There is a lot involved in a move to a new home. And while we often think that packing and unpacking are the only important things that get in the way of fully integrating, it’s actually the things you do after you’ve moved into a new home that make the biggest difference. Getting associated with your home, learning how it functions, and prioritizing what projects you want to tackle is an essential part of your role as a homeowner — and it’s better to do all of this right when you move into your home, rather than waiting and assuming you’ll figure it all out later.
Of course, you already have a lot to do. So to help you get your to-do list in order, we’ve compiled this quick list of the ten most important things to do when moving to a new home. Most of these steps aren’t too time-consuming, but they do require you to consciously strive to perform them. Read on for what you need to know, and then make a plan. Soon, you’ll finally be ready to sit back, open the champagne and celebrate your new home.
Do a walkthrough
There’s no better time to go through your new home completely than when it’s completely empty. So before you put down your furniture and unpack it (and even better, before unloading the moving van – if possible), take a look around. Among other things, you will want to check whether:
All requested and agreed repairs have been carried out by the previous owner
Everything that would be included in the sale is present in the house
Everything is in order, including sockets, switches, and fixtures
If you encounter a problem that violates the sales contract (for example, the previous owner brought the washer and dryer, when they should have left it behind), call your real estate agent immediately to see what your story is. For things that are not in the contract, you are now responsible, but it helps to know what they are.
Child/pet proof (if required)
If you’re moving into a new home with small children (or even furry four-legged children), then a first step is to make the home childproof to keep everyone safe until you can fully furnish the home. Check out our article on how to quickly childproof a home on moving day, with tips like creating a separate, child-free zone for discarded packaging material and checking all the windows to make sure they’re tightly closed and no long hanging cords coming off the blinds. And of course, you need to keep everything that is dangerous – clippers, cleaning agents, glassware and so on – far out of the reach of small hands.
Figure out what needs to go where
You’ll save yourself a ton of time and effort when moving into a new home if you make a plan of action to set everything up instead of just doing it. This is especially true for large and heavy items such as furniture. You probably already have an idea of what should be in which room, but give yourself a moment to think about what you want the décor to look like. Of course, you can make changes later, but if you get started with a general plan, the work becomes a lot easier.
Make sure your utilities are set up
Hopefully you’ve made sure your utilities are ready before you moved into your new home, in which case it’s now time to make sure everything is ready to go and working properly. On moving day, make sure your electricity, gas, water, heating and cooling, phone, and internet are set up. Then call your local waste disposal company to make sure your new home is also ready to pick up trash.
Find the fuse box and the water tap
The fuse box and water faucet are two things you don’t want to look for when you really need them. It’s much better to identify their locations now so that if your power goes out or you need to shut off the water for whatever reason, you’ll be able to find your way there right away. As a rule of thumb, your fuse box is likely to be in your basement, garage, or storage room, while you can usually find your home’s watergate somewhere around the perimeter of your home.
Make a big clean-up
The last thing you’ll probably want to do after the moving process is clean your new home from top to bottom, but just after the move is the best time to do it. Fortunately, we’ve put together a guide on how to thoroughly clean your new home that can help you with this. If you just don’t have the time or desire to put on your cleaning gloves now and grab a mop (and we don’t blame you), consider hiring professional cleaners. Whether you pay in time or in cost, it’s well worth it to start living in your new home in a clean state.
Unless you’re moving into a new home that hasn’t had previous owners, chances are you’ll have some repair projects. You should have a general idea of what these are from your home inspection, but it doesn’t hurt to walk around on your own and get a handle on what needs to be done and what’s at the top of the list in terms of priorities. While you don’t necessarily have to get started with these repairs right away (there will be plenty of time for you to settle down), making a list of what needs to be done and in what order you plan to do it will help you put your repair needs in perspective and give you a better foothold for when it’s really time to get the ball rolling.
Change your locks
It’s always a good idea to replace the locks of your new home. Even if you’re not worried about the previous owner, you never know who might have a key. This is certainly one of those areas where it’s better to err on the side of caution, so schedule a locksmith to come by or, if you feel comfortable doing it, change the locks yourself. Give the locks of all doors that lead from the inside to the outside and of the windows a new key. It’s a small expense for a lot of peace of mind.
Change your address
Perhaps you have already communicated a change of address to the post office before moving day, but if you have not already done so, now is the time. Also, let others know about your move, such as friends and family, subscription services, your bank, lenders, and anyone who regularly sends you correspondence or bills. A full list of who to notify can be found here. If you have moved to a new state, you will also need to contact the Department of Motor Vehicles to arrange a new driver’s license and an updated license plate registration.
Meet your neighbors
Meeting your neighbors is a lot easier — and less embarrassing — to do if you’ve just moved. And in addition to getting off to a good start in your new neighborhood, it’s also helpful to get to know your neighbors and get recommendations for local services (like the aforementioned locksmith) if you need one. You don’t have to go door to door, but introduce yourself when you first meet a new neighbor. With a little kindness you can go a long way.
Moving into a new home is a bit overwhelming by nature, but following the ten steps above can help make the transition a little more seamless. However, there’s a lot involved, so don’t be afraid to ask for help, whether that’s from a friend or family member or from a professional service provider. The sooner you can arrange the big things, the sooner your new home will feel like a new home.