Top Things New Homeowners Should Do Immediately

New Homeowners


Are you in the market for a new house? Whether you are looking for a first home or you are changing homes, make sure you take a moment to assess what needs to be changed in your new residence. Use this list as a reference for things you should do when you buy a new house.

Walk Through the House
You’ve just bought a new house – did the previous owner leave things behind? Did anything break during the move? Walk through the property and see what needs to be fixed, replaced or can be removed. This is also a good time to see if anything was left from the move. Be sure to check any outdoor areas as well, as garden pots, hoses, outdoor furniture and even trampolines can get left behind.

Change All the Locks  carpenter at door lock installation This should be a top priority. You might have received a few keys at closing, but who knows how many duplicate keys to your new home are out there. Change all locks on doors that have outside access. This is also a great time to reprogram any garage door openers/remotes/keypads as these things are often overlooked by new owners.

Change Your Address
It’s highly likely you’ll receive mail for the previous owner. Be sure to update your address with the Post Office, your employer, credit card companies, investment companies, all utility companies, and any other company or service you receive mail from. If you do receive mail for the previous owner, write “No Longer at This Address” on the envelope and place it back in the mailbox.

Change Batteries in Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors
These things save lives, and there’s no guarantee that the previous owner practiced good upkeep on these vital parts of your home. Replace all the batteries in the detectors, and make sure to run a test on each detector to make sure it’s in working order. If the house is older, you might want to consider replacing the detectors for more current and up-to-date models. This is also a good time to locate any fire extinguishers in the house, or make a plan on where to place fire extinguishers. Check that the extinguishers are still charged and in working order.

Learn and Label Fuse/Panel BoxCircuit breaker box
You’ve purchased a home – it’s important you understand how it runs! The electrical panel handles all the electricity in your house, and it’s important to know where it’s located in the home and which outlet each circuit goes to. Sometimes the previous owner has already done this for you, but if not, you can do it manually by turning off one breaker at a time and checking which room or rooms have gone dark. It’s also important to locate the main disconnect, which handles all the power to the house and is used in emergency situations.

Put Flashlights in Every Room
No one anticipates the power going out, but it’s best to be ready if it happens. You can buy flashlights are your local hardware or big box store. LED flashlights will last for a long time, and they provide a large amount of light compared to their size. Be sure you have spare batteries, and make sure you have a flashlight in the high traffic areas of your home: kitchen, bedrooms, main bathroom and garage. Flashlights are not only useful when the power is out, but they also come in handy for basic improvement projects and when you need extra light.

Heating PipesLearn Where the Main Water and Gas Shutoffs Are
You have a water leak or a gas leak – do you know how to turn off the water or the gas into the house? Locating the main water and gas shut offs before an emergency will save you time and could possibly save your life. It’s just general good homeowner practice to know where these important fixtures are. The main water shutoff should be located near the water meter, which is either located outside in a warmer climate area and inside in a cooler climate area. If you have natural gas in your home, the main shutoff valve will be located just before the gas meter.

Find The Sewer/Water Lines and Septic Tank
As a homeowner, you’ll likely (at some point) want to do updates to your home. These updates can also include construction in the yard. It’s important to know where your home’s sewer and water lines/pipes are in the yard so you avoid hitting them during any demolition – most of the time, if you hit one on your property, you’re responsible for fixing it, not the utility company. If your new home is on a septic system, it’s incredibly important to know where the septic tank is located and where any septic lines are in the yard.

Clean All Major AppliancesHands cleaning refrigerator.
Unless you’re purchasing brand new appliances for your home, it’s a smart decision to clean all of the major appliances in your new home. These include: oven, refrigerator/freezer, washing machine, dishwasher, and any other large appliances. A fresh clean not only gets rid of any germs and bacteria, but it also makes your new home fresh and ready for you and your family. Another important thing to replace: toilet seats. We’ve all used public restrooms before, but your home is not a public restroom. Get new toilet seats from your local hardware store. But if you’re okay with the ones you inherited, make sure you give them a good deep clean!

A Handy Moving Guide

A Handy Moving Guide


Are you anticipating a move in the next few months? Whether moving across town or across the country, having a comprehensive moving list in your arsenal will help make the moving process smoother and less stressful. Your first steps will include preparing your home and your personal information for your move. Be sure to know the utilities you’re responsible for and transfer them (the sooner the better).

Step One: Transfer Your Information

It’s important to remember all of the agencies, businesses and utilities that require an address change. The ones that directly impact your move should be the first to update:

  • Telephone
  • Cable/Satellite TV
  • DSL/Cable/Phone/Internet
  • Electricity
  • Gas
  • Fuel/Oil
  • Water

Be sure to check your homeowner’s insurance policy to see if moving is covered, and check to see if the home is covered when you transfer fire, theft, and other personal property insurance.
Also remember to update your address with these important agencies:

  • DMV
  • Post Office
  • Bank
  • Credit Card Companies
  • Social Security
  • Insurance Companies
  • Employers

Step Two: Find Packing Supplies

Boxes and tape can add up to a lot – if you’re looking to cut costs on the move search sites like Craigslist for boxes and moving supplies; go to a local big box store and ask if they can provide you with boxes (the produce boxes generally stack and can carry heavy loads); call a furniture store and see if they have boxes they are looking to get rid of; ask friends and family who have recently moved if they have any boxes to spare. You will also want to get a hand truck (one that can handle at least 150lbs), furniture dolly, a good box cutter, a pair of scissors and a regular knife.

Step Three: Get a Truck

If you’re going the DIY route, you’ll need to figure out the number of miles you’ll be travelling and whether or not a per mile rental or a rental that doesn’t count the miles is the better option for your budget. Also consider if you’ll want to have insurance on the truck itself should you be in an accident, and understand what you are and are not liable for if there are any incidents or accidents. Reserve the truck as far in advance as possible – the summer months and weekends are the busiest times for moving companies. If you’re considering hiring movers, check out websites like and others to make sure you use reputable companies who have your best interests at heart.

Step Four: Take Measurements

You know your current furniture fits in your current home, but will it fit in your new home? Take some time to make an appointment at your new property (if you can!) and measure to make sure your large pieces of furniture, and any new furniture or appliances you plan on buying, will make it through a door. Bring a tape measure and measure the length and width of the doorways. This is also a great time to evaluate the walls for potential wallpaper application, paint, or locating good areas to hang pictures, etc.

Step Five: Sort and Pack

It’s time to start sorting your items and packing them up. Some people believe packing by room is the easiest way to go, but sometimes it’s not realistic. If sorting by room is what will help you get the job done, feel free to do that. If you’re looking for other options when it comes to packing your things, you can pack by sorting things: sheets and bedding, electronics, kitchen supplies, etc. If you have a lot of miscellaneous items or designated junk drawers, find all these items first and use them as fillers for boxes that need extra items. Be sure to label everything, and it is a good idea to keep your boxes as room specific as possible.
Do you like making lists and knowing all the items you have? If you are moving cross country or cross state, it’s a good idea to have a list of all your items, including numbered boxes and the contents of each box. If you’re into technology there are a number of moving apps available for tablets and smart phones that can help you label and manage your boxes. If you like to be more hands on, you can always label and number your boxes and keep a comprehensive list of each box, its contents, and its number.

Step Six: Set Aside the Essentials

You’ll need mainly clothing and toiletries that can fit easily into a suitcase for your move. Put everything you need into the suitcase/bag and live out of it while you pack up your belongings. You’ll know where everything is as you move, and you won’t accidentally pack an essential. Other items to put to the side and have ready for the new house:

  • Medicine
  • Comfortable clothes
  • Sheets and towels
  • Toothbrushes and toiletries
  • Paper goods
  • Disposable plates and silverware
  • Foil, plastic bags, and plastic containers
  • Microwave (if the new place doesn’t have one)
  • Vacuum
  • Garbage bags
  • Tool kit
  • Ladder
  • Extension cord
  • Light bulbs
  • Cleaning items

Other things to consider and do:

  • Who will watch your children or pets on moving day? Do you need to hire a sitter?
  • Do you have house plants to transport? Most movers don’t move houseplants, especially on long-distance or out-of-state moves.
  • Remember to disassemble shelving, closet systems and any other large items you plan to take with you
  • Gather personal records (medical, dental, etc.)
  • If you have children, arrange to transfer school records if needed
  • Cancel any newspaper subscriptions
  • If you are moving out of state, refill all prescriptions so you have extras on hand, and transfer any current prescriptions to a new pharmacy close to your new home

Moving can be very stressful. Take the time before a move to be proactive: know what needs to be done ahead of time so you are not scrambling at the last minute to pack and organize your home. Utilize the items above to help make your move as problem-free as possible, and have fun in your new home.

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