Now that it’s finally yours …

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You’ve travelled a long road and you’ve finally closed on your home, but your journey has just begun. While you’re making plans to decorate your house, renovate your kitchen or plant your garden, there are a few items I suggest you add to your to-do list.

Start out my by making sure your important documents are protected. They should be kept inside of a fireproof safe or a safety deposit box.

For example, a packet was given to you at your closing that includes all your mortgage documents. Before you put them away, you may want to contact the lender and put your mortgage on auto pay and store your lender’s phone number in your cellular phone. You should also have been given a survey of your property. Be sure to keep that handy in case you are planning work such as a new fence or walkways.

Did you complete a home inspection? Keep a copy in a drawer so you can easily access it and start chipping away at the list. Many of those items if neglected could lead to property damage costing you thousands of dollars more than if handled appropriately.

Next, let’s discuss the safely and security of you and your family. Be sure to change the locks to the home. You never know who has had keys in the past. A locksmith will be able to make all the lock work off the same key. If you have a home warranty on your property, contact them first since many of them offer a rekey service with the program. Does your garage or front door have a code box? Be sure to reprogram the code immediately.

On the interior, be sure to test and replace the batteries in the smoke and carbon monoxide detectors or install new ones if you don’t have them. Check local municipal ordinances for the proper location, but they’re usually needed inside each bedroom and outside of each bedroom with a minimum of one on each level of the home. Lastly, check the temperature on your hot water heater to make sure it’s not scalding, especially if you have small children.

Lastly, draw up a master maintenance schedule and stick to it for years to come. That can include cleaning out the dryer vent annually, scheduling HVAC maintenance checks twice a year, changing your furnace filter every three months, and draining your water heater annually. On the exterior of the home, be sure to clean your gutters twice a year. Even if you have clog free gutters you should always at least take a look at them.

The day you take possession of your home will be one of the proudest moments of your life, but without proper maintenance and care, it can easily turn into a nightmare!

To contact me, call 708-583-8300, email or visit


About Giuseppe Zerillo

Giuseppe Zerillo is the managing broker and owner of Zerillo Realty Inc. He is active on many boards, serving as village trustee of Harwood Heights and corporate secretary for Casa Italia. In 2011, he received the IANU Foundation's 2011 David Award for outstanding promise in the field of real estate, and in 2012 he was honored by the Illinois State Crime Commission for his community outreach. Constantly seeking opportunities to give back, he donates to several charities and raises money for children with disabilities.

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