Important Checklist Items for New Homeowners

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Moving into a new house is exciting, but it can also be stressful. You’ll have a lot of tasks to accomplish even after you move all your belongings in. If you don’t find a way to organize what you need to do, your experience may become overwhelming. To ease your stress, try making a checklist of the most important things you need to do upon moving into your new home. Here are some ideas to add to your list.

Change Your Address

Make a post office trip and switch your mailing address to ensure your mail and other bills make it to your new home. Also, change the address on all of your important accounts, including credit card statements and insurance forms. Inform your utility companies about the move, as most businesses can easily attach your account to your new address.

In some cases, however, utility companies, such as electric companies, may not offer their services in certain areas. If you come across this issue, you’ll have to find a different company. Consider asking neighbors what they use or start investigating alternative choices online.

Check the Safety of the Electricity

One of the first things you should do in your new house is to locate the fuse box or the circuit breaker panel and check whether it’s functioning correctly. When you open the panel door, inspect the area for evidence of pests or rust and make sure each of the breaker switches flip on and off easily. If you have a fuse box, you can check whether the fuses are good or bad with a digital multimeter. 

Next, you should test if the outlets are working by using a receptacle tester. This tool plugs directly into the outlet and lights up to show any possible wiring issues. If you locate a problem and have to replace any wiring, make sure you don’t exceed the transformer rating.

In addition to inspecting the electrical system, you should also rely on your senses to help you determine if something is awry. Listen for cracking sounds or use your hand to feel for any heat near outlets or switches. Always be mindful of odors such as something hot or burning. If you can’t figure out the issue, call a professional. You don’t want to take the chance of your new house burning down.

Install and Test Smoke Detectors

If you invested in an older house, it might not have smoke detectors, in which case, you should purchase and install them immediately. Smoke detectors are inexpensive and essential for alerting you and your family to a possible house fire. 

Once you set up the smoke detector system, it’s important to check that each one is working properly. You can do this by holding a flame from a candle, lighter or match near the smoke detector to ensure it senses the smoke and sounds off. Most smoke detectors have a button to turn the alarm off, but it’s a good idea to check the instructions before you test the detectors to make sure you know how to turn that particular brand’s alarm off.

Ensure the Furnace is Working

Check out the furnace to ensure it’s working appropriately. Waiting until the weather gets colder to address any issues could cause even more problems in your home. For instance, if the furnace is working but then shuts off unexpectedly during an extreme cold spell, you also run the risk of the water pipes bursting. 

Hiring a professional to check the furnace is the best way to ensure it has no issues. However, there are things you can do in the meantime to look for problems. Turn the furnace on and listen for any weird sounds. Also, check the furnace and ductwork for any possible problem areas such as rust or water damage. If the previous owner completed regular furnace inspections, the realtor should have given you this information in the closing paperwork. Report your findings and provide the inspection paperwork to the heating specialist upon their arrival.

Change the Locks

The previous owner and maybe even the owner before that could still have keys that will unlock your doors, so it’s hard to tell how many duplicates are floating around. To ensure your family’s safety, you should change the locks right away. If you purchase new locks and change them yourself, the process is pretty inexpensive.

If you don’t want to mess with the locks, consider hiring a locksmith and inquire about rekeying instead of changing the locks. Rekeying involves making minor changes inside of each lock. These modifications will require a new key to open the locks. While this process sounds complex, it’s no challenge for a skilled locksmith. Rekeying a lock will not only help you feel secure in your own home, but the process is also quick and affordable.

Hide a Spare Key

Everyone locks themselves out of their homes at one point or another, so you should be prepared for this scenario. To avoid the embarrassment of calling a locksmith, be proactive and have a plan in place. Pick a secret spot to hide an extra key. Once you start to build relationships with your neighbors, pick someone you trust to hold onto a spare.

Ask for Help

Don’t be afraid to ask family and friends for help. You’re going to need assistance unpacking, painting and moving heavy appliances. The more people you recruit to help, the quicker your house will start to feel like a real home. However, you shouldn’t expect free help. To repay everyone for their generosity, offer to get food and drinks.

To maintain organization, decide what you want to accomplish first and have everyone work on that task. For example, if your living room walls need to be painted, do that before moving your furniture into the room. The last thing you’ll want to deal with is attempting to get paint droplets off of your couch. If you continue to complete tasks this way, the entire process will go smoothly.

Don’t let moving become a stressful experience. Purchasing a new house should be a memorable time in life. As long as you have an organized to-do checklist, the experience will be fun and rewarding.

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