When we’re buying a new home we’re so focussed on the process of buying it that sometimes we forgot about what we have to do once it’s ours.

So here is a list we’ve compiled from our clients’ tips and tricks.

#1 Set up your utilities

This is a great thing to do during the lead up to settlement. Get your electricity, gas, water, phone and internet sorted. Do your research on the deals available so that the moment the home is yours, you can get everything connected.

Sometimes the internet can take a few weeks to get connected so you might want to talk to your service provider and arrange for an interim dongle or increase the data allowance on your mobile so you can hotspot if you can’t live without it.

While you’re there, organise your home and contents insurance.

#2 Clean – from top to bottom

There will never be the opportunity to clean your whole house unhindered again. Once the furniture arrives, you’ll have fridges and washing machines, beds and lounges to clean around. So roll up your sleeves, get out your cleaning products, rags, mop and vacuum and get cleaning. When you do it yourself, it’s a great way to get to know every nook and cranny and every little bit of damage that needs attention.

It’s a good way to get to know your new home.

If cleaning isn’t your thing, hire professionals.

#3 Change your locks

This is a great security measure because you just don’t know who has keys for your home.

We went the extra mile when we bought our last home and upgraded to an electronic keypad instead of door locks. They’re the best. No more getting locked out of the house ever again! No more getting keys cuts, finding keys or carrying around big chunky key rings. On some, you can even set a temporary code so that workmen or guests can let themselves in and out. Once they’ve gone, you can just disable that code.

Whether you go traditional or electronic, it’s a good thing to do.

#4 Make it yours

Experts always recommend that you live in a home for 12 months before you do any major work (unless it’s a “renovator’s dream” to begin with). It’s good to see how the home copes with the four seasons of the year and spend some time noticing what works and what doesn’t.

But… it’s also important to make your home your own. Try different positions for the lounge, dining table and beds, paint the front door, paint a wall – or 4, hang your pictures, roll out your rugs, set up your outdoor space. Turn it into a home that suits you and your family and reflects your personality and lifestyle.

#5 Introduce yourself to your neighbours

There’s always a bit of curiosity when new neighbours move in, so go and say hello. You don’t have to invite them in for drinks or take them a homemade cupcakes or anything fancy. Just say hi. (If dogs are involved, it’s also good to introduce the dogs on neutral territory)

#6 Make a budget

First and foremost, you must make sure that you can make your mortgage repayment every month. This is your priority – otherwise, you’ll be facing all kinds of nightmares. Once you’ve got your mortgage allocated, create a budget for your essential costs (rates, water, utilities, levies, insurance, health fund, etc), your spending money (food, entertainment, gym membership, clothes, sport, etc) and savings. Remember your savings. Always remember your savings! How else are you going to have a holiday or buy a new car!

#7 Start creating memories

The best thing about a new home is the new memories you’re going to create. Start living in your home, invite friends over and have some fun. Treat yourself. Enjoy your home.

Congratulations! Buying a house or apartment is a great achievement. Making it a home is an awesome achievement.