The New House Checklist: Post-Move Essentials

You’ve finally got all of your belongings into your new home, but don’t lose steam now! You’re in the final stretch of your new home checklist, and there are just a few more essentials to get through. It’s a good idea to set a daily (or weekly) goal for yourself when it comes to these final steps. Be realistic, stick to your schedule, and you’ll be settled in before you know it.

1. Recruit family and friends to help unpack

The more hands on deck the better. Those first few days of unpacking can be made a whole lot easier if you recruit (or rather, entice with food and drink) a couple of close friends for the first big haul. To make the process run smoother, set deadlines and figure out the most logical order of unpacking. Before you know it, your new home will actually start looking like, well, a home.

2. Change your locks

Who knows what the previous owners did with their keys? Whether you hire a locksmith or reinstall the locks on your own, it’s a simple task, and it will give you peace of mind. You’re always better off safe than sorry.

3. Locate shut-off valves

In the event that there is an emergency leak or you’re doing repairs and you need to shut off your water, it’s necessary to locate your shut-off valves. Many houses and apartment buildings have a number of cut-off points to stop the water at its source. From your own shut-off valve, to your water company’s shut off valve, to the water meter, there are many locations to get familiar with — both inside and potentially outside your home.

4. Locate the circuit-breaker

Every once in a while you may need to replace a fuse or reset a circuit breaker (just try running your hair dryer and air conditioner in the same room at the same time!) And if there’s a power outage, you don’t want to be searching through the dark to find it. Common locations for circuit breakers are outdoors, in basements or garages, in storage closets, or in hallways. Also, be sure you know the difference between a circuit-breaker and a fuse box, in the event you need to restore power.

5. Set up your home security system

Moving is one of the best times to set up home security. If you already have a system in place or are tied to a contract, be sure to call your provider or update your information online. Smart or DIY home security systems are a great option for renters and homeowners who want more flexibility, so take some time to shop around if you’re selecting your first home security system.

6. Decide on a lock-out solution

You will get locked out of your house every once in a blue moon – it happens! What’s important is that you have a backup plan for when the time comes. Some common ideas are to hide a key under your doormat or to install a garage code (if you have a garage), but you can be as creative as you’d like. Maybe you have a buddy down the street who holds on to an extra key, or you’ve slid one under a planter. Whatever the case, be prepared!

7. Test your smoke detectors

Installing a smoke detector is an easy and inexpensive way to protect you and your loved ones in the event of a fire. However, smoke detectors can fail you when you need them most if you don’t address their malfunctions. This is why testing your new home’s smoke detectors is so important. Light a few matches or spray a smoke test aerosol in front of each sensor every month or two to ensure they’re working.

8. Check out your HVAC system

Your HVAC system, (A/C and furnace) is a necessity, and an expensive one at that. For the sake of heating, cooling, and big bucks, it’s important that you, a property manager, or a technician checks out your HVAC system in the weeks following your move. Inspect your heating and cooling units, insulation, and ducts, for warning signs that something’s off. If it looks like maintenance is needed, get on top of it as soon as you can. Although it’s a pain, it’s a worthwhile investment!

9. Create a home maintenance checklist

It’s a good idea to perform seasonal maintenance checks to ensure your new home is in good shape. Some of these maintenance checks you may not have had to do at your previous home — things like cleaning the gutters, landscaping, unclogging bathroom drains, or checking up on snow plow services may be relevant to you now. Gather the contact info from local services for when the time comes.

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