When you first move into a new home, the chances are that you will spend much of the first few weeks unpacking various boxes, arranging furniture, contacting your utility suppliers to change address, and simply trying to get your bearings. There’s a lot to think about, essentially, and the tasks you need to do are all the more challenging given that you are likely still feeling some of the stress of the move.
However, the essential “settling in” tasks that you go through may just be the tip of the iceberg when it comes to adjusting to your new property. After all, while you will have gotten to know the house reasonably well during your viewings, there’s a big difference between visiting a house and living there. Essentially, you now need to get to know the house, and ensure it aligns with your preferences, as the owner rather than a prospective buyer.
Given the above, there are a few extra steps you may want to take when moving into a new house – some of which should be done before the unpacking process fully begins. Here are five things any new homeowner should do as quickly as possible after the move is complete.
#1 – Change the locks
When you receive the keys to your new home, it’s important to remember that you have no way of knowing who else has a set of matching keys. Many people give keys to friends and family members, for example, so even if the previous owners have given you their own set, that doesn’t necessarily mean that there aren’t other sets in the wider world. As a result, changing the locks should be one of – if not the – first things you do when you move into a new home. Be cautious to note that it’s not just the front and rear door locks that you might need to change; while these should be the priority, you’ll also need to replace window locks, reset security codes for gates, and change any padlocks that the previous owner may have left in place.
#2 – Snake the drains
When moving into a new property, it’s natural that you will want to start from scratch, which is why one of the first things people do before unpacking boxes is to clean the entire house from top to bottom. However, many people do not extend this cleaning to the parts of the house they can’t see, with the drains a particular concern. Given the problems that blocked drains can cause, it makes sense to snake the drains – or ask a professional to do so on your behalf – as soon as you move in, or use a homemade drain cleaner to ensure the pipes are squeaky clean and ready for use.
#3 – Undergo a pest survey
One of the significant issues with household pests is that often, an infestation is nigh-on invisible to the naked eye, so while your new home may look pristine and clean, there is always the outside chance that there might be creepy crawlies lurking beneath the surface. Due to this, it’s helpful to contact an experienced pest control company to assess your property before you begin arranging furniture and unpacking boxes. The best companies will offer these surveys free of charge, and can both identify existing infestations and provide insight into areas of the house that may be liable to infestation in the future.
#3 – Learn how to turn off the electricity and water
In an emergency, knowing how to turn off the electricity and water in your property is invaluable. Unfortunately, the methods for turning these utilities off can differ between properties, so what worked at your previous house won’t necessarily be the case at the new one. It’s usually best to ask the former owner for details on cutting the power and water if possible, but if this isn’t possible, you can also contact the provider for further assistance. When you do know what to do, it’s also worth just checking that the power and water do turn off as expected – far better to find out during a dry test than in an actual emergency.
#4 – Check the garden fencing
If you have pets and/or children, it’s important to check the integrity of your backyard fencing as soon as possible after moving into the property. In particular, be cautious to gently move aside any plants that are growing in front of fences so you can inspect the integrity of the fence itself without the bushes obstructing the view. If you do find any gaps, then you can either contact a professional, or quickly nail a block of wood over the gap as a short-term measure – doing so might be an eyesore, but it at least ensures the perimeter is secure for the time being.
#5 – Document any items you store in the attic
When unpacking following a move, most of us focus on just clearing space – we give very little thought to organization beyond “I want this to be out of the way as soon as possible”. As a result, moving boxes being deposited in the attic to be dealt with at a later date is incredibly common; out of sight, out of mind. However, while it makes sense to want to clear space in the moment, placing random boxes in the attic will actually just create more work in future. To make life easier, keep notes on your phone of which boxes have been placed in the attic, as well as a brief overview of what they contain – you’re sure to be glad you did when you need to locate a specific box or item over the course of the coming week.
Admittedly, the idea that you need to add even more tasks to your undoubtedly substantial post-move to-do list is unlikely to be welcome – but the above are worth doing if you want to be able to ensure your new home is safe, secure, and in the best possible condition for your family.