Things To Consider When Ready To Move
First of all, congrats on the new digs! Even though it seems like all the hard work of getting your new place is behind you, there are still several steps you’ll want to take to make living in your new home as great as it can be right off the bat. Here are some tips to help you plan to move in (whether you’re a first-time homebuyer, repeat homeowner, or apartment renter).
Moving Essentials You Should Do Right Away
The first thing you should do, now that you have the keys, is change the locks and install deadbolts, if you’re able to. (A note to renters: many states don’t allow renters to change their own locks, while in other cases you may be allowed to if you give the landlord a copy of the key.) I had a friend who, after moving in, had someone who previously lived in her house just walk through the front door—creepy. So go call a locksmith or change the locks yourself if you’re handy like that.
Next, take care of the other basic tasks needed to set up your move, including:
- Changing your address with the post office
- Arranging for your old utilities to be cancelled and changing the new gas, electric, water, garbage, and sewer utilities to your name
- Setting up internet service
- Hiring a reputable mover
- Getting moving boxes
- Inventorying all your possessions (there are a bunch of good tools available to document your stuff)
Take Care of The Messiest Tasks While Your Home Is a Blank Slate
With your home completely empty, you’ve got a unique opportunity to prep it perfectly. As anyone who has tried to remove a popcorn ceiling after moving in can attest, some things are best done without furniture, people, and other obstacles are around. These tasks include:
- Painting or wallpapering the walls, ceiling, and, perhaps, the kitchen cabinets and/or inside of closets (Once your clothes are in there, you know the closets will never get painted). Use a top-down (ceilings, then walls) method to reduce the mess.
- Deep cleaning or replacing carpets or refinishing hardwood floors.
- Anything else that requires sanding, spraying, or other messiness like waxing
- Installing wiring for your home network
Now’s the perfect time also to get your home thoroughly cleaned. Sellers and landlords generally leave homes “broom clean” for new tenants/owners—and “broom clean” is far from spotless. Whether you hire a cleaning company or do the cleaning yourself, you’ll feel much better having the inside of the cupboards clean already when you’re unpacking your dishes. Cleaning out and disinfecting the fridge and replacing the toilet seats. (Nothing says this is my home than brand new toilet seats.)
Make a Checklist of Other Tasks from Your Home Inspection Report
For new homebuyers, you can use your home inspection report to create a move-in preparation checklist. Look at the advice and repair suggestions and create a spreadsheet or other document sorting them by importance and timeliness.
For example, you might have under what to do in the first week:
- Install smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors (or check their batteriees)
- Buy fire extinguishers
- Have furnace inspected and tuned up
Non-urgent tasks, such as having the gutters cleaned or replacing windows, can be given longer timeframes (e.g., within 2 months, 2 years, or 5 years after moving in) and scheduled on your home maintenance calendar.
Get to Know Your New Home and Neighborhood
Maybe the most fun part of all of this is planning how you want to set up each room. Before you move in, measure the rooms and decide how you want to them to function. Walk through all the rooms and photograph them or take videos (a great thing for renters to do to help get the security deposit back, but useful also for homeowners). If you’ve inventoried your possessions, you can plan exactly where you want everything to go. Home design and room planning tools let you virtually place furniture where you want.
Before you get settled in, you might also want to get acquainted with your new neighborhood so you know from day one the number of the pizza or chinese takeout place, when the garbage and recycling gets picked up, and any town ordinances or homeowner association rules you need to abide by. A walk around the neighborhood and web visit to your local government can fill you in on these.
Finally, invite friends to a housewarming party a couple of weeks or a month or two after you move in for some extra motivation in finishing up your move and actually putting things away.
It sounds like a lot of work—and moving is hardly ever fun—but once you’re settled in, all your efforts will have been worth it. Enjoy your new home!