There is a lot to consider when you’re moving into a new home. And while we often consider moving steps like packing and unpacking to be the only major things standing in the way of fully settling in, it’s actually the things that you do after moving into a new home that make the biggest difference. Getting associated with your house, learning how it functions, and prioritizing what projects you want to tackle is part and parcel of taking on your role as a homeowner—and it’s better to do it all right when you move in, instead of waiting and just assuming you’ll figure it all out later on.
Do a Walkthrough
There’s no better time to do a complete walkthrough of your new house than when it is completely empty. So before setting up your furniture and getting unpacked (and even better, before unloading the moving truck—if possible), take a look around. Among other things, you’ll want to double check that:
- All requested and agreed upon repairs have been made by the previous owner
- Everything that was to be included in the sale is present in the house
- Everything is in working order, including outlets, switches, and fixtures
If you find an issue that goes against the sale contract (for example: the previous owner took the washer and dryer along with them when they were supposed to leave them behind) call your realtor immediately to see what your recourse is. As for issues you find that were not covered in your contract, they’re your responsibility now, but it helps to know what they are.
Child/Pet Proof (if Necessary)
If you’re moving into a new home with little kids (or even just furry four-legged kids) then an immediate step is going to be doing some initial child proofing to keep everyone safe until you can put your full setup into place. Create a separate, kid-free zone for discarded packing materials and checking all windows to make sure they’re securely closed and don’t have any long hanging cords coming off of the blinds. And of course, keep anything dangerous—box cutters, cleaning supplies, glassware, etc.—far out of reach of little hands.
Make Sure That Your Utilities Are Set Up
Hopefully you took care of arranging for your utilities to be ready for you before moving into your new home, in which case now is the time to make sure that everything is ready to go and working properly. On moving day, verify that your electric, gas, water, heating and cooling, phone, and internet are set up. Then call your local waste management facility to ensure that your new home is set up for garbage pick up as well.
Locate the Fuse Box and Water Valve
The fuse box and water valve are two things that you don’t want to end up looking 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 turn off the water for some reason you’ll be able to make your way there directly. As a rule of thumb, your fuse box will likely be in your basement, garage, or a storage room, whereas you can usually find your home’s water valve located somewhere around the perimeter of your house.
Unless you are moving into a new home that didn’t have any previous owners, chances are you’re going to have some repair projects. You should have a general idea already of what these are from your home inspection, but it doesn’t hurt to walk around on your own and get a handle of what needs to be done and what tops the list in terms of priorities. While you don’t necessarily need to get to work on these repairs right away (there will be plenty of time for that after you’re settled in), making a list of what needs to get done and in what order you intend to do it will help you put your repair needs into perspective and give you a better footing for when it’s actually time to get the ball rolling.
Change Your Locks
It is always good practice to change the locks on your new home. Even if you’re not concerned about the previous owner, you never know who might have a key. This is definitely one of those areas where it’s better to be safe than sorry, so schedule a locksmith to come by or, if you feel comfortable doing it, change the locks yourself. Re-key the locks on all doors leading between the interior and exterior of your home, as well as on the windows. It’s a small expense to pay for a lot of peace of mind.
Change Your Address
You may have already set up a change of address with the post office before moving day, but if you haven’t yet then now is the time. Be sure to notify others of your move as well, including friends and family, subscription services, your bank, any loan providers you have, and anyone else who sends you regular correspondence or bills. If you’ve moved to a new state then you’re also going to need to contact your department of motor vehicles to arrange for a new driver’s license and an updated vehicle registration.
Meet Your Neighbors
Meeting your neighbors is a lot easier—and less awkward—to do right when you’ve moved in. And in addition to getting yourself off on the right foot in your new neighborhood, meeting your neighbors is helpful for starting to learn about your community and for getting recommendations for local services if you need them. You don’t need to go door to door, but do make a point of introducing yourself the first time that you run into a new neighbor. A little friendliness will definitely go a long way.
Moving into a new home is inherently a bit overwhelming, but following the steps listed above can help make the transition a bit more seamless. It’s a lot to do though, 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 that you can take care of the big stuff, the sooner your new house will start to feel like a new home.