Run it home! Tips for closing and your first days as a homeowner

This content is sponsored by Lafayette Federal Credit Union

The following tips can help you hit a home run during your first few days as a homeowner and avoid a strikeout.


Understand the final stages of the mortgage process

From processing to underwriting to closing, each phase is unique to the process and should be clearly understood ahead of time. “By the time buyers get to this phase in the home buying process, they’re exhausted. But it doesn’t have to be so hard. Take some time in advance to understand the mortgage process and how it can impact you,” says Peter Benjamin, SVP of Mortgage Lending at Lafayette Federal Credit Union.

Bring a cashier’s check & Government issued ID

To cover any down payment and/or closing costs that you may owe, a cashier’s check (not a personal check or cash) that is easily obtained from your financial institution is one thing you will want to have prepared ahead of time. You will be given the exact amount that you’ll need for settlement at least three days in advance and in many cases, you’ll be given this figure several days ahead of time.

You’d be surprised how many people show up to settlement without their driver’s license. This simple mistake – one that anyone could make – can delay the process and possibly force your settlement to be rescheduled. So, before you leave for your appointment, make sure you have your ID.

Don’t rush

Closing on your home and mortgage is one of the most important financial commitments you’ll ever make. Take all the time you need: re-read and review any documents you feel that you need to. This is a major experience, and you want to feel as comfortable as you possibly can.


Buy new locks

Once you have the keys and cross home plate, you should buy new locks for all the outside doors. With new locks, you can feel safer in your new home.

Also, if your home has a garage, don’t forget to change the code. Finally, you should also check windows to make sure that working locks are employed and/or are available.

Change your address with the USPS

When moving, updating your address with the United States Postal Service is a vital step to ensure that you continue receiving mail.

“Whether you’re making a long-term move or you’ll just be at a new address for just a few months, USPS® mail and package forwarding services can send your mail to you,” says the USPS.

Also, don’t forget to change your address with your financial institution and any other accounts, including those that are online. Insurances, subscriptions, and your doctor’s office are just a few examples of places where you will need to update your address.

Protect your floors

Before moving day, consider protecting any floors that might easily get scuffed. For example, if your new home has hardwood floors, you may want to take precautions so that it doesn’t suffer any damage. One easy trick is to get floor covering (such as cardboard) and appropriate tape to secure the edges down across the wood. You don’t want anyone to trip, so make sure the edges aren’t sticking up.

For more information on managing the closing process and becoming a homeowner, visit

More from WTOP

Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up