Homeowners, consider this your new home checklist.
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Congratulations on buying a new home! Homeownership and choosing to move to a new place are two of the most impactful decisions you can make. But just because you have the keys to your new home, that doesn't always mean you're good to go.
Whether this is your first time moving or you're an old pro, you likely already know the basics: how to pack all your belongings in boxes, transport those boxes (oftentimes with the help of movers and a moving truck) to your new space, and then unload everything once you get there. However with all the hustle-and-bustle, it's easy to forget to do several important home projects before pulling up in the moving van.
There are plenty of projects you can tackle while living in your home, but some are better done before you move in to save yourself the extra stress. Consider updating, replacing, remodeling and knocking out these home projects before moving in full-time. And after finishing those up, check out the best internet providers and whether you should invest in solar panels.
Transfer utilities and change your address
Changing your address and updating your utilities may seem obvious but can be easily overlooked when you're busy with the home buying process. Make sure you have utilities and core services set up to be active in your new home before you move in. What a bummer to spend your first night in your first home with no power. Don't forget to also transfer mail, the internet, TV services and any regularly scheduled deliveries to your new home address.
No matter whether your new home looks spotless or is visibly dusty, it's a good idea to give it a deep clean before you settle in. The previous owner probably left some dirt, pet hair, dust or other grime behind. Whether you see it or not, it's best to start fresh.
Before moving-in, you'll want to clean these spots. While scrubbing, take a moment to replace your air filters and check your smoke detectors, too.
Painting can transform a space. Do you hate that purple dining room or the jet black bedroom formerly occupied by a teenager? Best to get it done before you get settled. It may not be as intrusive as other major home updates, but you will have to move all your junk to the middle of the room, provided there's space.
Also, paint sprays and splatters, so if you do have belongings in the room you'll need additional protection by way of plastic sheeting or drop cloths. Pro tip: You can paint walls or rooms before doing flooring updates so you don't have to be as concerned with getting paint on your new floors.
Replace or refinish flooring
Everything in your house that isn't attached to a wall is going to take up floor space. If you're going to replace or refinish an existing floor, you definitely want to get that done before moving in. Anyone that you hire to do the work will require the affected rooms to be empty, so there's no reason to fill them up beforehand.
Even if you do the work yourself, you'll need to shuffle your belongings around, and that will drastically lengthen the time it takes to complete the project and make it harder on yourself.
Plumbing and electric updates
If you're buying a home that is a bit dated and needs major updates to core systems like plumbing or electrical, you might consider getting these projects done before your move.
If you do have major updates taking place, there's a fair chance the work involved will include cutting out sections of drywall or flooring to make pathways for updated pipes or wiring. The demo and subsequent drywall repairs will create quite a bit of dust, so you'll also likely be painting walls or repairing flooring.
If you're planning on remodeling or renovating your kitchen, it's better to do it before moving in. Going through a total kitchen remodel can upset day-to-day flow in many ways. Not only will you not be able to prepare food, you also won't have any space to store food, especially if appliances need to be moved or unplugged. You'll need space to store all of your dishes, kitchen gadgets and all of the debris and materials for the kitchen renovation will have to go somewhere as well.
Another inconvenience is a total bathroom remodel. If you have multiple bathrooms, it may or may not be a huge issue depending on how many people live in your home. But, if you only have one full bathroom, being without it for days or weeks will be a pain. In either circumstance, if you're paying to have the work done for you, it's wise to factor in more time than your contractor estimates and be prepared for limited bathroom space.
This one can depend on the timing of your new home purchase. Replacing major HVAC components isn't usually too lengthy of a process, nor does it normally require much renovation to other parts of the home. However, if you live through sweltering summers and arctic winters, you may want to have this work done before moving in so you won't have to expose yourself to the extreme temperatures.
Change locks and install home security
It's never a bad idea to change out locks on a new home or put home security elements in place before moving in. Changing out your locks ensures the previous owner no longer has access to your home, while home security cameras and video doorbells deter would-be burglars and let you keep an eye on your property no matter where you are.
Every home is different, so there's no one-size-fits-all rule on security camera placement. Some common places to put them are by front, back and side door. Whatever you do, though, avoid putting cameras in places that violate you or your neighbor's privacy like bedrooms and bathrooms. If you're still wondering where to put your new security cameras, CNET lays out the best and worst spots for them.
Safety can go beyond locks and security cameras. If you have small children, you may want to put child safety devices in place before having them in the home. Likewise, if you have pets, you may need similar safety precautions inside or a fence around your new yard.
This is also a good time to walk through your home and make sure you know where the main electric, water and gas shut-offs are, as well as any other safety features. This lets you start thinking about your family's home safety plan in case of an emergency.
To recap, any of these tasks can happen while you're already moved into and living in your new home, but you're likely to be less stressed if you make sure these are checked off beforehand. You'll be much more likely to start off loving your new home than being frustrated with how it's complicating your life. While you're at it, check out this list of tools you'll need for maintaining your new home. Plus, here's how to become friends with your new neighbors and how to turn your new house into a home.