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Everything You Should Do Before Moving Into a New Home

checklist for moving

Buying a new house is thrilling, but keeping track of the many things to do before moving can be a chore. It is often easy to set aside thoughts about your new residence when packing up your old house, however performing a couple projects in your new home while it’s still vacant can save you a lot of stress in the future.

Read on to learn what important projects you should complete before spending the first night in your home.

Your Checklist for Moving Into a New Home

Are you questioning what you need to do when moving into a new home? The best place to start is carrying out a thorough deep clean and several safety updates to protect your property and house before the official move-in day.

moving into new house

Clean the House Extensively

Though your new place may look pretty clean, odds are the previous owners left behind some dirt. Cleaning your new home before moving in should be one of the first things done. There could be anything from dust, pet fur or other dander and pollen concealed almost anywhere, and there’s no proof that they cleansed the appliances as well as you would prefer. Deep clean the house from top to bottom, and don’t forget these areas:

  • Floors: Shampoo carpets, mop or Swiffer hardwood, and bleach tile to rid allergens and residual smells. If you don't trust yourself enough, call the pro's.

  • Baseboards and Walls: First dust and then use warm water or a mild cleaner to wipe them down. Be sure to test on a small area before cleaning them all to ensure that you won't stain or change the natural colors.

  • Cabinets: Wipe down the outsides and insides. Don't forget to reach to the very back to get it all!

  • Kitchen Appliances: Ovens, refrigerators, microwaves and dishwashers all require different cleaning methods depending on the materials they're composed of. Most are very straightforward and cost efficient. Make sure to search the specific types of materials your appliances are made out of to prevent any damage. Clean the inside and outsides of each one to prolong their use.

  • Washing machine: Run some cycles with just vinegar and baking soda to eliminate any smells or pet hair the previous tenants left behind.

  • Ceiling fans: Remove any remaining dust with a damp rag or duster.

  • Toilet seats: Disinfect these with bleach (unless you’re replacing them).

  • Light fixtures: Take off and scrub to get rid of filth.

Are you moving across the state or country? Think about hiring a professional cleaning service if you won't have time to do the thorough cleaning yourself before your trip. You can also plan to arrive at the your new home a couple days before your belongings do to make sure you have plenty of time to clean the house before moving your furniture in.

changing a door lock

Have the Locks Rekeyed

Be sure to call a locksmith and have them rekey any external locks before moving any valuables into the house. Locksmiths can rekey the lock without having to replace the entire lock, keeping more cash in your pocket. Or if you feel confident enough and really want to save yourself some money, rekey the locks yourself. Also spend the time to change any passwords or security codes on your security system, garage doors, etc.

Test Smoke Detectors

Your smoke detectors may be broken or have worn out batteries. Replace all the batteries and test them. If your new house has carbon monoxide detectors, test those as well and check for a creation date. If they're over five years old, it's recommended to update them with new ones.

Replace Air Filters

There’s no guaranteed way to determine how old the filters in your HVAC system are. if someone in your household is sensitive or allergic to dander, pollen or dust, this is an incredibly necessary step. Replace the current air filters and write the replacement date on the side of the filter or mark it in your calendar so you know when it's time to replace them again.

Find Circuit Breakers and Shut-Off Valves

You’ll want to get yourself used to these items in case of a plumbing leak, power outage or tripped breaker. Always be prepared for an emergency by locating these areas before moving in. Take time to identify which breaker goes to what room of your home and make sure they're properly labeled for the future. (FYI, it’s a smart idea to keep a flashlight nearby for a possible power outage.)

Home Improvements to Complete Before Moving In

Home Improvements to Finish Before Moving In

If you’re planning to make small to midsize updates to your new house, consider completing the project before your house is full of your possessions. Many tasks are easier (and sometimes less expensive) when the home is completely empty.

Add these projects to the top of your list:

Renovate the Flooring

Not a huge fan of the existing carpet? Do the hardwood floors need an update? Every flooring project is less complicated in a bare house and some flooring businesses will even give you a discount if there is no furniture they need to move.

Pulling up carpet, sanding hardwood and laying tile can produce lots of loose debris and dirt, resulting in taking longer than you'd anticipated. In regards to hardwood floors, refinishing or sanding will call for the removal of all furniture, will create loads of dust and can involve lengthy dry-times before regular foot traffic can resume, says Brett Miller, VP of Technical Education at the National Wood Flooring Association.

Rather than interrupting the first few weeks in your new home, complete this larger home improvement job before moving in.

Update the Kitchen

If you are anticipating wanting to renovate your new kitchen, it’s preferred to undertake this before you're all moved in. Prevent disruptions in your kitchen from an ongoing renovation while you're trying to make meals so that you can enjoy your new home as much as possible.

Check for Leaks in case of Needed Roof Repairs

Although roofing jobs can be completed while the house is inhabited, moving into a house where water is leaking indoors isn't ideal. Inspect for any signs of a leak in the attic and ceilings. Call a professional roofer if you notice anything concerning. Finishing this project before moving in will make sure your belongings avoid any water damage.

Paint Interior Rooms

Painting the inside of your home when it's occupied involves wasting money and time draping or moving furniture. Why not complete the job while the rooms are still empty? Deciding on colors before living in the house may be challenging, but the work will be worth it in the long run.

Remove Popcorn Ceilings and Walls

If your new home was built before 2005, it's possible it will have popcorn ceilings in some rooms. Removing this element is easy, but especially messy. If you’re determined to get rid of this outdated ceiling feature, it's recommended to finish this project before move-in day.


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