Moving into a new home is an exciting event, but it’s easy to feel overwhelmed when you start thinking about the details. This checklist will help you cover the essentials so you can relax and enjoy your new home.
Utilities and Appliances
In a busy time, it’s always good to start with the basics.
- Contact utility companies well in advance of your move-in date, to schedule your service start. If these services were previously shut off at your new home, it may take a few weeks before they can be turned on. You’ll want to be able to take a shower and charge your phone as soon as you move in!
- Arrange for trash and recycling pickup, and post the company's guidelines and calendar somewhere that’s easy to see.
- Other utilities, depending on your individual situation, may include natural gas service, security systems, heating oil deliveries, and pool or irrigation system maintenance. Take care to figure out which utilities you need and have those set up before you move in.
Once you have your utilities connected, test all the appliances, whether they came with the house or you previously bought them.
- Change the locks; you have no way of knowing who has copies of the former owner’s keys. This is one of the simplest and most fundamental ways to maintain your safety and feel in control of your new domain.
- Make an alternative entry plan. It happens to all of us eventually: You misplace your key, or hand it off to a family member and come home alone to an empty, locked house. One simple fallback is to have a numerical code entry on your garage or back door. Another approach is to give a spare key to a trusted friend, family member, or neighbor.
- Be fire safe: Your home inspection should have noted the condition of every smoke detector and carbon monoxide detector in the house, as well as any locations that call for a new one. You should also have the recommended number, size and type of portable fire extinguishers already in place by the time you move in. Learn how to use those extinguishers, and make sure they have been properly inspected. If you have any questions, your local fire station has all the information you need.
- Locate circuit breakers and shut-off valves. In an ideal universe, you’ll never need this knowledge, but it’s always better to be prepared. Find out all the places where water, gas, electricity and heating oil can be shut off. That way, if you develop a plumbing or appliance problem, you won’t have to learn where and how to shut off systems in the midst of chaos. Older homes can surprise you by shutting down part of the electrical system if too much is plugged in on one circuit, so you should learn how to replace a fuse and restart the power.
- Take care of any vital repairs that your home inspection may have alerted you to. These might include issues such as cleaning out the dryer duct, installing new window locks, or baby proofing the cupboards.
- Talk to your insurance company. You’ll want your home insurance or renter’s insurance to apply as soon as you take possession of the home. Emergencies happen when they’re least expected.
Your pets will be disoriented at first, but you can smooth their transition with a bit of planning ahead.
- Ask your vet about anti-anxiety medications or products like "thundershirts" for moving day.
- Make sure your pet is equipped with ID and/or microchip, to protect your peace of mind in case a window or door is accidentally left open.
- Set out your pet's familiar items (kennel, bed, toys, etc) as soon as the animal arrives, and make sure plenty of fresh drinking water is immediately available.
- As much as possible, feed and walk your pet on schedule, because the familiar routine will help them feel secure in a new environment.
- If you can arrange for a professional house cleaning crew to come in and do a quick once-over before you move in, it can brighten your experience of those first few days. The sense of belonging you'll feel in a fresh clean house can make the expense worthwhile.
- Put together a comfort basics kit, to cover your first few days. It should include some of the same essential items you’d pack if you were going on a short trip - as well as the things you’d expect to find in a hotel: phone chargers, medications, bed linens, towels, hand soap, shampoo, toothbrush, makeup, comb, pajamas.
- You may want to pick up some disposable plates and tableware, so you can easily feed your hungry crew. Time to find out which local restaurants are within reach of a delivery app!
And Beyond the Basics
- Consider doing home improvements while the house is still empty. Aesthetic improvements, unlike safety measures, can be postponed… but many people who delay those visual upgrades never get around to doing them. It will never be easier to install a new shower or paint those mustard-color walls!
You're not done with the paperwork when you finally sign the last purchase document. There are a few more pieces that you'll be glad you remembered:
- Change your mailing address. You can do it online: Here’s the official U.S. Postal Service starting page. All you have to do is fill in the simple online answers, and you’re good to go.
- Don’t forget online sellers! If you shop regularly through Amazon or other sites, remember that they use your physical location to send you parcels via UPS or Fed Ex. Just changing your mailing address at the Post Office won’t tell these shippers that you’ve moved, so be sure to update your address at any website that you frequently order from.
- Long distance move? Tell your credit card issuer. If you’re moving to a different state, you may well decide to switch your banking to somewhere local. In the meantime, however, you need your old debit and credit cards to keep working. If you forget to tell your bank you'll be out of the area, their security systems may block your card just when you need it most.
Join the Neighborhood
- Register to vote! Even if you’ve only moved across the street, it’s possible you may be in a different voting precinct. Having an outdated voting address can result in your ballot being disqualified, so it’s important to keep your registration current. Most states let you register to vote or change your voting address online. On the official U.S. Election Assistance Commission website, you can click your state of residence and find the updating procedure.
- Learn where the good stuff is! This is the fun part of moving: discovering the wonderful secrets in your new neighborhood. Is there a pocket park just down the street? A running trail with territorial views? A great off-leash play area? Collect a drawer full of takeout menus from the local restaurants, to buoy you up through the busy days ahead.
We are not only one of the most admired home inspection companies, but we also strive to be good neighbors and community members. For more information, please feel free to look for a WIN Home Inspection expert near you, or call (800) 309-6753. You