Just recently I had a friend who purchased a new home—closing day came along and they felt as though they had all their ducks in a row, ready to sign papers and move into their new home. It was a Friday morning, they got the keys to their new home and were excited to start moving their things. Their excitement waned a bit when they realized that they’d forgotten to schedule for their electric and water to be switched over and turned on at a new address. And so, as they began the moving process they had no lights, no running water, and most importantly (considering the fact that it was July in Florida) no air conditioning.
It’s so easy, even when you are normally good at making sure everything is done and taken care of, to miss something. And one little thing that is missed in the moving process can make it incredibly difficult and steal the joy of new homeownership with the flip of a switch. And so we’ve made a checklist of the 5 most important steps to ensuring a seamless move into a new home.
1. Change Your Locks
Schedule to have the locks changed the day of closing. Although you are supposed to be given all copies of the house keys at the closing table, it is still a good idea to have the locks to your new home changed that day, just in case there are any other spare keys floating around. Your closing shouldn’t take any more than a few hours, so if you have a morning closing time, schedule to have a locksmith come in the afternoon to change your locks. You will sleep soundly that night knowing that you, and only you, have the key to your new home.
2. Change Utilities
Get the electric and water company information for your area and call ahead to schedule everything to be switched over and turned on. Don’t end up like my friends who had to move with no electricity. It was such an inconvenient and frustrating situation that could have been altogether avoided had this been done. Ask your realtor for the preliminary closing disclosure, which you will need to provide to the utilities companies, so that you can schedule to have them turn everything on in your name. It is incredibly simple and can be done at least several days in advance.
3. Change Your Mailing Address
Change your mailing address. This seems like a pretty obvious one, though many forget to do it. Make sure that all of your bank information, credit card bills, car insurance, etc. are all switched over to your new address. All of those documents contain quite a bit of personal and private information that you certainly wouldn’t want in the wrong hands.
4. Do A Walkthrough
Conduct a thorough walkthrough and be sure that everything looks as it did the day of inspection. Be sure that there is no new damage and that everything was in the same condition as when you last left it. Once the closing documents are signed, there is no more negotiating. You are now the sole owner of your home and are responsible for it.
5. Plan for A Deep Cleaning
Plan for a few hours of deep cleaning before beginning to move your belongings. As much as we would love it to be able to move into a spotless and immaculate home, a lot of times this is not the case. Seller’s tend to find that leaving the place empty means that they’ve done what is required of them, and so the deep cleaning doesn’t get done. Carpets aren’t vacuumed, shampooed, or steamed, floors aren’t swept and mopped, countertops aren’t wiped down. I know how frustrating it is to have to clean when you weren’t planning to. Prepare yourself for that possibility, hire a cleaner or come prepared with your own products and tools. You may be pleasantly surprised with an already clean space. If not, you are ready for anything!
These are the five biggest steps that most new homeowners should think about and take when preparing to close and move into a newly purchased property. They may seem like common sense or obvious things to do, but with all the hubbub that follows such a large purchase, even the biggest and most obvious of things can be overlooked.
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