The first days in your new home are some of the most exciting times! All the work that you put into buying and potentially selling your last place has finally paid off – and the big part of the moving process is (hopefully!) over. Unpacking boxes and deciding where things will go can be overwhelming, but you really have all the time that you need to make your house a home – which for us is probably just before we decide to sell it!
In addition to assembling the furniture so you’ll have a place to sleep and collapse in front of the TV after a long day of moving and unpacking, there’s a couple of other early, little-known steps you can take to truly make your house your own. We will warn you, they’re not the cutest things that will instantly make your house perfect and beautiful, but they’ll give you peace of mind as you settle in.
- Change the Locks
The first and probably most obvious first step is to change all the locks in your new home. You don’t know who had a key from the previous owner and no one ever wants an expected visitor. This also includes reprogramming any garage codes or openers too. All items are easy to change with a simple call to a locksmith and can be taken care of immediately after closing.
- Clean Everything and Change the Toilet Seats
Again, another well-known step, but it’s important to clean all surfaces before you move into a new home, even if they look like they’ve been recently cleaned already. The thought of a daily shower in a stranger’s bathroom isn’t appealing to anyone – so take the time to give everything at least a Clorox wipe down. Who doesn’t love the smell of a newly cleaned house anyways? Also – if you’re not planning on getting new toilets for a room renovation, buy yourself some new toilet seats. You don’t know how long they’ve been there and it’s something you’ll use everyday. They’re cheap and easy to replace with a screwdriver!
- Change Air & Water Filters
One of the most important things – if not the most important – in your new home will be the cleanliness of the air you breathe and the water you drink. Change your air and water filters immediately upon moving into a new home, especially if it’s an older house. You won’t know the last time that they were changed and unless you personally watched the filters be changed prior to closing or move-in, it’s always a good idea to update them yourself so you can get on a schedule of when they need to be changed moving forward. If you want to take an extra step with the air filters or your new home has an old home smell, you can clean out your ducts to make sure that the air is as clean as possible.
- Forward Your Mail
The last thing that you’ll want is to miss mail at your old address, so take the extra step of having things forwarded at the post office to your new one while you change over your address with your bank or other vendors. It’s also a good moment to delete any previous addresses from places you frequently order from, like Amazon, or food delivery. We’ve had our fair share of orders going to the wrong location in the past!
- Watch for Leaks, Creaks, or Anything Out of the Ordinary
It’s likely that you received an inspection before moving into your new home that would have caught any major damage or problems. However, it’s important to remember that the inspection is just a snapshot of what living in your new house would be like. A sink might be able to show that it can run for two minutes, but may leak after cleaning up dinner. You’ll want to be on high alert for anything that could be wrong with the house over the first week, in case it’s a symptom of a larger problem. That being said, there will be noises that you’re not accustomed to, especially if you’re moving into an old house. You might not sleep well at the beginning because you hear everything and that’s okay. You’ll know when something isn’t right – even if it’s your first home.
Most of these tips are practical knowledge that a good realtor or even close parent will tell you as you embark on your home buying journey. However, they’re not innate to everyone, and they’ve certainly helped us and our friends in their first weeks at their new homes. We had to be especially dedicated to cleaning when we bought our most recent home because of the pandemic and certainly plan to keep that level of cleanliness up in every new home we purchase.
What are some of the first things that you’ve done in your new house? We’d love to hear your tips and tricks in the comments!