Let’s cut to the chase, the new home journey can be overwhelming. You’re excited to start your new life, but getting there can feel like a lifetime of preparation. From internet to comforters to crock pots, there are a lot of things to do on your new house checklist before moving into a new home.
If you don’t stay organized, move-in day can be a total bust. Lucky for you, this essentials new home checklist and our Epic Moving Checklist will put your mind at ease and simplify the moving process.
The New Home Checklist: Pre-Move Essentials
Before moving into your new house, there are a couple of big tasks you’ll need to prioritize. If you knock these off your new home checklist, the rest of the process will run smoothly.
1. Transfer utilities
Before you can move into your new home and get comfortable, you need to set up your physical utilities: water, gas, and electricity. Although physical utilities companies are usually timely about activation, the sooner you notify them of your move-in date, the better. This is especially true if they’re in the midst of moving season when they’re working with a ton of accounts.
2. Connect TV and internet
No one likes moving into a dead zone. Make sure you’re up and running before move-in day by setting up services that work for you. Do your homework in order to know where you stand in order to compare pricing and figure out what service providers will best suit your needs.
Schedule installation at least 2-3 weeks in advance to ensure that your services are activated in a timely manner and to also get the appointment slot that is most convenient for you. Compare cable and internet providers who serve your new address, order service, and schedule your installation appointment.
3. Update your address
Your address is connected to so many aspects of your life that you may not even realize. From forwarding your mail, to maintaining subscriptions and loyalty programs, to banks and credit cards, to insurance, to checkbooks, to car registration and driver’s licenses… We think you get the point.
4. Gather important documents
You know those super important documents that sit and collect dust in your filing cabinet? They have to come along for the ride too. We’re talking birth certificates, social security cards, medical records, insurance policies, and anything else of that nature. Now’s the time to purge what you don’t need and label and organize everything that you do. Grab your shredder and some boxes and get to work! Important documents are items that cannot be overlooked on your new home checklist.
5. Take photos of valuable items
Moving your valuables is nerve-racking, but if you take proper precautions you’ll be more than fine. A good method of damage control is creating a valuables inventory and taking photos of each item. This could be anything from your grandmother’s antique mirror to your TV and computer monitor.
By taking photos of these items, you have proof of their original condition in the event that they are damaged during the move. No matter how careful or responsible your moving company is, accidents can happen so moving insurance is worth looking into.
6. Research local businesses
When you move to a different neoghbourhood, it’s good to get the lay of the land of local businesses. Chances are you won’t be frequenting the businesses you usually do anymore, so you’ll want to explore your new options.
From a new doctor, to a new hairdresser, to new landscapers, - and of course the best grocery stores - you’ll have to do quite a bit of research. Apps like Yelp can show you reviews, recommendations, and photos of local businesses to help you make educated decisions. You can also ask your local real estate agent for help, as they should have all kinds of good recomendations for you.
7. Take time off from work
Within the first few days of your move, not only will you be unpacking a sea of boxes, but you’ll also be waiting on deliveries, repairs, and installations. It’s a good idea to notify your employer that you’ll be moving so you have ample time to coordinate these appointments before you head back into the office. The 48 hours post-move is crucial to getting (somewhat) settled, so make sure you plan and schedule accordingly.
8. Schedule a cleaning
Before you move your furniture, it’s a good idea to clean all the nooks and crannies of your new home. Chances are, the previous owner didn’t take the time to thoroughly clean it for your arrival (at least not to your standards), so schedule a cleaning service to come in and do a thorough once-over. With all the effort that you’re putting into your new home, you deserve a spotless canvas!
9. Schedule home improvements
Repairs and home improvements are an inevitable part of moving into a new home (whether an apartment, a condo, or a house). There are some repairs that require more attention than others (i.e. leaky plumbing, windows that don’t lock, etc.). These items should be taken care of beforehand by either the previous owner or your property management company. If they aren’t, get on that ASAP! If you just want to paint an accent wall or install built-in bookcases, these are the kind of home improvements you’re in charge of. If possible, schedule these improvements ahead of time so you’re not worrying about them come move-in day.
10. Prepare to pack
As you inch closer to move-in day, start to throw out or donate things you don’t need (like unused clothes and furniture) and take note of what needs to be replaced. Keep the layout and measurements of your new home in mind, as this could mean more or less space for your belongings.
Save money by collecting free moving boxes from local businesses and retailers or use laundry bins, suitcases, and large bags to transport items. It’s also a good idea to label or color coordinate all boxes according to what room they go in to expedite the process for your moving company. Lastly, an open-first box is a must! You should include in this box everything you need to survive the first 24 hours in your new home. Think air mattress and bedding, a fresh outfit, a toothbrush and toothpaste, other cosmetics and toiletries, some snacks, water, and extra cash. You will thank yourself when the time comes.
The New House Checklist: Post-Move Essentials
You’ve finally got all of your belongings into your new home, but don’t lose steam now! You’re in the final stretch of your new home checklist, and there are just a few more essentials to get through. It’s a good idea to set a daily (or weekly) goal for yourself when it comes to these final steps. Be realistic, stick to your schedule, and you’ll be settled in before you know it.
1. Recruit family and friends to help unpack
The more hands on deck the better. Those first few days of unpacking can be made a whole lot easier if you recruit (or rather, entice with food and drink) a couple of close friends for the first big haul. To make the process run smoother, set deadlines and figure out the most logical order of unpacking. Before you know it, your new home will actually start looking like, well, a home.
2. Change your locks
Who knows what the previous owners did with their keys? Whether you hire a locksmith or reinstall the locks on your own, it’s a simple task, and it will give you peace of mind. You’re always better off safe than sorry.
3. Locate shut-off valves
In the event that there is an emergency leak or you’re doing repairs and you need to shut off your water, it’s necessary to locate your shut-off valves. Many houses and apartment buildings have a number of cut-off points to stop the water at its source. From your own shut-off valve, to your water company’s shut off valve, to the water meter, there are many locations to get familiar with — both inside and potentially outside your home.
4. Locate the circuit-breaker
Every once in a while you may need to replace a fuse or reset a circuit breaker (just try running your hair dryer and air conditioner in the same room at the same time!) And if there’s a power outage, you don’t want to be searching through the dark to find it. Common locations for circuit breakers are outdoors, in basements or garages, in storage closets, or in hallways. Also, be sure you know the difference between a circuit-breaker and a fuse box, in the event you need to restore power.
5. Set up your home security system
Moving is one of the best times to set up home security. If you already have a system in place or are tied to a contract, be sure to call your provider or update your information online. Smart or DIY home security systems are a great option for homeowners who want more flexibility, so take some time to shop around if you’re selecting your first home security system.
6. Decide on a lock-out solution
You will get locked out of your house every once in a blue moon – it happens! What’s important is that you have a backup plan for when the time comes. Some common ideas are to hide a key under your doormat or to install a garage code (if you have a garage), but you can be as creative as you’d like. Maybe you have a buddy down the street who holds on to an extra key, or you’ve slid one under a planter. Whatever the case, be prepared!
7. Test your smoke detectors
Installing a smoke detector is an easy and inexpensive way to protect you and your loved ones in the event of a fire. However, smoke detectors can fail you when you need them most if you don’t address their malfunctions. This is why testing your new home’s smoke detectors is so important. Light a few matches or spray a smoke test aerosol in front of each sensor every month or two to ensure they’re working.
8. Check out your HVAC system
Your HVAC system, (A/C and furnace) is a necessity, and an expensive one at that. For the sake of heating, cooling, and big bucks, it’s important that you, a property manager, or a technician checks out your HVAC system in the weeks following your move. Inspect your heating and cooling units, insulation, and ducts, for warning signs that something’s off. If it looks like maintenance is needed, get on top of it as soon as you can. Although it’s a pain, it’s a worthwhile investment!
9. Create a home maintenance checklist
It’s a good idea to perform seasonal maintenance checks to ensure your new home is in good shape. Some of these maintenance checks you may not have had to do at your previous home — things like cleaning the gutters, landscaping, unclogging bathroom drains, or checking up on snow plow services may be relevant to you now. Gather the contact info from local services for when the time comes.
10. Celebrate a successful move
We hope our new home checklist helps you stay organized and avoid moving mistakes as you prepare to transition into your new digs.
Still searching for the perfect new Waterloo Region home to move into? Why not speak with an expert? Contact the award-winning Team Pinto here, or book a free Zoom consultation to discuss your unique Waterloo Region real estate needs here.