Home Tips

The Complete Move-In Checklist

The Essential Set of Moving Tips

Moving to a new home is an exciting change, but the moving process itself can easily become somewhat hectic when not properly planned out. No matter how thrilled you are to be getting into a new place, you still have to maintain your clarity of thought long enough to actually transition into the new home successfully, and that will require some forethought.

There is a lot to think about as you are relocating, and many different tasks and responsibilities may try to cloud your mind. Therefore, having a list of the important activities to accomplish before, during, and after the move can be a big help to new homeowners, and Chris Doering Mortgage is here to provide that list. We want you have a seamless and simple moving experience, so we have compiled the necessary advice that will make that experience possible. As you are settling into your new home, secure a smooth adjustment by following the steps of Chris Doering Mortgage’s Move-In Checklist.

The Move-In Checklist

Before You Move In

  • Collect important documents
    Packing important documents in random boxes will not help you keep them close at hand for quick retrieval when necessary, and depending on the box you put them in, you may not see them again for a few weeks. Therefore, gather all of your important documents before you move and put them in a secure container that you can easily identify and can access whenever you need before, during, and after the move. These important documents may include moving van documents; real estate papers; closing documents; receipts recording moving expenses that may be tax deductible; and warranties and instructions for new appliances.
  • Update your address
    So that you don’t miss any important mail or delay bills in need of payment during the transition, update your address before you move by filing change of address forms with the post office. Remember to change your address on important items such as your driver’s license, voter registration, and credit cards, and notify your auto insurance company, your Internet and cable TV suppliers, the bank, and newspaper and magazine subscriptions as well. Finally, transfer utilities such as gas, water, electric, and phone to your new address, or choose new providers.
  • Review HOA rules
    No matter how you feel about homeowners associations, you should review the rules of the homeowners association you may be moving into so that you can determine what you can and cannot do in terms of renovations and decorations. These rules will also fill you in with need-to-know information such as trash and recycling schedules, which you should heed as soon as possible.
  • Change the locks and set up a security system
    As soon as the keys to your new home are in your hand, nullify them by getting the locks changed on all of the exterior doors. Whether you buy and install them yourself or have a locksmith handle it, you should get new locks installed immediately. This step should renew your peace of mind in light of the fact that realtors, maintenance folks, and previous owners may still have keys to your place, and it will enable you to take one more step towards making the house truly yours. Enhance your renewed peace of mind even further by equipping your new home with a security system if it does not otherwise have one.
  • Have the mechanical equipment cleaned and serviced
    As soon as you buy your new home, schedule to have routine cleaning and maintenance performed on the heating and cooling systems so that you can reduce the chance of encountering significant problems with this equipment when the seasons change.
  • Pest-proof your new home
    Ideally, you should have your new home sprayed for pests or set off a bug bomb before you and your family get there. Finishing this task early will allow you to avoid exposure to the harsh chemicals and keep the bugs out of your stuff as you are unpacking.
  • Deep clean your new home
    After you pest-proof your home, get your new place in pristine condition by deep cleaning it. Thoroughly wiping down the countertops, shelves, drawers, baseboards, windows, and floors will be much easier before rugs and furniture begin to occupy the space as well, and cleaning out the oven, refrigerator, and freezer will be a breeze before the food arrives. If you have the time to complete a deep cleaning of your home before you move in, save some money and get to know your new house better by doing it yourself, and if you do not have the time, hire a cleaning service to help you get every room spick and span before you unload the moving van.
  • Paint the walls and ceilings
    Getting a fresh coat of paint on all of the walls and ceilings in the home, if it needs this treatment, is a pretty time consuming job, so consider hiring professionals for this task as well. If the walls are slightly damaged with holes, cracks, or other defects, the surfaces will definitely need to be prepped before the new color goes up, so if you do not have the ability to accomplish this before your move-in date, then there is all the more reason to outsource this chore to the pros so that you can focus on more important parts of the move-in process. If every surface needs repainting and you are short on time, choose a neutral hue to cover all of the walls and then plan on repainting rooms in colors you prefer in the future.

As You Are Moving In

  • Install new switch plates and other devices
    If you are moving into an older home, you may see mismatched outlets, discolored cover plates, and rusty air vent covers throughout the home. To give the house a sense of uniformity and cleanliness, replace all of these items yourself if you can, and if any project involves working with electricity, contact the professionals.
  • Double-check repairs
    For freshly built or renovated homes, builders routinely conduct a final walk-through of the space, and this is time to note last minute details that need to be addressed. Your builder will probably take care of them before you move in, but be sure to determine who will be responsible for any open items. Things to look for include a burned out light bulb, paint that needs a touchup, or chipped electrical outlet covers.
  • Inspect your stuff
    After the moving truck has been unloaded, check your inventory list to confirm that everything has been delivered, and to ensure that everything makes it to its new place in the home, review the floor plan as well to figure out what goes where. Then, walk through each room of the house to check that your belongings made it safe and sound. Open boxes containing your most breakable items, such as china or glassware, to see if they survived the trip, and remember that if your breakables arrived in one piece, your other stuff is probably fine as well.
  • Organize as you unpack
    If you have not hired the movers to help you unpack, then resist the urge to try to unpack everything at once. Instead, locate the essentials and put those away, then unpack and organize the rest of your things as you need them. Essentials include towels, bed linens, toiletries, a few sets of clothes, necessary dishes, and the items the kids and pets need to feel settled as well.
  • Get closet organizers
    Before you pull out all of your stuff, survey the closet situation of the house and make a plan about where you will put certain things. To prepare your closets to provide maximum storage solutions, outfit them with closet organizers, and create additional storage options throughout the home by adding shelves, hooks, tubs, and baskets where needed. This step will help you guarantee that everything has a good place to live.
  • Get to know your home
    If you are moving into a new build or a home decked out with a lot of systems, get acquainted with the specifics of these features as soon as possible. Take a tour of your new build with the builder to discover the locations of the electrical circuit breakers, water cutoff valves, and furnace and air conditioning filters, and learn how to operate all new systems such as garage door openers, sprinkler systems, programmable thermostats, water softeners, appliances, home security, home automation, home theater, and more.
  • Get to know your neighborhood
    As you are learning about the inside of your home, learn about the outside as well by meeting your new neighbors, discovering the best places to get groceries and other necessities, and mapping out the major roads and best routes around your home.

After You Move In

  • Add window treatments
    The dual purpose of window treatments is something new homeowners will want to take advantage of as soon as possible: window treatments supply both desirable privacy and the finishing touch to your space. If you do not have the ability to put curtains or blinds up on all the windows right away, at least dress the windows that need it the most, such as those in bedrooms and bathrooms.
  • Prepare the beds
    Empower everyone to get a good night’s sleep and feel cozy in the new house by unpacking bed linens for every bed that your family will be using for now. Forgo making the guest beds until a later date if no friends are staying over, and focus instead on getting out the favorite blankets, sheets, and pillows that everyone needs to start enjoying their new bedrooms right away.
  • Throw a housewarming party
    Once you are feeling good about the condition of your new home, celebrate the success of your transition by throwing a housewarming party with friends, family, and neighbors. People might bring gifts to the party to help welcome you to the neighborhood, and you have a chance to meet new people and show off the beautiful space you have created.

The Move-In Mindset

As you are working through this major process and trying to keep your stuff and your sanity intact, remember why you are moving and the vision you have for your new life in this new house. As much as you can, try to fashion the home you always imagined, but don’t pressure yourself to race through every step. Instead, take the time to relax, be with your family, and celebrate even the smallest moving achievements. Chris Doering Mortgage is here to help you master moving with this Move-In Checklist, so to learn more about Chris Doering Mortgage and our services, contact our team today!

Get Organized to Reduce Stress and Home Buying Hassles

Organize Your Important Documents to Simplify the Home Buying Process

Buying a home is exciting, fun, significant, and stressful. In fact, the American Institute of Stress reports that taking on a mortgage is one of the top twenty most stressful things in life, and making a major change in your living situation is within the top thirty on the Holmes-Rahe Life Stress Inventory. When buying a home, there is obviously much to enjoy and look forward to in the process, but there are also a lot of tasks involved that will probably leave you worrying. Therefore, being as organized as possible can greatly reduce any annoying and unnecessary frustrations you may encounter.

If you cannot find an important document that you need in order to move on to the next step of buying a home, you not only could wind up extremely stressed, but you may not even be able to move on at all. In order to help you be super prepared for presenting every record that the home buying process requires, Chris Doering Mortgage recommends installing a simple and efficient system of arranging and taking care of your documents. Adhering to the following advice with all of your essential paperwork will not only help you avoid unhealthy stress levels, but it will also help you cut down on home buying hassles in general.

How to Organize Your Important Documents

  1. Gather and Group Your Documents

As soon as you can in the home buying process, you should collect every important document you have, or even every document you have. Search all throughout the house, bring papers home from the office, get stuff out of storage, and contact any family members who may be holding things for you. Examples of important documents include:

  • Birth and death certificates
  • Marriage licenses
  • Social security cards
  • Passports
  • Wills
  • Medical records
  • Real estate documents
  • Insurance policies
  • Automobile documents
  • Credit card documents
  • Investment documents
  • Loan documents
  • Banking records
  • Tax records
  • Transcripts and diplomas
  • Monthly bills and receipts
  • Warranties and manuals
  • Home maintenance receipts

When all of your documents are in one place, begin to sort them. To start, put them into piles based on their order of importance. Obviously, things like birth certificates and social security cards will always be a top priority, while tax records and transcripts may have a slightly shorter shelf life of importance. Therefore, group these documents accordingly, and trash whatever you can to eliminate clutter. How do you know what you can toss? This list holds some of the answers:

  • Bank statements: If you have not yet chosen to switch to paperless statements, then keep the hard copies of your bank statements for three years. For the future, consider going green by utilizing the practicality and expense of online banking in order to spare the environment and your home of excess paper.
  • Credit card statements: first, check the accuracy of these statements with your own records. Make sure that any large purchases are accounted for, and then make a copy of your statement so that you have proof of your payment. Then, especially if these documents have any identifying information on them, shred them rather than throwing them away in order to lessen your risk of identity theft.
  • Tax returns: In general, you should keep tax documents for seven years, but depending on the taxed activity they display, you may want to keep them for longer.
  1. Find a Simple Filing System for Your Documents

Once you have separated your documents into groups based on importance, further systemize these groups according to some order, whether alphabetical, chronological, or whatever makes the most sense to your family. To keep your smaller and larger groups together but still distinct, consider putting all documents relating to one particular category into a file of a primary color such as blue or red, and then use lighter and darker shades of that same color to break that category down more specifically. For instance, all documents having to do with money could go in a green holder, and then within that holder, tax documents could be kept in the mint section, loan documents in the forest section, banking records in the emerald section, etc.

Even if you choose to use something other than colors to classify everything, if you have a lot of documents, getting as organized as possible with categories and subcategories is key to stress-free discovery and delivery. Also, just so you don’t forget your system, create a file index with a table of contents so that you do not accidentally duplicate or misplace any documents.

  1. Protect and Preserve Your Documents

Some of your most important documents will entail extra special attention and care, so make sure that you take the necessary precautions to protect them. For documents that would be very difficult to replace, such as your birth certificates, passports, social security cards, and wills, keep them in a fireproof lockbox or a lockable filing cabinet. This may sound intense or even somewhat risky, but at least all of your most crucial paperwork will be sheltered and secure.

For many of your documents, you will not need to keep the hard copies. For these items, go digital when you can. If you do not already have a digital record of a document, then make one by scanning it. Then, store all of your digital files on an external hard drive or a cloud server. If you choose to use a cloud, go with a storage provider that offers data encryption for your very sensitive stuff, and also opt for more than enough space to meet your needs.

  1. Put Your Documents in an Accessible and Attractive Place

Now that everything is compiled and cataloged, house it all in a spot you can access effortlessly, but feel free to make that space look as neat, lovely, professional, or pretty as you want. Organization does not have to be boring or unattractive, and there are plenty of cute and creative storage ideas out there from which to choose. Do store your documents somewhere safe and aesthetically satisfying within your home, but do not carry them around in your wallet or purse. That is a very bad idea, as doing so increases the chance of an essential document such as your passport or social security card being stolen.

How to Simplify the Home Buying Process

Certain personalities will find this part of the home buying process rather relaxing, refreshing, and even reassuring, but for those of us who do not relish this kind of organizing, there is always the payoff of convenience and efficiency to come, and that feature means that a great amount of anxiety will not be making an appearance when you are buying a home. There are not really any setbacks to getting as organized as possible before taking on such a major and somewhat daunting task, so consider cutting down on the hassles of home buying by starting to take these steps today.

At Chris Doering Mortgage, we are also committed to cutting out the stressful hassles of home buying, and that is why we offer simple tips such as these as well as expert, professional, and friendly mortgage lending services. Contact us today to learn how our team can supply their support to help you move through the home buying process with ease.

Helping First Time Home Buyers

Things to Consider Before Buying a Home

At Chris Doering Mortgage, we are here to help the families of North Central Florida, get into their first home, their next home, or the home of their dreams. We love helping people in all positions of home ownership, but we know that people who are considering buying their first home need particularly considerate attention. Buying your first home is a big deal: it is a very exciting step, but it should not be taken lightly. The process of buying a home brings with it a lot of things to consider, and that is why Chris Doering Mortgage is here to help first time home buyers be aware of these things. The lists we have supplied here lay out many of the things that first time home buyers should think about before they buy, and we hope that it is a big help to you.

Things to Consider Before You Decide to Buy

Because buying a home is not a simple, effortless procedure, potential first time home buyers would be wise to determine what they hope to accomplish in the future and how buying a home may help or hinder those plans. Homeownership is usually a long-term deal — experts recommend staying in your home for at least five years — and therefore, you should establish your long-term goals before you venture into it. Whether you are hoping to put your monthly payments toward something tangible or desiring to confirm your independence, looking at the big picture of your life and whether or not it should involve homeownership is very important. In order to finalize your long-term goals and the potential of homeownership being a part of them, Investopedia challenges first time home buyers to take the time to answer the following questions:

  • What kind of home will meet your needs? 
    • As we are sure you are aware, there are many different options for residential properties to purchase, and each option has its own set of pros and cons. Positioning yourself in the place where you can reach your goals may mean moving into a condo, townhouse, single-family home, or multi-family building, or you could try the fixer-upper version of any of these things. No matter what type of home you choose, be sure that it will be the where you want to be in the future.
  • What specific features would you like your ideal home to have? 
    • As buying a home will probably be the biggest purchase of your life, you really should try to ensure that the home you purchase will meet both your needs and your wants as well as possible. Include every basic detail and little desire on the list in order to be sure that buying your dream home is a good idea right now.
  • For how much mortgage do you qualify? 
    • A best practice of home buying is to discover how much lenders are willing to give you to buy your home. Know that your monthly income, amount of debt, and time span of your current job will all factor into the size of the loan you may receive.
  • How much house can you afford?
    • You might find yourself in the situation in which a bank offers to loan you more money than you may really want to spend on a house. If so, you must pay attention to the house’s total cost along with these other unavoidable expenses:
      • The monthly payment
      • The size of the down payment you can make
      • The property taxes in your chosen neighborhood
      • The insurance costs
      • The costs of maintaining or improving the house
      • The closing costs
  • How are you going to find a home? 
    • To navigate through the search process, will you be relying on personal research or on a real estate agent? Real estate agents are an invaluable source of knowledge and expertise that can protect you from many major pitfalls into which you may otherwise fall. Therefore, it is best to decide right away if you will be working with a real estate agent.

Things to Consider When You Decide to Buy

The best reason to buy a home is because you actually want to be a homeowner. If the task of answering these questions has revealed that you do in fact want to move on from renting and really buy a home, then there are just a few more facts you need to know in order to verify that you are able to buy and in order to enable you to act on your decision. When you decide to buy, be sure that you understand these things:

  • How Mortgage Rates Work:
    • As so many people take out a mortgage in order to buy their homes, first time home buyers should know:
      • The basics of mortgage rates
      • The differences between fixed and adjustable mortgage rates
      • The definition and usage of mortgage points
      • The current mortgage rates
      • The lenders’ estimates of your rates and costs
  • How to Get Good Credit:
    • To buy a home with a spouse or partner and qualify for the mortgage together, both buyers will need great credit. Therefore, check your credit score and do everything you can to improve it if necessary. If one buyer is plagued with poor credit, they might not make it onto the loan as a borrower, and if that is the case, the borrower that is able to sign will have to have enough income and assets to qualify alone, which may be more impossible than just improving your credit.
  • How to Afford the Down Payment:
    • With today’s credit market pretty much demanding a down payment of 20% of the cost of your home, you will certainly need to save up that amount to get into your home, but that is not all. First time home buyers should also stash away the cash they need to account for closing costs, insurance, taxes, repairs, and furnishings. Therefore, you should not plan on spending all of your money on the down payment because these additional purchases will definitely increase your savings minimum.
  • How to Afford the Monthly Payment:
    • Many additional charges make a monthly home payment much different than a monthly rent payment. In order to be sure that you can afford monthly payments on a house, you make not forget:
      • Property taxes
      • Homeowner’s association fees
      • Insurance
      • City assessments
      • Water, sewer, garbage, and other utilities your landlord may cover
  • How To Fix a Leak:
    • As a homeowner, you will have to fix all of your problems on your own. Rather than being able to pass issues off to a landlord or an apartment office, your options will be to either fix the problems yourself or pay someone else to fix them. If you are currently equipped with fixing abilities, you are halfway there, but you should also know that the cost of materials can still form a sizable dent in your savings. So, in order to be a homeowner, you have to be prepared financially and psychologically for whatever may happen with your home.

The Thing to Do When You Decide to Shop

If homeownership aligns with your long-term goals, and your solid understanding of everything that homeownership involves proves that you are ready to buy, then Chris Doering Mortgage would like to congratulate you on your status as a first time home buyer! Buying a home is a noble investment, and we wish you the best as you continue to move through the process. As a reminder, one very smart move to make when buying a home is to secure a mortgage pre approval before you shop for a house, and Chris Doering Mortgage would love to apply our expertise to help you do just that. To find out how Chris Doering Mortgage can assist first time home buyers in the Gainesville area in obtaining a home, contact us today!