The search is over: you found your new home and you’re thrilled to be moving in.
Buying a new home is a big step and often brings a lot of emotions with it. It’s also a relief when you finally find a place. After all, it’s not as simple as finding a place to eat dinner. You’ve likely been scouring the market, viewing places, submitting your offer, then moving to the edge of your seat while you wait to hear if this home is your home.
Of course, the practical steps aren’t over yet. If you’ve already thought about packing and hiring a mover, that’s a great start. But there may be a few steps you haven’t considered, particularly ones you’ll want to tackle before moving day if you can.
Have a Pre-Move Walkthrough
If you can help it, try to give yourself some time between getting the keys to your new place and the day you move in. Having a day or two to move around the space without boxes and clutter will let you get a lay of the land, so to speak.
Enter your new home and perform your own walkthrough. Make a list of relevant things including:
- Repairs, updates, or upgrades you plan to do.
- Confirm work has been completed per your contractual agreement with the previous owner.
- Check that everything included in the sale is still in the house, such as appliances and fixtures.
- Ensure everything works including fixtures, power outlets, and switches.
Performing this walkthrough as early as possible will not only help you with planning your move but will give you time to raise any concerns or issues with your realtor. If you find issues that weren’t covered in your agreement, you’ll need to handle them yourself, unfortunately.
Secure Your Space
Of primary importance is ensuring that you are the only one that is able to enter your new place. Before you start loading your most precious possessions into your home, secure the entries, just to be safe.
Take the time to change locks on the doors, and set new codes. That includes gates, the garage door, and the security system if you have one. You’ll be more at ease knowing that no one can enter unless you invite them.
While you’re at it, make sure you have all of the instruction manuals for your electronic systems. Take a moment to ensure you understand the basic functionality, and that you know where to look (or who to call) if you need help. Changing the codes for your garage door shouldn’t cost you anything. If you have a security system, you’ll need to establish a new account with the provider.
Contact the Utility Companies
For a smooth transition and a comfortable entry into your new home, make sure the utilities are connected before you arrive. That thought may not occur to you if you’re accustomed to renting, so make a note of it. You’ll have a few more steps to setting up your own accounts in your home, so chat with your providers ahead of time to be sure you’re on top of it.
Don’t save this step to the last minute. Some providers require a home visit to get things connected, so you’ll want to know that beforehand. After all, you don’t want to sit in the dark or have a cold shower after a long day of moving!
Find Breakers and Check Detectors
We hope you never urgently need to access the breaker or water main, but things do happen. Do yourself a favor and find the breakers and emergency shut-offs before you need them.
When you find the breaker, open it to see how it’s mapped out. Are your breakers clearly labeled? If not, grab some masking tape and take the time to clearly label each circuit so you know where to find the connection for each appliance and room.
Grab all of your appliance paperwork and manuals and keep them in a single, easy-to-find spot. Missing some? Thankfully we live in a digital age, and you’ll be able to download and print whichever ones you’re missing.
Another important step is to check your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors to ensure they’re working properly. Not only will you ensure that you and your family are safe and sound, but you’ll know where to find all detectors in your home. Replace batteries as needed.
It’s key to have smoke detectors in your kitchen and laundry rooms. If you don’t currently have detectors installed, make it a priority. These two rooms are frequent sources of home fires.
Another thing you hope you’ll never need is homeowners insurance. Of course, if you need it, you’re very glad you’re covered. Many times, buyers receive home warranty coverage for systems and major appliances in the home. This coverage only covers certain items for a specific period of time. Check the details so you know when and how you’re covered.
These home warranties are not a replacement for homeowners insurance, so make sure you do your due diligence and ensure your home and belongings are covered in case of an emergency. Sometimes, things happen, and many times they’re out of your control. Be prepared, just in case.
Want a true “welcome home”? Arrive at a squeaky clean home for your fresh start. Of course, deep cleaning can take time and effort. If you don’t have either or both of those things, consider hiring the professionals. A professional team can get your space looking new while you take care of other things, making it invaluable to your process of moving.
While your home is still empty, consider whether a fresh coat of paint is necessary. It will get harder to paint your rooms when the house is full of stuff so if it’s on your list, perhaps you’d like to tackle the job before you move in.
It would definitely be nice if a welcome wagon rolled around, ushering you into your new community. You’ll likely be waiting a while if you hope that will happen. Instead, take the initiative and introduce yourself around. Your neighbors likely don’t want to intrude while you’re getting settled so when you have a moment, step out and say some hellos.
Knowing your neighbors is not only comforting and helps you feel like you’re really home, but can also prove helpful as you get settled. If you know the people who live around you, you’ll have someone to ask if you need a professional like a handyman, or if you have an issue.