Your new home checklist
10 important but often overlooked tasks to do in your first weeks
- Change the locks
Make sure you’re the only one who has access to your home. If you hire a locksmith, cut costs by supplying the locks yourself, so you’re just paying for time. And reprogram your garage door keypad, if you have one.
- Take safety precautions
Test and replace batteries in the smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, put at least one fire extinguisher on each floor, and talk to your kids about emergency evacuation plans from their new bedrooms.
- Find the main water and gas valves
You need to know how to turn off your gas and main water in case of a plumbing emergency, a hurricane or tornado, or even if you’re going out of town for a while.
- Test your circuit breaker
Make sure your circuit breaker is properly labeled. Have one person turn off the fuses while the other stands in each location to confirm that the power shut off.
- Forward your mail
Set it up at USPS.com. It’s easy, and you’ll likely get a new-home package with coupons for furniture and home-improvement stores.
- Update your address
Don’t forget to provide your new address to:
- Banks and credit card providers
- Other bill collectors (think cell phone and retailers)
- Employers (present and recent past, for tax returns)
- Insurance providers (car and health)
- The state DMV
- Local Board of Elections
- Subscription services (like magazines and prescriptions)
- Organize warranties and receipts
New homes can mean a lot of new purchases. Now is the time to get organized: Create a folder or filing system to track receipts, warranties, and instruction manuals.
- Replace and clean filters
Replace all filters when you move in and start clean. This can include:
- Air filters in the HVAC vents
- Cooking range hood filter
- Aeration filters in all sink spigots
- Refrigerator water filter (if it makes ice/dispenses water)
- Dryer vent
- Start fresh
Clean all rooms before loading them up. Seize the opportunity to wipe down cabinet interiors, disinfect inside your kitchen appliances, and steam your carpets.
- Introduce yourself to the neighbors
Get off on the right foot: Neighbors can be valuable sources of information like what day the trash is collected or recommendations for local plumbers, electricians, and babysitters.