Signing the paperwork at closing (or virtually) is exciting! After saving, searching, waiting, and then you’re handed the keys. You have a new home and have most of your household goods packed. It’s pretty tempting to move in tomorrow, but there are three basic, cost-friendly, do-it-yourself (DIY) tasks you should do before moving in.
First things first! Do a complete walkthrough with a notepad (or phone), have a measuring tape handy, and note any critical and minor repairs. As you go through the house, check that all windows are closed and locked or secured well and that no animals have snuck in. Check under sinks and water-based appliances for any leaks or condensation, and behind/under the refrigerator if it has an ice maker. Also, take the first visit to check smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, replace expired devices, and put in fresh batteries. The second step in safety is to change the locking doors (or codes) and be sure you have an extra set of keys handy yet secured. If you have small children or a pet, it’s also a perfect time to install any safety features and place fire extinguishers.
Pro-tip: Ask your realtor if they know of any specials, move-in assistance programs for safety, or are aware of free services. Take photos of rare or unusual repairs, then show them to the local hardware store staff, who may know what you’re looking for and where it is located.
While this task goes hand in hand with safety, it is a separate task. Gather toilet paper, soap, cleaning products, hand towels, a case of water (or some cups) or picnic basket, and a first aid kit for the first visit to your new home. A change of clothes is a great idea too if you have to ‘get dirty’ while cleaning your new home. It may seem silly, but most new homeowners forget to bring toilet paper and these basics, then either incidentally meet a neighbor or end up with half-unpacked boxes before the move is complete.
Pro-tip: Use your regular cleaning products and scents (or unscented). It will start to smell like home in no time.
If the previous owner didn’t professionally clean the home, take a little elbow-grease, wipe down, and deep clean each room. Cleaning should include walls, windows, trim, and removing window treatments for cleaning. If your negotiations did not include floor cleaning, rent a steam-powered floor and carpet cleaning machine. Cleaning carpets before move-in will add a freshness factor and takes relatively little time. Any stains in the carpet can be pre-treated, ensuring plenty of time for drying before the actual move-in day.
Pro-tip: after cleaning blinds and window treatments, be sure to install before moving day. It’s usually easier to move a ladder around before move-in occurs and can be completed before you clean the carpet or flooring.
It’s Your Home
Once the three items above are complete, then you can start moving in. If you have particularly special or fragile items, you may want to move those items yourself and place them in a secure location. Then, finish packing, and moving day will be one day closer.
Good luck and happy moving!