Congratulations! You finally completed the buying process and now you own your house. But you better not get super excited and relaxed in your new home. There are still many tasks to do before you move in.
Now it’s time to customize your new house based on your personal needs, such as painting it in your desirable colour. So create a checklist of all the important things you should do. For more safety, do everything on the checklist before you move in. The very first things you might want to do include:
1. Change all the locks and key codes.
Before you move into your new home, change the door locks. It doesn’t cost much. Changing each deadbolt per lock may charge you only $30. You should also reset the key codes on the garage doors.
Purchase a new security box or reprogram the old one. There are many tutorials online you can use. Check if the motion lights and security lights of the house are working properly.
2. Deep clean the house
You better start the first days cleaning everything before you move all your stuff in. Clean the kitchen and bathrooms deep and thoroughly. If the house was vacant for a while, concentrate more on cleaning the cabinets before you arrange all your dishes. Wipe inside and outside the cabinets with a strong but non-toxic cleaner. Or for more reassurance, use a pest removal service.
Don’t forget to check gutters, backyard, chimney and dryer vents. Clean the dryer vent. Dirty dryer vent has a fire hazard. You should also clean the fridge coils annually. This will make it last longer.
Steam clean all the carpets before you move the furniture in. you can use the help of a professional carpet cleaning service or rent a steam cleaner and do it yourself.
3. Paint your house.
If you are going to paint the house, now is the best time. Painting an empty house would be so much easier than a house full of furniture. In this case, you don’t need to be worried about the paint splashing on the furniture. Besides, it won’t be necessary to move furniture around.
4. Change the old address and set your new address everywhere.
People, companies, friends and family need to find you. So send your new house address to your friends, banks, employees or HR department and creditors. Switch the address of your gas, water, and electric bills to be sent on your name.
5. Bills, insurance and warranty
Make sure the previous owner has no unpaid bills or debts; that would cause many problems in the near future, your solicitor will help you with that. Talk to your real estate agent about the fact that whether your new property can affect the other insurance policies or not.
Think about flood insurance according to your region. Set up your mortgage and utility payments on autopay. This will make sure that your gas, water, electric, Internet, and cable/television will not cut off.
Home warranties are recommended for everybody. You can even purchase one after closing. Review the specific services under cover. It includes home’s major systems or appliances, such as air conditioner, plumbing, or just reset the key codes. The warranty company will send somebody whenever you need.
6. Buy a fireproof safe for documents
If you still don’t have a fireproof file box or a safe, buy one. Keep all the important home documents and copies in the fireproof safe.
You can also store your family’s birth certificates, car titles, and inspection report of the house in that. Save your mortgage and insurance documents somewhere safe to avoid getting them lost.
7. Maintenance plan
First check all HVAC maintenance. You should change the HVAC filters every one to three months (at least once a season). It helps you to save cooling and heating energy and helps your unit to last longer.
The house must have a fire and carbon monoxide detectors. Install a fire detector in the kitchen and another one for each floor. You can put them in a hallway leading to the bedrooms. Change the batteries of all your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors to make sure they are working properly (change the batteries every six months).
If you don’t clean the vents and ducts, the dryer of your house can cause a disaster. You better at least check the dryer vent a few times a year to ensure it’s working okay. Don’t forget to clean your gutters once a year. If you have trees around the house, clean it more frequently.
Another important task is to check the temperature of the water heater. Rinse all the sediment in the water heater tank once a year. In case the house has a tankless water heater, try to use the help of a professional to descale once a year. Make sure the tank shows no signs of leak.
You can use the inspection report of the house to make a maintenance plan for each item. This can avoid the future and more expensive repairs. Set a reminder if you have a family calendar. Keep a specified amount of budget aside for unexpected repairs each year.
8. Locate everything in case of emergency
Get to know your house better. Find the main water shut-off valve and gas shut-off valve. They may be in the garage, in the basement or crawl space. If you plan to go out of town or if a plumbing emergency happened, you better know how to turn off the main water valve.
Find the circuit box, all the fuses or switches should be well-labeled.
It is recommended to have an emergency kit. You better keep your emergency kit where you’ll remember. The kit should include important items, such as a first aid kit, flashlight, batteries, cell phone backup batteries, blankets, water and canned food.
9. Say hello to your neighbors
You are new in the neighborhood. Go and introduce yourself to your new neighbors! They can help you to find out what’s going on in the neighborhood. You can also use their recommendations for good restaurants, handymen, services around, night watch plans, and so forth.
Take advantage of their information to know your new community. Go to community events and invite your neighbors over. You can throw a housewarming party!
10. Other important things to do
Before you move in, make sure that all of your utilities (water, gas and electricity) are working right.
Prepare a list of all the things needed to repair or update. Make your list based on priority or urgency. If you ask a professional inspector, check all bids included in their contract (the cheaper ones may not include all the details).
Before you make any huge change in the decoration of the house, ask your real estate agent whether this improvement will finally deliver back to you or not. They will happily help you and share their knowledge about the best home improvements that add value to the resale price of your home.
If you are planning to change the furniture, try to make your final decision after you live in the house for a while. This will help you to know the available space better.