New Home Checklist
You’ve Just Moved to Your New House. Not to Worry!
So, your move to your new home in your new neighborhood has reached its final phase. You find yourself at the beginning of your new life, surrounded by safely-packed and highly stacked boxes, and somewhat dumbfounded by any number of troublesome questions, uncertainties, and anxieties.
The strangeness of your new surroundings might make you feel disheartened and confused as to what you should do next. However, there are many urgent (and some not so urgent) things to do when moving into a new house and you need to address them at the earliest opportunity.
Not to worry. You’ll soon get focused and organized to start dealing with those essential post-move tasks. You’ll also regain your confidence while investigating the neighborhood and making new friends and you’ll ultimately enjoy the transformation of your new property into your dream home.
Once it’s all over, you’ll be able to feel at home and celebrate your successful relocation finally.
So, take a close look at our moving into a new home checklist below, roll up your sleeves and get to work.
Did you know: The Employee Relocation Council notes moving is topped only by divorce and death for life’s stressful events.
The No. 1 task: Change the locks as soon as you move in.
You’ll never know who has copies of keys to the old locks. The previous owners may have given a key to neighbors, workers, relatives or cleaning services. New locks help assure you’re the only person who has access. If your door is missing a deadbolt, a locksmith can install that, too. Also, double-check all the windows and doors and make sure they close securely.
The No. 2 task: You might want to check for any leaks immediately.
Water damage can cause significant and expensive damage to your new house. Begin with a basic visual inspection of the areas under your sinks and around toilets. Run the water, flush the toilets and watch nearby pipes for leaks. Identify any inside water valves so you’ll know how to turn off the water if you need to do so.
Fact is, you need to get to know your new home inside and out. Locate your favorite magnifying glass and inspect every nook and cranny of your new abode as meticulously as if your birth name were Sherlock Holmes.
Did you know: The average American moves 11.7 times in his or her lifetime. Though the number may seem high, take a moment to count up how many places you have lived — it may surprise you.
The person or people who lived in your home before you, no matter how well-intentioned, inevitably left behind some dirt, grime, and dust that you’ll want to take care of before you settle in. Unless you’ve just moved in to brand new construction, that blank slate isn’t entirely as blank as it looks.
Cleaning a house before you move in is the ideal way to go since you won’t have the added difficulty of needing to work around a bunch of furniture and boxes. But if you have to wait until after you move that’s fine – don’t skip the clean entirely. The same goes for if a cleaning crew came through before you get the keys. This is one corner you don’t want to cut.
Tip: If you’re cleaning post-move, do the fridge first. There are some things you can put off while you get everything cleaned, but storing perishable food isn’t one of them. Before you get to anything else, start by sanitizing your new fridge. Because it’s clear of any food, this shouldn’t take more than 20 minutes.
Start fresh in the Safety Department.
Replace the batteries in the smoke and carbon monoxide detectors immediately. You might also want to think about purchasing new fire extinguishers. Provide at least one functional fire extinguisher per floor. At the very least, you’re postponing the inevitable annoyance of dying batteries chirping all at once all over the house. At best, you’re saving lives! There’s one news item about a person who had a fish tank catch fire at 5:45 a.m. The home had minimal damage due to the detector and extinguisher.
You might also want to consult a specialist and consider installing a burglar alarm. Know the facts. 2,000,000 home burglaries are reported each year in the United States. Nearly 66 percent of all burglaries are residential (home) break-ins.
Did you know that 2,900 home clothes dryer fires are reported each year? There is no telling the last time your dryer vents were professionally cleaned, and it’s a safety hazard not to deal with this immediately. Check with local air duct and fireplace cleaning companies about their services.
Moving, as you realize, is not merely a one-day process. From the time you unload, it could be months before you get everything sorted and put away. That’s why it might be easy to overlook potentially dangerous areas your child could encounter in the new surroundings. Take the time to childproof the house while you can still clearly see areas that need to be addressed, like cabinets for storing cleaning products and medicines. Remember, the safety of your little angels is above everything else!
Did you know: The average weight of transported household possessions is 6,500 pounds. Americans sure know how (to not) travel light!
Oops, we almost forgot about the pets! Your pets will need immediate attention after the move. You need to make sure they are safe and calm before being able to proceed with your post-move schedule. Take them to a quiet room away for the chaos, provide fresh water and quality food, give them their favorite toys and don’t forget to secure the exits as your stressed pet may try to escape the unfamiliar surroundings.
Introduce Yourself to your Circuit Breaker Box and Main Water Valve
Find the electrical panel, so you know where to shit off the power to your entire house or an individual circuit.
You’ll usually locate the main circuit breaker panel – a gray, metal box – in a utility room, garage or basement.
Behind the door is the main breaker for the entire house (usually at the top of the panel) and two rows of other breakers below it, each controlling individual circuits. If you’re lucky, there will be a guide indicating which outlets and receptacles are served by each circuit. If not, figure out which circuit breaker controls which part of your home and label them accordingly.
Just as importantly, you’ll want to know how to turn off your main water valve if you have a plumbing emergency, if a hurricane or tornado is headed your way, or if you’re going out of town for an extended period. Just locate the valve, it could be inside or outside your house – and turn the knob until it’s off. Test by turning on any faucet in the house. No water should come out.
Speaking of circuit breakers and main water valves, if you haven’t already notified the utility companies to transfer gas, water, electrical, trash and sewer into your name, you need to call. In some localities, county utilities might be transferred by the escrow company, but it’s a good idea to inquire about this at closing. The time to find out you have no electricity is not at sunset.
Your new home may have all the electrical outlets you need. But older homes could be a challenge. You can do upgrades anytime, but everything is easier to get to in an empty room. Older homes may also need GFIs in kitchens and baths, as well as additional outlets for TVs, phones, computers or lamps. This might also be a great time to install a ceiling fan. You might also want better work light in your kitchen or reading spotlights over your bed. Now is the time to do it.
Having taken care of your fundamental utilities, next consider making the necessary arrangements to gain access to the Internet, phone and other important services.
After your internet is turned on, set up and program your smart home devices. Moving is also a great time to add new smart features to your home. You can easily install items like smart thermostats and leak detectors when you move in to save money on energy bills and better protect your investment.
One more thing . . . As soon as you move, it’s crucial that you update your homeowner’s insurance with the information about your new home.
Did you know: The #1 reason for making an employment-related move: wanting an easier commute.
Don’t Forget to Change Your Mailing Address
It’s as clear as day (except perhaps moving day) that your new home comes with a new address. If you fail to register your current address with the post office online, you should do so immediately.
It’s also the perfect time to notify specific institutions of your changed postal address. Notifications should include banks, credit card companies, insurance companies, and other essential institutions.
If you’ve changed cities, don’t forget to update the information on your voter’s registration for your area. Registration can quickly be completed online.
One of the more important things you need to do when moving into a new house in a new city is to find the right healthcare providers for you and your family. Similar to the process of finding a good school, the hunt for a trustworthy primary care doctor, a dentist or a vet should either begin online or, even better, through specific suggestions and recommendations from your work colleagues or the folks who live next door.
Get to Know Your New Neighbors ASAP
Speaking of the folks next door, after a few hours of unpacking, you’ll need some fresh air. Grab the kids, put the pooch on a leash and hit the street. If possible, try to meet some new neighbors while you’re out for your stroll. If the family across the street is outside playing a game of basketball, stop by to say hello. If the couple next door is weeding their garden, take time to complement their landscaping.
Your new neighbors can help you adjust to your new surroundings and help overcome your initial loneliness. Besides, you will be able to learn from the – where to find the best schools and health care providers, where to shop, what are the entertainment options, etc.
The sooner you get to know the folks around you, the quicker your new place will start to feel like a real home.
Finally, for those into traditions and rituals, here’s a ceremony for someone who is moving into a new home:
Burning sage is a Native American tradition that many non-Natives have taken up. It helps clear out negative energy around the rooms of your new home. First, get a bundle of sage, wrapped with thread and occasionally accompanied by lavender or other herbs, then get a fire-resistant bowl. Light the sage above the bowl and wait for it to start smoking. Starting at the front door, walk around the house clockwise and wave the smoke in the air. Focus particularly on corners and remember to open closets and other closed doors