Closing on your first home is exciting and often a nerve-racking experience. After months of looking for the right house, finding your way by the mortgage course of action, and then finally signing your closing papers at the title company is cause for celebration. At this point, you are likely waiting for the call from your real estate agent to let you know when you can get the keys to your new house. Before you move into your new house, there is a list of things you should do to make sure your new home is clean and safe.
The following is a to-do list, before moving into your new home:
1. Change the Locks – If the past homeowners have lived in the house for a longtime, it is likely that there are numerous sets of keys floating around. The past homeowner may have additional sets of keys and possibly so do their children, relatives, neighbors, housekeeper, handyman, contractor, real estate agent, etc. In the interest of your family’s safety, you should change the locks to the front and back doors before you move into the house.
2. Garage Door Opener- Just as there may be multiple keys to the front and back door of the house, there may be additional garage door openers. It is in your best interest to call a lock smith and change the security code for your garage door opener.
3. Contact an Exterminator – If a pest inspection was not part of your buy agreement, then prior to moving into your new house, you should have the character inspected for termites, ants, bees, and mice. Since the house is vacant, any treatments will be easier and the chemicals will not get on your belongings. If pests are found, you will not have to worry about your children or pets being exposed to toxic substances. If you have already had a pest inspection and it came back negative; you may want to use a bug bomb just to make sure there aren’t any unwanted pests, such as: fleas, mites, or spiders prior to moving in.
4. Thoroughly Clean the House – Prior to moving your belongings in the house, you should give the house a thorough cleaning, this will remove any unwanted dust and debris from the past owners. If possible, paying a cleaning company to clean the house would be the best option. If you decide to clean the house yourself, create a checklist of areas to clean such as: the floors, bathrooms, kitchen, baseboards, windows, oven, shelves, and drawers. Remember to replace the shelf-paper in the kitchen cabinets and linen closet.
5. Moving Day – When moving day final arrives, make sure you are not taking anything you will just throw away at your new house. It would be better to throw it out, instead of burdening yourself with additional boxes to move.
6. Inspect Your Belongings – If you are paying a mover to move some or all of your belongings, thoroughly inspect the items they have moved prior to signing the final work order. Check for any broken, scratched, or missing items.
7. Window Treatments- If you intend to keep some or all of the existing window treatments, they should be washed or cleaned prior to moving your belongings into the house. If you are replacing some or all or the window coverings, it is advisable to address the most basic rooms first, such as: the bathrooms, bedrooms, and first floor windows. You want to avoid neighbors or a passerby from seeing something inappropriate.
8. Introduce yourself to the Neighbors – Once you are settled in, it is a good idea to take a walk around your new neighborhood and introduce yourself to the people who live around you. The more familiar you and your family become with your surroundings, the more comfortable everyone will feel.
Moving can be tiring and stressful. It is better to make sure the house is thoroughly clean and safe prior to moving in; this will help limit any unexpected problems. Trying to change the locks, checking for pest problems, and cleaning the house during your move may be overwhelming. Once you’re settled in your new home, you will have other to-do lists, such as: shopping for equipment to keep the house in livable condition. These items include: lawn mowers, snow blowers, and lawn equipment; which are all tools that you will need to have shortly after you move into your new house. Moving doesn’t have to be a race, take your time, be proactive, and enjoy your new house.