As a new homeowner, this is an exciting time in your life. You’ve just bought a new house and you’re getting ready to move. You spend your time daydreaming about where your furniture is going to go, creating floor plans, and writing out interior design ideas so that you can make your new house a home.
With all the excitement and celebrations typically involved with this milestone, it’s completely normal to focus on the fun things involved in buying a new home. However, it’s essential to take some safety measures and set yourself up for success before you settle into your new digs.
The period between your offer being accepted and approval on financing, and when the deal actually closes and you receive the keys is a busy one. You’re usually allowed a couple of walk-throughs of your soon-to-be home with your real estate agent during this time. (The details of this would be included in your Agreement of Purchase and Sale.) Use these appointments as an opportunity to measure for window coverings and appliances, and assess the home’s condition with fresh eyes. During these walk-throughs, the house will be properly lived-in rather than staged, giving you a slightly different perspective from when you viewed it at the showing or open house.
You’ll also use this time to take care of pre-move tasks. You’ll need to make sure your furniture will fit, order appliances, arrange for movers, set up utilities and Internet, find out how property taxes are paid, and a host of other things. Pro Tip: Staying organized will do wonders for your sanity during this hectic time!
What’s the first thing a new homeowner should do after taking possession?
Once the deal has closed and you have the keys, the home is officially yours. If you have the luxury of time, you might want to do a couple of things before the movers arrive. Now would be the perfect time to have your new home thoroughly cleaned while it is empty. It is also an excellent time to have an exterminator do an inspection and even a preventative spray. Nobody wants to inherit somebody else’s issues!
If you’re in a position where you have extra time before moving in, this is the perfect time to paint! With no furniture or décor in the way, the painting will be easier and faster.
Change the Locks
Changing the locks should be done right away; after all, you have no idea how many people have spare keys. It’s just a smart thing to do.
Update Your Address
This is something you can do before you move in. However, there is always something that gets overlooked. Sign up for mail forwarding at the post office to avoid missing mail. When mail arrives with the forwarding markings (either printed on the envelope or with a yellow sticker), contact the sender and provide your new mailing address. Don’t forget to update subscriptions like subscription boxes or printer ink; you don’t want them going to your previous address.
Change the Batteries in the Smoke Detectors
You’ll have no idea how fresh the smoke detector’s batteries are. Change them right away for peace of mind. After replacing the batteries in both your smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors, test them to make sure they work.
Change Your HVAC System’s Filter
Anything circulating through your home’s HVAC system gets breathed in again and again. Install a fresh filter and vacuum your home’s cold air returns. This will also reduce allergens, particularly pet dander from the previous occupants. You might even consider having your ducts cleaned to improve your new home’s indoor air quality.
Get Things Checked Out
Unless a home inspection was performed at the time of sale, which is sometimes omitted in a hot market but always recommended, you really have little idea what condition the home is in. Having things like your plumbing, electrical, roof and HVAC systems inspected will give you a better idea of what you’re dealing with and potential expenses on the horizon. Rather than individual tradespeople, you might just spring for your own home inspection to get a full report on your home’s systems. The home inspection report can become your maintenance to-do list over the following months.
Moving into a new home is sometimes chaotic, but always exciting. A new homeowner should aways take the time to do it right and learn how the house works. After all, you’re going to be spending a lot of time together.