Experts say that before you move into your first home, there are some important tasks to complete. They vary slightly depending on whether you’re moving into a home that you bought or rented.
Regardless, they include things like changing your address and setting up utilities. And don’t forget to protect your new investment with homeowners insurance.
1. Change Your Address
There’s a lot to do when you move into your first home. The best way to avoid missteps and roadblocks is to take a thoughtful approach.
Changing your address is an essential part of moving into your new home. Whether you’re renting or buying, it’s important to let everyone from banks and tax agencies to streaming services and subscription boxes know about the change in advance.
It’s also a good idea to notify your employer, daycare and child’s school as well as local community organizations. Having a clear change of address makes it easy for those services to send you information and invoices. Plus, it keeps your identity safe and your bills paid. And it helps ensure that the lights stay on in your new house!
2. Set Up Utilities
You can’t live without electricity, water and Wi-Fi, so you need to make sure utilities are set up before you move in. It’s also important to shut off utilities at your previous home (and get the disconnect date recorded).
You’ll need to know who the utility providers are in your new neighborhood, so ask your real estate agent, landlord or inquire at the municipal building or city hall. You’ll also want to consider if your new community has an HOA, as it may cover some utilities such as cable TV and internet or trash collection.
Once you know who the providers are, give them a call and set up an installation appointment. It’s typically best to contact utilities a few weeks before you move.
3. Inspect Your New Home
A new home can be exciting, but it also comes with a lot of maintenance. Changing locks to keep out previous residents, ensuring smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are working, and making sure water valves are easily accessible are all important things you’ll want to take care of as soon as possible.
Even if you don’t notice any issues, it’s important to have your new home inspected before you move in. This will give you a clear picture of the condition of your home and help you plan for any repairs that may be needed. Look into warranty for appliances to see if your appliances are covered so you can expect to manage your budget correctly.
It’s important to choose an inspector with a good reputation and experience. You’ll also want to make sure they have a thorough understanding of building codes and
standards. Ask for a sample report to see what they include in their reports.
4. Get comfortable
It’s likely the first night in your new home will be a bit unsettling. The noises are different, the neighborhood is foreign and you may sleep with some apprehension because of all the people who had keys to your old house (relatives, neighbors, babysitters and dog walkers).
While it’s a lot to take in on the first night, you can set your anxieties at ease by making a few standard safety precautions. This might include changing the locks, making sure you’re familiar with your gas and electric meters and finding where the key to the water shut-off valve is located.
Similarly, you might want to schedule some maintenance work like painting an accent wall or installing built-in bookshelves before moving in. Having these projects done before you move will save you time and money.
5. Take a Tour
Getting familiar with your new neighborhood is important, as well as learning about nearby businesses, services, and amenities. Apps that can show you reviews and recommendations of restaurants, landscapers, or hairdressers can be helpful in this regard.
Taking a tour of your new home when it’s empty can help you plan where your furniture will go, for example. It’s also a chance to look for any unwanted odors like cigarette smoke or pet odors, and to assess the condition of your new home.
Requesting a home tour during a weekday can also give you a sense of what daily life in your new location might be like. For instance, traffic levels can be very different than on weekends.