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 home ownership with the flip of a switch. And so we’ve made a checklist of the 20 most important steps to ensuring a seamless move into a new home.
Here are 20 key steps ensuring a seamless move into your new home. As a bonus, here’s a free download to some printable moving labels.
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 utility 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
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!
6. Paint The Home Before Moving In
If you happen to have the luxury of a little bit of time before moving any belongings, plan to paint the home, or hire someone to paint, before you begin the moving process. It will be so much easier to paint without the hassle of removing things from the wall, pushing all of your furniture to the center of the room, covering everything with tarps, and so on. By taking two or three days prior to moving and getting that done, you can save yourself a world of frustration and effort.
7. Take A Thorough Inventory
Take a thorough inventory of your belongings, especially if you’re using a moving company. It may seem like a tedious and unnecessary thing to do, but at the end of the day, you most certainly won’t regret it. We are all human and we all forget things and misplace things and if you’re using a moving company, you’ll want to have a list of such things just in case something does go missing. You’ll at least have a record and know where it should be and whether or not you should be concerned.
8. Stock Up On Moving Supplies
Make sure to stock up on boxes, tape, bubble wrap, markers, and any other moving supplies. There’s nothing more frustrating than trying to get things packed up and organized and not having what you need on hand. It slows the process down and puts it on hold, which no one enjoys when you are eyeballs deep in dishes with nothing to wrap them in to make sure they don’t break.
9. Make Sure Your Smoke Alarms Are Functioning Properly
Install any missing smoke alarms and make sure all have fresh batteries. You’ll definitely want to make sure that the home has the necessary smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in each room before moving into the home and sleeping there. It’s also a good idea to go ahead and put fresh batteries in all of them. After two weeks of being in my new home, the battery in my bedroom smoke detector died and the alarm went off in the middle of the night—it wasn’t a pleasant way to wake up, especially since I was still getting used to the newness of my home and sleeping there.
10. Invest In A Fire Extinguisher
No one plans to set a fire in their home, but accidents happen. To be safe, have at least one fire extinguisher that you keep in your kitchen. Store it in the pantry or under the sink. It doesn’t need to be on display, but it’s always a good idea to have one.
11. Childproof Your Home
Childproof your home as soon as possible. Obviously, this is only relevant if you have children—however, if you do and they are young, make sure one of the first things you do when moving in is to childproof. While you are absorbed moving and all that comes along with that, you don’t want your toddler to be able to shove that stray screwdriver into the uncovered outlet.
12. Keep All Of Your Receipts
If you ever do any work from home or have an office in your home, a lot of what you do could be considered tax deductible (though you should always consult an accountant before deciding what can and can’t be included). Hold onto those receipts and keep track of any and all home improvements.
13. Inspect Your Appliances
Make sure that all of your major appliances work. If you have had your major appliances moved into the home by a mover, make sure that nothing was damaged or broken in the move and that it was all installed properly. If they have potentially broken something, you will want to know as soon as possible in order to make a claim.
14. Check For Leaks
As you are getting settled into your new home and beginning to use your kitchen and bathroom sinks and the showers and tubs, pay close attention to the plumbing and pipes and keep your eyes open for signs of leaks anywhere. The sooner something like that is caught, the easier it is to fix.
15. Clean & Wipe Down Kitchen Cabinets & Drawers
The plates you eat off of and the silverware you use are all going in those cabinets. You’ve no idea how clean or unclean the inhabitants of the home were before you moved it—better safe than sorry. Take a little extra time to clean all of those nooks and crannies before putting your belongings in them.
16. Get A List Of Recommended Vendors
Get a list of recommended vendors from your Real Estate Agent. As agents, we know a lot of people and have access to a lot of different businesses that do work on homes. Simply ask for that list and you won’t have to scour the internet for hours to find a company that you think may do good work, though you don’t know much about their references. This list would have been compiled through word of mouth and those who have had good experiences with such companies.
17. Find A Good Pest Control Company
Regardless of what time of year it may be and how clean the house may seem, you want to make sure that you find and schedule a visit from a good and reputable pest control company every month. If pests don’t appear to be an issue when you move in, you’ll want to keep it that way. Prevention is so much easier than resolving a problem that developed due to lack of prevention.
18. Find The Circuit Panel & The Main Water Valve
Storms knock electricity out. Two blow dryers, a straightener, a curling iron, and an assortment of chargers all plugged into one bathroom and short circuit a room and cut the power out. Pipes burst and water gushes out. Having to figure out where to go and what button to push or valve to turn in the middle of that happening is never fun to deal with. Figuring out where all of that is ahead of time, labeling it, and familiarizing yourself with it can help keep you calm in an otherwise stressful situation.
19. Walk Your Neighborhood
Walk your neighborhood and get to know the area and your new neighbors. If you have kids or pets, be friendly and amicable and introduce yourself. Not only will new neighbors appreciate the effort, but you’ll feel more comfortable know who and what surrounds your new home. No need to bake brownies or cookies for the neighbors and knock on doors (unless you want to, then I say go for it!), but when walking by, make the effort to wave and smile and invite a conversation. Most of the time that’s all it takes to get a neighbor to stop and talk.
20. Plan A Housewarming Party
Once all is said and done and the house cleaned, painted, and organized; once all of your belongings are unpacked and there is a place for everything and everything in its place go on ahead and reward yourself with a much-deserved party. All of your friends and family will be wanting to see your new home and everything you’ve done with it. Invite your new neighbors and get to know them on a more personal level. If you care to take a more adult route, make it a “stock the bar” party and have everyone bring a bottle of their favorite adult beverage to stock your bar with. Take pride in the home you’ve purchased and the care and effort you put into making it yours!
Take care in making sure that you get the smallest of things done all the way up to the biggest of things. Some of these may seem obvious and like common sense, but when you’re going through the process and in the middle of it, things can get overlooked—even those things that would bite you in the face if it were a snake. Moving into a new home is generally stressful and frustrating and it seems as though everything that can go wrong does.
But the process is worth it—you’ve got a roof over your head and a home that you’ve put your blood, sweat, and tears into.
We’re not your typical Orlando Realtor. We’re a real estate team consisting of different talents, strengths, and backgrounds. Coming together to achieve a common goal. Helping you.