After you've made it through the home-buying process, you're eager to settle into your new home. But before you can get to the fun parts of homeownership such as unpacking and decorating -- all the things it takes to make the space your own -- a few housekeeping items need tending to. But don't worry, they shouldn't take long, and you'll be well on your way to calling your new house "home" in no time.
1. Switch Out the Locks
First things first after moving into a new home -- establishing home security. With a previous owner in the picture, there's no way to know where all the keys to the property are. Perhaps the previous owner forgot to give you the copy they hid as backup, or one of their family members or friends has a spare key on their keychain.
While one can hope that communication is on the up and up for that previous owner, one of those keys might somehow find its way to your front door. It's safest to switch out the locks and start fresh.
2. Establish Utility Service
Everyone can agree that running water, electricity and gas are crucial components of a livable home. Call and establish service with each provider as soon as possible to ensure you can end your move-in day with a nice, hot shower.
3. Set up Internet Service
A day or two to unplug every once in a while is healthy, but technology today makes internet service a must. Do your research to determine the best provider in your area and connect as soon as possible so you can set up your home office, home security cameras and entertainment devices.
4. Decide if You Want a Home Warranty
While some home purchases come with a home warranty, not all do. If this is something that you're interested in, but it wasn't part of the contract, you can purchase one now. Consider tailoring a warranty to include certain appliances such as the water heater and heating, ventilation and air conditioning system that, when broken, are not only a significant inconvenience but are also expensive to fix or replace.
5. Replace Batteries
Can you imagine lying down in bed after a long day of unpacking to hear the screeching sound of one of your smoke detectors? There's no better time to do a walk-through of your home and replace the batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors than when you first move in. Plus, it starts the clock for you to keep track of them on a regular maintenance list (recommended every six months) and avoid those unfortunate middle-of-the-night disturbances.
6. Notify Invested Parties of Your New Address
If you've ever wondered how many people have your address saved, move into a new home. Every insurance, website, credit card, bank and service provider account you have has an address on file and requires an update for its system. Notifying the masses is a tedious but necessary step of moving to make everything else in your life run smoothly.
7. Refresh the Space
Now you get to dabble into the funner stuff where you see your home come to life. Your new investment might need a little project here and there -- some paint on the walls and a thorough cleaning. If you can, take advantage of the empty rooms to work free of clutter and obstacles and wait to receive your household goods until you have your home ready for your everyday stuff.
8. Establish a Regular Maintenance Routine
A home is one of the most significant financial investments you'll make, so create a plan to care for it as such by jotting down regular maintenance lists. These lists can encompass everything from weekly and monthly tasks such as wiping down the baseboards, cleaning the dishwasher, and replacing A/C filters, to seasonal tasks such as clearing out debris from the gutters, pressure-washing the driveway and replacing batteries in the smoke detectors. Establishing this routine now allows you to provide preventative care for your home, versus paying for repairs should things start to break from neglect.
If you made it through these steps, it's time to take a deep breath. Now you can focus less on the tedious to-do's of moving and more on turning your new house into a home. Looking for a few ideas? Check out 5 Smart Hacks for New Military Homeowners.
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