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Five things to do before moving in

You made an offer on your dream home and it was accepted. Then the bank approved your bond and finally you are a homeowner. But now you're in limbo, waiting for the transfer to go through so that you can move into your new home and truly call it your own.

You might be tempted to devote your last months of financial freedom to spending piles of money frivolously before the burden of bond repayments kick in. But there are actually some sensible things you should be doing with your savings that will help to establish you as a responsible home owner.

Save, save, save
You saved for a deposit, soon you'll be paying back a bond - surely you deserve a little break? Wrong! When you move into your new home, you're going to be met with any number of unexpected expenses like broken plumbing, sagging cupboard doors and missing keys. It really is sensible to save a nest egg to help you pay for these unexpected costs.

Buy what you need well most of it
Depending on where you live now, you may need to buy new furniture or appliances, but don't go overboard. First, draw up a budget and a wish list and rank the items on it in order of priority. You'll certainly need a bed and a fridge right away, but a dining room table or a television can wait a couple of months. And you can do up the guest bedroom next year.

If you find you can't afford much of what you want, try visiting factory shops, second-hand stores and auctions. You'll be amazed at the bargains you can find. And remember that it's very important not to go into credit so that you end up paying back a fortune in interest on a flat-screen TV. You're going to be paying back a big enough line of credit soon enough, so only spend money you actually have for the time being.

Plan for repairs
Ask your estate agent to ask the seller if you can go and have a look around the property. List all the things that you would like to do to your new home, again in order of priority, and then get quotes or cost items yourself in the hardware store. You might not be able to live with a blood-red lounge, but remember that paint is expensive, so only do the whole house if you absolutely have to.

Do the boring admin
Find out what needs to be done to get the rates, electricity, water, gas and phone put into your name. Arrange to have an ADSL line installed if you need one at home. Decide whether you want additional security features, and get quotes from different providers in the area many will offer a free security system if you sign up with them. These processes take time, so start doing them right away so that you don't have to wait when you move in. And remember to keep a record of all these expenses for budgeting purposes.

Sort out your insurance
Your bank requires you to have homeowners insurance or buildings insurance, which covers structural problems, burst geysers and pipes and natural disasters. But you may not know that you don't have to take the cover that your bank offers you you can shop around. You'll also need to get quotes for household insurance to insure your existing and new household contents. You have to do this even if you have existing cover as your risk profile may change depending on the security features and location of your new home, plus you have all your new items to insure. If you have a car, you'll also have to let your insurance provider know that your address will be changing.

If you take these steps, you'll find moving day and settling in to your new home a lot less stressful. And being financially conservative now will help you prepare for the biggest financial commitment of your life paying off your bond. Good luck with the big move.

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