Change the locks + 10 other things to do when you move into your new home

September 18, 2017

While getting the keys to your new home can make you feel like you’re on top of the world, don’t forget to make a list of these important tasks that should happen prior to (or shortly after) moving in.


Get Your Utilities Up And Running

You should have arranged the connection of the main house utilities before the move, but if you haven’t done it for one reason or another, do so without delay. Naturally, the first utility companies to call are the power and water providers – things will look much brighter and smoother once you have electricity, gas and running water in your new house.


Deep cleaning

If you have a few days between the closing date of your new home & moving in, consider performing a good deep cleaning. If the home has carpet, this would be a great time to get the carpets cleaned as well. Without a doubt, unpacking will also leave you with tons of garbage, dust and dirt. Scrub down those floors, bathrooms and kitchen, every nook and cranny before you have any furniture to deal with!

We have a lengthy list of amazing vendor partners we’d love to connect you with – either for your carpet cleaning or your professional cleaning needs!

Change your address as soon as you have clear to close 

It’s as clear as day (any day except Moving day!) that your new home comes with a new address. Set a reminder for yourself to make the change, just to make sure your next credit card bill doesn’t end up at your old home.

This reminder is also a great opportunity to inform your friends of your changed postal address. The easiest way to let your pals know where you will be living from now on is to “leak” the info on your preferred social network. Simply post “I’ve moved!” on your favorite social media network, or (our favorite) send out a snail mail card, and all your friends will be congratulating you in a few minutes.

If you’ve changed cities, don’t forget to update your information on the voter’s registration for your local area. You can do it quickly from this website.


Change the locks

We highly recommend our clients buy new locks, or rekey the existing locks, of all outside doors to their new home. It’s hard to know who really had access or an extra key to the home in the past. Install new deadbolts yourself for as little as $10 per lock, or call a locksmith — if you supply the new locks, they typically charge about $20 to $30 per lock for labor. If you need a great local locksmith, let us know! Don’t forget to double-check all windows and doors and make sure they are closed securely.


Treat for pests

Some sellers may have had termite & pest control service regularly. Even so, the quality of the service may not be stellar. If you decide to hire another professional pest control service, before you move in is a great time to get the home treated for pests. Some treatments require you to leave the home for a period of time, so take advantage of the fact you haven’t moved in yet. If you are planning to shampoo your new home’s carpets, do so before pest treatment as it will maximize the treatment benefits.


Change the Filters

The average home has a lot of filters. Change them all when you move in. This includes: 1) the Aeration filters in kitchen and bathroom spigots, 2) the air filter in the heating and air conditioning unit, and 3) the vent filter above the stove, 4) the dryer vent. Aerators cost about $7 each, and if there’s been an accumulation of sediment over the years, replacing them will improve the water pressure. Range vent filters can run $10 to $30, while heating and air filters are available for $5 to $30. Double check the dryer vent to make sure it’s not clogged, especially if the seller left the dryer with the sale of the home. Who knows how often they changed these before, right?

Check for plumbing leaks

Your home inspector should do this during your home inspection at the beginning of the contract-to-close period, but it never hurts to double-check again during the final walkthrough before closing day, and once you move in. We have had several clients run into plumbing or sewer issues in the first 60 days after closing.

Keep an eye out for dripping faucets and running toilets, and check your water heater for signs of a leak.

Here’s a neat trick: Check your water meter at the beginning and end of a two-hour window in which no water is being used in your house. If the reading is different, you have a leak.


Check & install fire alarms + carbon monoxide detector

While most homes should have fire alarms installed correctly, make sure that they are up to code and have fresh batteries. Not all homes will have carbon monoxide detectors, but we recommend installing at least one in each home. If you aren’t able to find a fire extinguisher left behind from the sellers, now is a good time to place one on each level of your home. Safety first friends!


Connect all appliances

Whether appliances have been sold with the home or you have brought your own, make sure they all get connected properly. It takes time for a fridge to begin cooling enough to store food and drinks. How long do you have to let a fridge sit after moving it? It’s recommended to leave your fridge upright on it’s final kitchen spot for at least 3 hours before you plug it back in and turn it on after moving. This is roughly the time it takes for the oil, which must have escaped the compressor & flown down into the cooling lines, to return to the heart of the cooling mechanism – the compressor. Don’t wait until you’re starving or need a cool drink to get around to this!


Recycle Packing Materials

Unpacking will leave you with plenty of packing materials which you may no longer need. Of course, a number of the moving boxes you used during the relocation will be in such a bad shape that you will have no other option but to throw them away for recycling. Many boxes will be good enough to either keep for storage needs or pass on to friends! We always have clients in need of more boxes, so we’ll be happy to connect you to another person who could use your leftover boxes, packing paper or other packing supplies.

Greet Your New Neighbors

Everybody needs a bit of guidance when placed in a completely unfamiliar environment. New house, new neighborhood, new city, new state – it’ll take some time before this strange sense of unfamiliarity goes away. And until then, it’s the exciting prospect of making new friends to get you through the acclimatization process quickly and smoothly.

As you’re unpacking the truck & cars, or taking out trash, consider our “Always” rule. The always rule means that when you see a new neighbor you don’t know, pause whatever you’re doing and meet them. Always. The initial introduction is not only a sign of good manners, but it’s also a chance for you to befriend local people who will undoubtedly help you learn your way around your new living area.


Want more home buying advice? The Catalyst Home Team blog is great place to start for homebuyer education. Text or email us today to help you get a head start on the home buying journey!

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