Finally moving into your new home? Congratulations! Packing up and moving can be a daunting task and can get overwhelming very quickly. Now that you're finally in your new home there are a few things you should do from a safety, cost and quality of life perspective. It doesn't matter if you're moving into an apartment, condo, or large single family home, these little tasks can make the new house feel like home quickly while also maintaining your safety (and budget) but might otherwise get forgotten about in the chaos.
Some parts of moving are obvious, like unpacking, cleaning and organizing but other things may be slightly less so. The good news is that most of the items on the list are quick and easy. Plus, checking these things off of your list will help you sleep better at night and allow you to turn your new house into a your home even faster and make you feel like you've lived there for months, not days.
1. Change or rekey the locks and create spare keys. Security is easily the number one concern for most people in a new home. It is easy to switch out or rekey locks in your new home to protect yourself and your family. Yes, the sellers should have given you all of the keys they had BUT you never know who they may have also given keys to. Better safe than sorry. You don’t want any unwelcome visitors.
2. Change your address on all of your credit cards, utilities, subscriptions, etc. You don’t want to risk missing a bill or monthly subscription because it was sent to your old home. While most people typically pay bills online now, you also don’t want to risk your personal information getting sent to your old address with a new tenant or owner.
3. Replace the air filter. Changing the air filter takes only a couple minutes and should be done immediately after move in. Again, the sellers may have told you it was just replaced but it is best to clean it out and start fresh. Plus, changing out a filter can improve the performance of your HVAC and help with allergies in the home. Regular replacement also has the added benefit of saving you money! Replacing a dirty air filter will typically reduce energy consumption by 5-10%...which means a lower energy bill!
4. Do a deep clean of your new home (or hire someone else to do it). Again, the home should look pretty clean in theory but a deep clean before you unpack can make the whole process a lot easier and allow you to start fresh. You may also consider cleaning the carpet, especially if the old owners had pets or you notice any lingering odors. Like the deep clean, it allows you to start fresh and will instantly improve any smell. You can hire someone to do this or rent a steam cleaner at your local home improvement store.
5. Research the tax benefits of owning a home in your area. Don’t forget to apply for a homestead exemption to reduce your tax rate on your home. In addition, you can typically deduct the amount of interest paid through your mortgage within certain limits. You may also be able to deduct costs mortgage insurance premiums, points paid when purchasing or refinancing your home and certain other closing costs as well. Limitations and special stipulations can vary depending on factors like cost and location so it’s best to do your own research here to confirm what benefits you qualify for.
6. Create a filing system for all of your bills, home improvement receipts (these are potential tax deductions!), home warranty papers and insurance information. If you ever need these things, it will be likely in a pinch, so you don’t want to have to scour your whole home to find them. Plus, having receipts on hand when tax time rolls around can save you a lot of money via tax deductions.
7. Add a few personal touches. Try to find a few ways to personalize your new home. This could be as simple as painting a wall or door, adding a new doormat or flowers, selecting a signature scent or hanging family photos. Putting your personal touch on your new house will help you settle in and make it truly feel like home, even before all of the unpacking is done.
8. Start putting money aside for home improvements or repairs. Have a project list you’d like to complete in the new home? That’s great! Make a list, create a budget and start saving. As for home repairs, these (typically) don’t come cheap so having savings to help you will alleviate a lot of the potential stress. Plus, while you may be able to predict the need for replacement of some older appliances or systems, you will definitely have a surprise or two pop-up during your home ownership. Case and point, we came home from vacation to find our (not so old) water heater had busted and flooded the basement. While insurance will cover most of it, we still had to hit our deductible first. It is best to be prepared.
9. Meet your neighbors. Stop by and introduce yourself so you can get to know them. No one is better to keep an eye on your home than the people living right next door. Many neighborhoods hold regular gatherings or events. Plus, you might even meet a new friend! You can also check social media to see if there are active groups. Join these to stay updated on any local information or events.
10. Plan your house warming party! Buying a home is a big deal. After all, it is probably one of the largest investments you will make in your life. Now is the time to celebrate with your friends and family and show off your new place!
You did it! You are well on your way to making your house feel like a home. I know it can be a stressful process, but it will be well worth it in the end. Do you have any other tips or tricks that helped you get settled in your new home? Leave a comment below!