Congrats. The key is in your hand and the home is officially yours. Now what – haul everything in, pack it all away, and throw a block party? Well, not so fast there. It’s an exciting and sometimes stressful period when moving into your new home, whether you are a first time owner or otherwise. Let’s look at some essential must do’s before the moving vans arrive.
- Clean it up. I know. The last thing you want to do is break out the broom, dustpan, mop, and cleaning rags. Most homes are already technically clean before the new owners move in. Even so, give the place a once over. Not only will you find it isn’t as clean as you may like, in the process you’ll also discover things you may have missed when you bought the home. Some of these are cracks in the walls, scratched wooden floors, outdated light bulbs and the like. Oh, and get the carpets cleaned if you have some.
- Change the exterior locks. Say what? Wait a sec, you say, I just got the key in my hand and you want me to change the locks? Yup. Think about it. How many other people before you received the key also had access to your home? Plumbers, maintenance people, electricians, inspectors, real estate agents and perhaps a host of others. Your best bet is to call a handyman and change out the exterior locks so you are the only one with keys to the house.
- Vacuum the HVAC system. The last thing you want to happen when you crank up the heat in winter or turn the air conditioner on is to have dust blow out of the vents like a dust storm in Sands of the Kalahari. It’s better to clean the vents before moving in than cleaning the potential mess that may come later. New home constructions are notoriously bad for this. If everything is good to go, replace the air filters and start fresh.
- Call your realtor. By now you have a bond with your real estate agent. Before that slips away, give him or her a call and ask them for their important contacts. They will have a list of trusted handymen, electricians, plumbers and the like that you can also have access to in the event something needs repair.
- Paint the town not the walls. Many new homeowners can’t wait to repaint the rooms in their preferred choice of colors. While that is totally understandable you may be making a mistake. Paint can wait until you observe where and how the light affects certain rooms and the kitchen. Instead, get out and meet the neighbors, introduce yourself, and if you’re invited into their home, you may observe paint schemes they likely regret. And keep in mind that the type of light bulbs you buy can also have an effect on your paint choices.
- Conduct a safety check. Ensure all of your windows close and lock properly. If you have a garage, make sure that puppy is also secured. Check the batteries in your smoke alarms and if there isn’t one available, but a home fire extinguisher for the kitchen.
- Scout the place out. Okay, we’re not talking about looking for underground tunnels used by the Capone family here, but you should know where your main breaker box is in the event of a power outage. Make sure new fuses are on hand just in case. It is also good to know where the main water valve is … just in case an unobserved leak turns into a flood.
- Basic tasks. Put in a change of address, get your Internet set up, and obtain a metal box to maintain all receipts, switch utility companies, and if you’re old school, get the old landline hooked up. Get a list of emergency contacts and keep them nearby.
- Plan a party. Once your house is all decked out, Mr. Cleaned, and all the boxes have been unpacked, hold a housewarming party. Planning this in advance will give you an added incentive to get everything squared away in time for a meet and greet with your new neighbors.
Whew, sounds like a lot to do, right? Maybe so. Nevertheless, these are essential tips that will make the transition into your new home considerably smoother in the long run. Now about that party…