Congratulations, you survived the gauntlet of buying a new home! Whether this is your first home purchase or your last… has eight suggestions of things to do BEFORE you move into your new digs!

  1. Change the locks! Sure the previous owner said they gave you all the keys they have…but did they really get the key back from Crazy Uncle Jerry? Have the locks changed before you move in so there no chance that you find Jerry in his undies wondering why the fridge is empty.
  2. Change your mailing address. The US Postal Service makes it easy to update your address in the Offical USPS Change of Address section of their website. Yes, you will eventually have to update your address with your subscriptions, credit cards, Aunt Mary’s holiday newsletter, etc., but changing with the USPS immediately means your mail will be forwarded to your new address ASAP.
  3. Check for plumbing leaks. Sure you would hope that any potential leaks were found during the inspection, but let’s be honest some leaks are not going to be evident during an inspection. During your move in, take note of the reading on your water meter, DO NOT use any water for two hours and check the meter again. If the reading is the same as the original, no leaks…however, if there is an increase that indicates water is leaking from somewhere. This means you can put this on your “things to keep an eye on” list if the increase is minor or “aw crud, now I have to call a plumber” list if it is significant.
  4. Buy some new toilet seats. Let’s be honest, having a new toilet seat means you don’t need to think about the old toilet seat! They are inexpensive and it a nice fresh start for you and your family.
  5. Before you lay your head on your pillow that first night, be sure you have tested the smoke and CO2 alarms. Just give those test buttons a quick push and change out the batteries if need be. If your home doesn’t have a CO2 detector, pick one up at your local hardware store, set it up outside (so it’s baseline reading is fresh air) and install.
  6. Learn where your breaker box and all shut-off valves are located. Stumbling around in the dark is not the time to learn that you stacked some old boxes in front of the breaker box. Nor is having a pipe burst the time to struggle to find just where in tarnation your water shut-off valve lives.
  7. Clean before you unload. Most outgoing owners will have cleaned the house before they left…but did they clean-clean or just surface clean. Take a few hours to really clean the cabinets and closets, scrub them down to remove the old cooking goo or dust bunnies that collect in the tops of closets. Do a deep vacuuming of all areas of the home, use all those vacuum attachments to get in all the nooks and crannies. And of course, give your bathrooms a good scrubbing as well. Doing this before you have unpacked makes the task so much easier.
  8. Check on major maintenance needs. Pull out the refrigerator, clean the floor underneath and vacuum the coils. Debris and dust collect on the coils making it difficult to release the heat generated and thereby making the fridge work harder. Might as well give the inside a good cleaning too! While we’re at it, you might want to flush your hot water heater to clear out any sediment and definitely check on any HVAC filters that need to be replaced.

Once you’ve tackled these suggestions, get those movers in gear so you can start enjoying your new home!

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