Your belongings are boxed up, the moving truck is scheduled and you've recruited family and friends to help unload on moving day. Moving to a new home is an exciting, albeit exhausting, task. Before you start unloading the moving truck, here's a list of to-do items you should take care of before you fill your new home with boxes.
Change the Locks
At closing, you'll receive the keys to your home, but as soon as you get them it's a good idea to replace the locks on all exterior doors. You don't know how many spare keys were made by the previous owners and who they gave them to, so for peace of mind and home security, replace them yourself or hire a locksmith to do it for you.
While it's common courtesy for previous owners to do a sweep before moving out, it's not always the case. Even if the sellers did leave the home in a relatively clean state, it's a good idea to go over it again before moving all of your stuff in. At a minimum, perform these cleaning tasks:
- Wash down cabinets, counters and plumbing fixtures.
- Clean the carpets. You can rent a steam carpet cleaner for around $30/day or hire a professional for approximately $50/room. If the previous owner had pets, the latter is suggested.
- Mop and steam clean hard surface floors.
- Clean the refrigerator, oven, and microwave thoroughly.
- Wipe down crown molding and baseboards.
- Wash blinds/window coverings and screens.
- Dust vents, fans, and light fixtures.
Replace Old, Mismatched or Damaged Fixtures
Mismatched outlets, cover plates, air vent covers, etc. are relatively common in an older home. Make the investment to replace those that are cracked, rusted, outdated, etc. The uniformity will make your home feel incredibly updated.
Call Your Providers
Want your internet and cable hooked up in your new place ASAP? It’s a good idea to call ahead of your move, as service dates can be booked out for weeks. If you have a regular lawn care team or exterminator who automatically comes to your home, you’ll need to get in touch with them too, regardless of whether you continue to use their services at your new home.
Have the Mechanical Systems Serviced
Depending on the last service date of the previous owner, it may be a good idea to have the heating and cooling systemsinspected, cleaned and serviced. It may also be beneficial to have air ducts professionally cleaned to remove built up dust, pet hair, etc.
Call the Exterminator
Even if there are no known pests in the home, it's a good idea to have an exterminator come spray for routine nuisances. You never know what critters have made your house home, especially if the house sat vacant for a while.
Freshen Up the Paint
Before creating an obstacle course of furniture in your home, paint any rooms that you planned to paint prior to moving in, if possible. Even if you're not doing a whole-house makeover, you'll be surprised with how much a fresh coat of trim and ceiling paint can brighten your home's appearance.
Know where your main circuit breaker is and test it to make sure each label is assigned correctly. It's also a good idea to locate where the main water shut-off valve is and test to make sure all of your smoke detectors are in working order.
Change Your Address
After closing, you’ll want to alert the post office, as well as your bank and credit card carriers, that you’ve had a change of address as soon as possible. Don’t rely on the new tenants of your old home to forward your mail.
Shut Off the Utilities at Your Old Home
Though it sounds like a given, notifying your utility company of your move can easily be forgotten amongst all of your moving tasks. Even if someone is going to move into your old home immediately after you move out, some utility companies don’t let new occupants to set up an address in their name without a cancellation from the previous occupants first.
Pack a “First Night” Box
Whether you’re moving across town or across the state, a first night box is an essential moving tip. Fill it with all of the essentials you’ll need on your first night in your new home. Pajamas, toiletries, bedding, trash bags, toilet paper, a multi-use cleaning product, towels, etc. are typical items to pack.
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