You’ve completed your final walk through and signed the loan documents and wired cash for the remaining balance of the purchase price. The loan has funded, and the deed has been recorded.
Congratulations, you have just closed!!
Once the deed has been recorded, You are officially the new owner of the property.
Here are some things to do now as the new owner:
Pick up the Keys
The listing agent will hand you or your agent the keys (gate keys, house keys, mailbox keys), garage door openers, remotes, and anything else that passes along with the property. Sometimes organized sellers have the manuals for their appliances and equipment and will leave these too. Occasionally, a new homeowner may want to continue the same vender service as the previous owner, such as use the same pool guy or gardener, if you ask the listing agent, they can check with the sellers and usually get you this information if you want to continue using them. Make sure you ask what their client currently pays- (because sometimes you might find that the price goes up with a new owner…).
Every Realtor will recommend you rekey your property after you close because there is no telling who has a copy of the old keys- a neighbor, a friend or relative of the previous owner, a contractor that has done work on the property, who knows. Also, if the property was on a lockbox while it was for sale, anybody with the lockbox combination had access to the keys while the property was on the market and could have made a copy. Perhaps the property was rented at some point by the previous owner before they sold it and some ex tenant out there somewhere has a key. The only way to be sure that your property is secure after you close is to change or rekey the locks. Expect to pay about $400-$500 for this service
For a smooth move in, try to avoid closing on Fridays or near the end of the month. Public utility companies work business days M-F, not on the weekends or holidays. The typical time to start new service is 2-3 business days. If you close on a Friday, the earliest you can start new service is Tuesday or Wednesday. Not fun to live with no hot water, no heat, no light, no stove, no power for 4-5 days.
Most people move the 1st of the month. If you are trying to start service during this time, expect to add 2-3 days in delays because it is busy. Avoid closing at the end of the month, there will be less wait time to start new service.
There are two major providers of electricity in Los Angeles- The Department of Water and Power (DWP) and Edison. The DWP services the city of Los Angeles, and Edison services the county and some of the incorporated cities.
The Department of Water and Power- DWP
Average time to set up new service is 2-3 business days.
To set up new service call: 1-800-342-5397 or (818) 342-5397
Gas is harder to turn on than electricity because the gas company is liable for gas leaks. It is not just a simple matter of flipping a switch and reading a meter. When the Gas Company turns on the gas, they must test every gas appliance for leaks. It takes about 30 minutes to check everything.
This picture shows a gas meter with a lock. When the gas is shut off, the gas company places a lock on the gas valve so that it cannot be turned on. If you see this lock, then service is disconnected and you will need the gas company to come out. As a side note, if the gas company comes to a property to read a meter, and the property appears to be vacant, they must shut off the gas.
The Peak season for gas companies is Nov 1st – April 30th, you will have longer wait times to set up service during the winter months, instead of 2-3 business days, expect 4-5 business days. The worst week to set up service is around January 1st because they get a very big backlog from all the holidays around that time so plan for extra time in Late Decemeber, early January.
The Gas Company
Internet and Cable
Hire Gardner/Pool Man
If you need a gardner or pool man, I like to start by asking the seller who they are using and if they are good. Many times it is easier to just continue using the same gardner and pool man. Make sure to ask how much they are paying each month- I know from experience that pool and gardener prices sometimes go up when there is a new owner so it is a good idea to figure out how much the seller is currently paying as a reference. If you don’t want to use the sellers contacts- then ask your real estate agent, friends, or new neighbors for a referral. There are many great gardeners and pool man in Los Angeles so finding one shouldn’t be too hard.
Figure out your trash collection day:
Fill out the US Post office’s easy to use change of mailing address form online:
Send the listing agent a reminder if they forget to Remove their Yard Sign after the close. Most listing agents remember, but sometimes they forget when they get busy.
If you purchased a Condo, register yourself as the new owner with the property management company managing the building or the HOA. If the building has an intercomm entry system you will want to change the number on the intercomm to your phone number, and if your mailbox doesn’t have your name or unit number on it- you can add a label on it with your name.
Some High Rise condo buildings have move in/move out procedures. The HOA documents should give you the specifics on those procedures before you close.
Before you move in all your things, it is usually a really great time to interior paint if you want to change the colors of the walls or personalize a room with an accent wall.
Gloss: semigloss or flat
Hang your art
Last thing to do is plan your house warming party!!! Congradulations