You've been packing your things with anticipation, and then it happens, the day you get handed the keys to your new house! It's a moment that definitely ranks as one of the most exciting days of most people's lives, and with good reason!
As you make arrangements for a moving truck and coerce friends to help you lug your stuff up into the house, there are a few things you should be doing that you probably aren't even thinking about.Change the locks
So, if you're like me, the one key the seller was able to find that opened the back door (because no one could find the key to the front door) likely isn't going to be enough – plus, you might want to actually use the front door! So, now's a great time to go to the hardware store for new locks (and extra keys!).
If you had a seller that was a bit more organized, you may have gotten more keys, but you still don't know who they may have given a spare set to, or where a hide-a-key may be. Your best bet is to head to the hardware store for a new set of locks.
You can purchase new deadbolts and install them yourself for as little as $ 10.00, and now you know who has keys to your house.Prepare your house for your stuff
Like most homeowners, we're sure you're eager to move all of your stuff in, but before you do, you may want to take a day to tidy up a bit first. Simple things like cleaning floors, vacuuming / steam cleaning carpets, etc., are far easier to do before your stuff is there. Take advantage of this rare opportunity to do the easiest house cleaning of your life!
You can hire a carpet cleaning service to clean the carpets for you, or rent a carpet shampooer / steam cleaner from many hardware stores for about $ 30.00 per day.Clean out your cabinets
Putting your stuff in dirty cabinets can just be icky. Before you unpack the kitchen or bathroom, just take a few minutes to wipe out the cabinets and shelves so that you have a nice clean surface to put your glasses and plates on. Doesn't that just feel better?Familiarize yourself with the house
Do you know where the circuit breaker is? Are the breakers labeled and accurate (surprise! – mine weren't)? Do you know where the water shutoff is and how to operate it?
Starting with the breaker box, have one person stay upstairs while another goes downstairs and trips the breakers one at a time. Once the person upstairs figures out what turned off, you can label the breaker and move on to the next one. It's less exciting than unpacking your stuff, but it's one of the most important parts of moving into a new home.
When looking for your water shutoff, keep in mind that there may be multiple shutoffs. Sometimes there may be shutoffs under kitchen or bathroom sinks, or behind toilets. These are handy to know about, but the main shutoff (often in the basement) is the one you want to locate. This allows you to shutoff all of the water in the house should you go out of town for an extended period of time, or in the event of a Pipe Break.
Locate and check your fire / smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Test them to ensure they are working, and check to make sure they aren't expired. Since there's no way of knowing when the prior owners last changed the batteries, it's always a good idea to replace the batteries in all of your smoke detectors now as well.Do a walkthrough of the house
While this is particularly important for homes that were vacant for any length of time, it is useful whenever moving in to a new home. Take some time to walk through the house periodically looking for anything of concern. Leaky pipes (which could result in Water Damage and Mold Growth), running toilets (which can add significant expense to your water bill), and damaged shingles are just a few things to look out for. It's a good idea to conduct regular inspections on your house so that you can catch these things early. We recommend a walkthrough in the Spring and Fall.Complete your first round of maintenance
Being a homeowner is all about taking care of your investment, so why not start right away? Change out the filters in your furnace, clean out the gutters, have your Ductwork Cleaned, clean your Dryer Exhaust Hose, etc.
Many of these tasks take very little time to complete and even less expense! Changing the air filters in your furnace for instance only takes a few minutes and costs about $ 15 - $ 30. Dirty filters cause your furnace to use more oil or gas so this can also save you money in the long run.
Here in Northeastern Pennsylvania most basements are moist or have a high relative humidity. Over time this can cause mold contamination to grow in the basement if not addressed. Check for any evidence of moisture and check the relative humidity. You can buy a tool to test for this at most hardware stores rather cheaply. If the relative humidity is above 55% in the basement you should consider running a dehumidifier to control this airborne moisture.
Completing a little maintenance now will ensure that everything is running in tip top shape and will allow you to recognize any potential issues quickly.Evict critters and pests
When I bought my house, we had a serious bat problem in the attic. While they're very beneficial creatures, they need to find their own house… After doing a great deal of research on the subject, I found a service that was able to humanely relocate my unwelcome guests and seal off the house so that they couldn't move back in. They're now living happily in their own homes…
Whether it's mice, squirrels, or bats, both them and you will be much happier with them back outside.
Congratulations on your new home! While a home comes with many new responsibilities, they also bring with them a lot of opportunities and some amazing memories.
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