Moving is exciting. And exhausting. There is a whole lot to do. Packing and unpacking, emptying and reloading cabinets and drawer. You may even be painting and remodeling.
Every day, I meet people who are immersed in the moving process as they are signing closing documents. They usually have their heads and hands full of things to do. But there are a few more items I want to tell them to take care of before they finish unpacking.
I’ve moved more than 20 times, including eight home remodels, which helped me come up with a list of eight essential tasks that you may not think about when moving. Make it a goal to complete these in the first couple of days of your move.
Tackle these eight items first. If you’re overwhelmed, hand this list to someone who loves you and ask them to assist.
Here are eight important things to do when you first move in:
1. Change the locks.
It’s not expensive. My favorite company is Mr. Rekey. They charge about $100 for 6 key holes. Reprogram your garage door opener codes too. While your sellers might be nice, honest folks moving out of state, you don’t know who else has a key to the property.
2. Locate emergency shut offs.
Understand how to shut off the water and power in your home. You’ll sleep better knowing this.
Check and service smoke alarms.
Smoke alarms and CO monitor batteries should be checked and replaced regularly in order to function properly. Since you may not know the age of the devices and batteries in your new home, consider starting fresh.
Change your A/C filters.
This will help clear out the dust that’s been kicked up during the move. A clean filter also helps your system function more efficiently and extends its life.
Check pilot lights.
Check the pilot lights on stove, water heater, gas fireplace, and furnace. Since utilities have been transferred, there could be a need to relight them.
Learn to use appliances.
Learn how to operate any appliances in the home that are new to you. This includes fireplaces, icemaker, garbage disposal, etc. There may be important operation or care instructions necessary for proper function and safety. If you don’t have manufacturer owner’s manuals, look them up online.
Label all wall switches and electrical boxes.
I always label switches in my house with small printed labels that note if the switch is a light, fan, disposal, porch, garage, etc. It makes everyone’s lives easier.
Ignore the junk mail.
You’ll be bombarded with official looking letters marked “urgent”, “important”, “official” and “response needed”. Ignore all offers for mortgage protection insurance, deed records, and filing your homestead exemption. Titles and deeds are filed with the county by the title company and a separate paper copy is worthless. You can file your homestead exemption online for free.
Lydia Blair (formerly Lydia Player) was a successful Realtor for 10 years before jumping to the title side of the business in 2015. Prior to selling real estate, she bought, remodeled and sold homes (before house flipping was an expression). She’s been through the real estate closing process countless times as either a buyer, a seller, a Realtor, and an Escrow Officer. As an Escrow Officer for Carlisle Title, she likes solving problems and cutting through red tape. The most fun part of her job is handing people keys or a check.