Closing on your first home is an incredibly exciting moment. Signing those papers, receiving the keys to your new home, and realizing for the first time that you’re a homeowner is something that many people never forget.
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Once you have those keys in hand, it can be very tempting to move in immediately. After all, you want to get into the home and stop paying rent as soon as possible, right?
Not so fast. There are actually several things to do between closing and moving into the home. It’s a great idea to plan these tasks for the days immediately after closing but before your official move-in day, if possible.
7 things new homeowners should do before moving in
Set up your new utilities and ensure they’re working
Your new home will need a number of utilities set up. You’ll want to make sure that you have electricity, natural gas, water service, sewer service, garbage service, home internet, and cable or satellite service, and you may also need to be registered with the homeowners association. Having all of those services ready to go before you move in will save you a ton of frustration and hassle, so you’re not dealing with issues like no electricity when you’re setting things up or no internet when you need to look something up in a pinch.
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Some of these services may require a deposit, so you’ll want to be sure to be saving in advance for them. A surprise deposit can really put a damper on things.
You should also make sure that the utilities are shut off at your old apartment the day or so after you move out, so that you’re not paying utilities when you’re no longer living there.
Do touchups now, while it’s cheap and easy
As soon as you have the keys, go to your new home and evaluate whether there are any rooms or walls that you want to repaint. There will never be another moment where it will be quite this easy to get repainting done, so if you know you want your living room to have a particular color on the walls, do it now. There’s no furniture to move and likely no major issues to deal with on the walls — it’s just very straightforward painting.
Once painting is complete, thoroughly clean the house. Again, there will never be an easier time to really thoroughly deep clean your home, simply because there’s no furniture or other obstacles in the way.
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Shampoo the carpets, scrub the walls and clean out the insides of cupboards and cabinets. Scour the sinks, toilets, showers and tubs. Polish the doorknobs. Make the house absolutely glow. It will never be easier to do this, plus it will look great when you first have people over to visit.
Also, this is the best time to have pieces of furniture and shelving delivered. You’ll have plenty of room to assemble items and get them in place before the official move-in.
Fix any minor issues you uncover during the cleaning and repainting
As you paint and clean, you’ll likely find lots of small issues that should be dealt with, and, again, it’s far easier to deal with them now than later. You’ll find things like burnt-out light bulbs, damaged light socket covers, a water heater that gurgles, small things that are individually easy to tackle when you have lots of space but might be problematic if you discover them when there’s lots of furniture in the way or other challenges.
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If you don’t know how to fix a problem that you discover, check YouTube, which is a gold mine of how-to videos for almost anything you might find. If you find it’s a bigger issue, you can get a repairperson in there to fix it.
If you’re moving from an apartment, clean up the place
Why is it so important to clean up your old place? After all, you’re moving out — it’s no longer your problem, right?
But you’re going to want your deposit back. Leaving the old place in a clean state is the easiest way to make sure your previous landlord is happy when you turn it over to them.
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The easiest approach to cleaning is to simply clean up each area as you pack your possessions in that area. After you pack up a closet, clean it thoroughly, scrub any markings on the walls, and vacuum the carpet. When you’re done packing the kitchen, clean out the fridge and freezer and scour the sink.
These little steps make your previous place look really clean when you walk out the door for the last time and drastically improve your chances of getting a full deposit back.
Change your address on everything of importance
You can start doing this before you move in — and, in fact, you should do so with your primary utilities so that you have power and internet in the house before you even start with these other tasks. Still, having an “overlapping” period where you haven’t moved out of the old place or moved into the new place gives you a window to make sure your address is changed on everything important.
Make sure you’ve covered things that come in irregularly, too, like your life insurance, your vehicle registration, and your driver’s license.
Here’s where you should change your address:
- Bank accounts
- Driver’s license
- Student loan accounts
- Life insurance
- Vehicle registration and auto insurance
- Retirement accounts
- Investing accounts
- Phone service and internet service accounts
- Amazon and online shopping accounts
Purchase a home warranty
Another item worth considering during the period right after purchasing a new home, when you’re unfamiliar with the ins and outs of it. Over the first year or two, you’ll learn a lot about homeownership, such as fixing minor issues and adopting a home maintenance checklist, but handling those issues right at first can be overwhelming and costly.
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One approach to this problem is to purchase a home warranty. A home warranty is essentially a service contract. You purchase the contract from a local home warranty issuer, then if an appliance covered by the contract fails, the warranty kicks in, bringing a repairperson to your home to fix the problem and potentially replace a faulty appliance.
Plan a move-in day with lots of help
Pick a day — ideally a weekend day — where you are officially moving in, and invite people to come and help with tasks like moving boxes and items from room to room and even unpacking kitchen equipment. Invite a few people you trust and who will help you throughout the day, and plan to cover food and beverages for them — there’s no better time than this to have pizza or other food delivered. Give them plenty of notice so that they can be sure to put aside that day to help; calling at the last minute might result in them having other plans.
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This does not need to be the same day that movers bring your large items to your home. Movers can bring the big furniture and lots of boxes in a day or two beforehand, allowing you to finish up some other tasks on this list before you move boxes to the right rooms and fully unpack, which is what you can do on that move-in day.
Too long, didn’t read?
Moving into a new home can be a great experience, but that window of time between the moment you take possession and the day you move in is valuable time that you should use efficiently. There is no better moment to do a deep cleaning, do some painting, do some minor repairs, install things like shelves and thermostats, and have large items delivered, as well as take last-minute steps for moving that work best when you haven’t fully moved out of the old place, like migrating addresses and packing a first-day box. These steps will make your move-in incredibly successful.
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