place weight on a window screen – don’t place furniture near the windows to allow easier access for a child. Here are some alarming statistics from Stanford Children’s Health:
Fall Statistics: The National SAFE KIDS Campaign:
- It’s estimated over 2.2 million kids ages 14 and under are treated yearly in the ER for fall-related injuries
- Falls kill an average of 100 children ages 14 and under annually
- Over half of fall-related injuries in kids occur with ages 4 and under
- Approximately 12 kids ages 10 and under die yearly from falling windows
- An estimated 4,000 children ages 10 and under require ER treatment annually for window fall-related injuries
- Infants are more likely to fall from baby walkers, furniture, and stairs
- Toddlers are most likely to fall from playground equipment and windows
Home Safety Checklist
- Install a smart home device or a security system
- Check to ensure locks on your patio doors, garage door and windows are in working order
- Leave a spare key with someone you trust.
- Ensure your house number is unobstructed.
- Establish a vacant home plan if you’ll be away.
- Change the batteries in your radon gas, carbon monoxide, and smoke detectors.
- Check the expiration dates of your fire extinguishers; at minimum, you should have one in the kitchen, garage, on each floor of your home.
- Conduct a regular fire drill.
- Upload your important household documents into the DomiDocs secure, cloud-based platform