Congratulations, you're a homeowner: Now what?

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Ready to sit back and relax after closing the deal on your new home? Don't get too comfortable. There are plenty of important projects, both big and small, that new homeowners need to accomplish before getting settled into their new place.

Inspection & repair If it is an existing home in question, the most important step the homeowners need to take is a thorough home inspection, says Stephen Melman, director of economic services at the National Association of Homebuilders, a Washington, D.C.-based trade association for the housing industry.

An inspection is typically conducted before the contract for the home is fully processed, but Melman suggests that home buyers take advantage of inspectors as a resource, and ask them to expand their inspection and make recommendations and suggestions for improving the home.

This is a great opportunity for homeowners to learn about "energy-related issues, landscaping issues like ground sloping, etc. Inspectors can tell you how to preserve the house and keep it in good running order," Melman says.

Cynthia Cohn, senior partner at residential brokerage Deasy/Penner & Partners in Pasadena, Calif., says larger repairs and upgrades include appliance and electrical upgrades, a new hot water heater or fixing any outstanding problems with the structure of the house.

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