It’s totally understandable to be excited if you’re moving into a new house. However, take a moment to think about what to do before moving into a new house. For your own safety, security and peace of mind, it’s well worth taking care of a few things before you start your move.
Here’s a list of things to do when moving into a new house:
1. Get to know your circuit breaker box and main water valve
When the power goes out or you blow a fuse, you’ll want to know which breakers correspond to what areas in your home. You can test this by having one person stand at the breaker box and the other checking to see if turning circuit breakers on or off changes anything throughout the house.
You’ll also want to know where your main water valve is if you have to turn it off for any reason - like a plumbing emergency, or if you’re just going out of town for a while. Locate the valve and turn the knob until the water is off. You can test it by running faucets in your house to make sure no water is coming out, take note though, some pipes will run for a short period of time while the existing water lines are emptied.
If you're buying a home, ask the home inspector if they will identify these key areas for you, often good home inspectors will have and place tags/labels on main components in your home in order for you to quickly identify them for future use.
On that note, many people ask “how do I arrange utilities when moving house?” Well, it’s as simple as calling the respective utility companies, such as electricity, water and gas providers, and letting them know that you’ve changed addresses. If you have a new utility (like oil or gas) that you didn’t have in your previous home, you’ll have to open a new account.
2. Change the locks
This one is simple and straightforward. Unless you’re moving into a new construction, you don’t know who else has the keys to your home. Changing the locks will ensure that only you have access. Installing new deadbolts is also a great idea. This can all be done for not a lot of money. Give a qualified locksmith a call and they should be able to handle it quickly.
Check your existing locks, if they have 'smart keys' you might have the ability to rekey the locks without having to replace them. If your home has a digital keypad, you should be able to pop off the back portion of your lock (on the inside of your home) and reset or reprogram the keypad.
3. Check for leaks
Of course, you would expect that your home inspector would have caught plumbing leaks in your new home before you bought it, but it doesn’t hurt to double check. You want to look for dripping faucets, running toilets, and water accumulation around hot water heaters.
You can also check your water meter after two hours of not using any water in the house to see if it’s changed. If it has, you probably have a leak somewhere.
When you do your walkthrough with your REALTOR® you should also run all main water points (Faucets, tubs, etc) and ensure that there are no leaks before you take possession.
4. Steam clean the carpets
Here’s a helpful tip: steam clean your carpets before you move any furniture into the house. You can hire a professional carpet cleaner for about $50-$100 per room, or you could rent a steam cleaner and do it yourself for much less. Either way, you’ll be off to a fresh, clean start before you move your belongings into your new home.
5. Wipe down the cabinets
This is another helpful tip that will ensure you’re starting off right in your new home. Before you move in your plates, cutlery and other kitchen items, give your cabinets, shelves and drawers a good wipe down. Use a non-toxic, environmentally cleaner and replace any contact paper.
You want to minimize dirt and debris accumulation to ensure your kitchen stays pest-free. If you do see signs of an infestation, read on to the next tip.
6. Hire a pest control professional
Many pests can plague your home, including mice, ants, cockroaches and more. You can always find do-it-yourself methods to get rid of them all, but often times it’s worth it to just leave it to the professionals - especially if the infestation is large.
If your home has a pest problem, it's always best you get it taken care of before you move in, there's a number of ways that pests are taken care of, but many aren't overly family friendly and can be problematic for your move in experience, if possible get the pest issues taken care of prior to you bringing your family into the home.
7. Painting / drywall repair
Whether you do it yourself, or you hire a professional, having your home painted before you move in is a smart move, you'll avoid the headaches of having to shuffle around all of your furniture, remove draperies, take art and picture frames off the wall, clean out your closet, etc.
If you haven't painted before, you should know that it can take much longer than you'd expect. Multiple coats, proper drying, patch work, etc. Consider hiring professionals if you're in a time crunch, they will be able to get the job done a lot faster and can get you ready to move the rest of your stuff over in no time.
8. Test your smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors
While safety is typically always top of mind for many new home owners, the assumption for many is often that those devices are simply just set and forget. The reality is that you need to test them once you've moved in. Even hard wired detectors can fail, help ensure your families safety by testing all safety detection devices throughout the home once you've moved in.
9. Child and pet proof your home
Child proofing your home is definitely no easy task if it's your first time, we've created this guide to help you get started. (Click to obtain our VISUAL GUIDE TO CHILD PROOFING PDF copy for best reading)
With pets, it's important you walk the perimeter of the property and ensure all fences are enclosed and that there are no gaps or spaces that you little furballs (or kids) can escape through.
10. Test your sump pump
This is especially important if you're heading into the rainy season. If you've ever been inside a home renovation store during a heavy rain downfall, you'll often see home owners flooding in and quickly buying up all the sump pumps. Don't get caught making an emergency trip and test out your sump pump.
Bonus: Meet your neighbours and get to know your neighbourhood
Don't forget to head outside and explore your new community and along the way meet and greet with your new neighbours. Waiting too long to do this can lead to awkward discussions weeks / months down the road.
Posted by Calgary Homes Real Estate Partners Team