Welcome to the ultimateÂ moving checklistâ€”a list of all the things you should do before moving into your new home.
Let’s face it: With all the excitement of new digs,Â it’s easy to forget some important tasks.Â Plus, certainÂ things are best done while the house is still vacant, long before yourÂ boxes and furnitureÂ are parked in the place. Put these things off, and it becomes all the harder toÂ tackle them later.
So before you moveâ€”or in case youÂ haveÂ moved and are wondering how many of these you hitâ€”check out this moving checklist to know what should be done long beforeÂ you settle in.
1. Turn on utilities
Electric, gas, waterâ€”don’t assume they’ll be on and operational when you arrive. Instead, get all your utilities set up ahead of time.
â€œChances are the seller will be turning them off as of the closing date,â€ saysÂ Greg Beckman, an Annapolis, MD, real estate agent.
2. Set up internet and cableÂ service
Plan on having a â€œProperty Brothersâ€ marathon while youâ€™re unpacking? Have your home wired for service before you arrive, advisesÂ Julie McDonough, a real estate agent in Southern California.
3. Order an energy audit
One of the best ways to cut your energy bill is to order aÂ home energy audit, saysÂ Rachel Foy, a real estate agent in Newton, MA.
An energy audit is a professional assessment of your new homeâ€™s overall energy performance. This will show you how to make your house more energy-efficient (think insulating the attic, weatherstripping windows, sealing air leaks in crawl spaces), so it’s best to have one done and make related repairs before moving in.
A home energy audit costs, on average, about $215 to $600, but some utility companies will do them for free.
4. Do a deep clean
“It’s never easier to do a deep clean than when the house is empty,â€ Beckman says.Â AÂ cleaning service costsÂ around $150. Donâ€™t mindÂ cleaning theÂ home yourself?Â Check out ourÂ House Cleaning Guide, with tips on how to clean a kitchen, bedroom, bathroom, and beyond.
5. Change the locks
This is a basic safety measure; however, â€œit canâ€™t be done until after closing,â€ saysÂ Chris Dossman, a real estate agent in Indianapolis.
6. Test smoke and carbon monoxide detectors
Make sure these areÂ functioning properly to protect your new home from fires and other emergencies. Also, read ourÂ recommendation of theÂ best type of smoke detector.
7. Set up the alarm system
If the home already has a security system installed, call the provider to confirm that service is set up, saysÂ Jennifer Baxter, associate broker at Re/Max Regency in Suwanee, GA.
8. Tackle major home renovations
The last thing you want to do is have to tiptoe around a construction zone after you move in. So, if you want to repaint the home, resand floors, or make any other renovations, doÂ them in advance.
â€œThese projects are best done when the house is empty and usually donâ€™t happen once the furniture shows up,â€ says Foy.
One caveat: â€œYou have the right to bring in vendors for quotes, but work cannot start until you own the home,â€ she adds.
9. Make repairs
Before moving in, Baxter recommends hiring a handyman to do any repairs that the seller didnâ€™t agree to make. Check out our tips onÂ how to hire a great handymanÂ (or woman).
10. Get a home warranty
Imagine waking up one morning to a busted boiler or leaking washer in your brand-new home. AÂ home warrantyÂ covers the cost of repairing many home appliancesâ€”and basic coverage starts at only about $300, saysÂ Shawna BellÂ of Landmark Home Warranty.
11. Buy fire extinguishers
Get one for every level of your home, make sure you know how to use it, and plan an escape route in the event of a fire.
12. Get to know your new house
Figure out where the circuit breaker box and main water shut-off valve are before moving in, so you know how to turn off the electricity or water in an emergency. Also, consider labeling your homeâ€™s electrical panel.
13. Childproof the home
HaveÂ kids? Every year, millions of childrenÂ are hospitalized because of accidents around the home, according to Safe Kids Worldwide. So, before your bundle of joy starts toddling around the house, take steps to fullyÂ childproof your new home.
14. Forward your mail
Donâ€™t forget to update your address with the United States Postal Service. (Visit theÂ Official Postal Service Change of AddressÂ website.) TheÂ postal service charges a $1 fee to verify your identity when changing your address online, so you’ll need a credit or debit card.
Note: TheÂ postal service will stop forwarding periodicals to your new address 60 days after you move, so alert magazines and newspapers that youâ€™ve moved.
15. Update your billing address
Alert your credit card companies, banks, or any other financial institutions of your new address. Also, if you frequently buy anything from a website, you can avoid a future headache by updating your profile with your new address.