When my family and I bought our first house, the timing couldn’t have been better: The house closing was two weeks before the lease was up on our apartment. That meant we could take our time packing and moving, and we could get to know the new place before moving in.
We recruited family and friends to help us move and, as a bonus, we talked about what first- time homeowners should know. Here are a few things I learned before moving into your new home and what you should do to keep you and your family safe!
Change the Locks
You really don’t know who else has keys to your home, so change the locks. That ensures you’re the only person who has access. Install new deadbolts yourself for as little as $10 per lock, or call a locksmith — if you supply the new locks, they typically charge about $20 to $30 per lock for labor.
Check for Plumbing Leaks
Your home inspector should do this for you before closing, but it never hurts to double-check. I didn’t have any plumbing leaks to fix, but when checking my kitchen sink, I did discover the sink sprayer was broken. I replaced it for under $20.
Keep an eye out for dripping faucets and running toilets, and check your water heater for signs of a leak.
Here’s a neat trick: Check your water meter at the beginning and end of a two-hour window in which no water is being used in your house. If the reading is different, you have a leak.
Steam Clean Carpets
Do this before you move your furniture in, and your new home life will be off to a fresh start. You can pay a professional carpet cleaning service — you’ll pay about $50 per room; most services require a minimum of about $100 before they’ll come out — or you can rent a steam cleaner for about $30 per day and do the work yourself. I was able to save some money by borrowing a steam cleaner from a friend.
Image: Bearded Brothers Moving Group
Get Help With Unboxing:
While it’s super exciting to get into your new home, it can feel overwhelming attempting to get everything set up in a timely and organized manner. Have help from a local moving company assist you in this! Bearded Brothers Moving Group not only moves your items from point A to point B but they can also help you unpack! These labor movers in Youngstown, Ohio know all the tips and tricks to get you unpacked, boxes cut down and for you to finally enjoy your home clutter free. Be sure to ask any questions or concerns you have and see all their incredible services to help your specific requests.
Give Critters the Heave-Ho
That includes mice, rats, bats, termites, roaches, and any other uninvited guests. There are any number of DIY ways to get rid of pests, but if you need to bring out the big guns, an initial visit from a pest removal service will run you $100 to $300, followed by monthly or quarterly visits at about $50 each time.
For my mousy enemies, I strategically placed poison packets around the kitchen, and I haven’t found any carcasses or any more poop, so the droppings I found must have been old. I might owe a debt of gratitude to the snake that lives under my back deck, but I prefer not to think about him.
Introduce Yourself to Your Circuit Breaker Box and Main Water Valve
My first experience with electrical wiring was replacing a broken light fixture in a bathroom. After locating the breaker box, which is in my basement, I turned off the power to that bathroom so I wouldn’t electrocute myself.
It’s a good idea to figure out which fuses control what parts of your house and label them accordingly. This will take two people: One to stand in the room where the power is supposed to go off, the other to trip the fuses and yell, “Did that work? How about now?
You’ll want to know how to turn off your main water valve if you have a plumbing emergency, if a hurricane or tornado is headed your way, or if you’re going out of town. Just locate the valve — it could be inside or outside your house — and turn the knob until it’s off. Test it by turning on any faucet in the house; no water should come out.
There are several other things to do before you begin your new life in your new home but I think these are the most basic and ones you should probably jump on right away! Are there any things you’d add to the list yourself?