Guest Post by HomeAdvisor
Congratulations on moving into your new home! As you settle in, it’s important to take the necessary steps to protect your investment. From checking the locks to connecting utilities, you have a laundry list of to-do’s before that final “ahhhh” moment. To help you move through your honey-do inventory, here are eight essential steps to get you completely settled into your new home:
#1 Check your moving boxes.
Although you checked and double-checked your packing job, there’s a chance some of your possessions didn’t survive the move. While looking through smaller items, make sure major appliances work as well. If damage occurred during the move, reference your contract to see if you have any access to liability coverage or insurance.
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#2 Inspect appliances.
If you didn’t bring appliances with you to your new home, not to worry–sometimes previous owners leave goodies behind. While hand-me-down appliances are convenient, it’s best not to rely on them too heavily–you don’t want to be at the mercy of an unreliable washing machine or oven.
#3 Have the utilities turned on.
Before your move-in date, it’s always a good idea to make sure your utilities are connected and turned on. Depending on the company, sometimes title companies will handle the transfer of utilities (all you have to do is ask the realtor when they’re scheduled to be turned on). If you’re new in town and unsure who to contact regarding utilities, you can call a local municipal office for more information.
#4 Look for the circuit breaker.
Did your home’s previous owner label the breaker switches? If some of the labels are peeling off or non-existent, find out which switches power the different parts of your home and label them accordingly. If the circuit breaker switches aren’t working, you will need an immediate repair or upgrade (which can cost about $1,100).
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#5 Find the water shut-off valve.
In the case of an emergency, it’s extremely important to be able to locate the water shut-off valve for your home. Most homes have two shut-off valves: the main (indoors) and another for the outside water. If you don’t know where either of these valves are, ask the realtor or the previous owners where to find them. Not knowing where to locate your water mains can lead to expensive repairs should something go wrong.
#6 Put new batteries in your detectors.
After the move, make sure to replace the batteries in your fire and carbon monoxide detectors. Also, check the location and condition of fire extinguishers (it’s a good policy to make one available in each room).
#7 Get a schedule for trash and recycling.
Trash pick-up differs from neighborhood to neighborhood. Check with your homeowner association (HOA) or call the local waste management service to find out your schedule.
#8 Change out all the locks.
There’s a chance the previous owners of your home gave copies of their keys to neighbors or close friends. As a result (even though your neighbors aren’t burglars) it’s important to change out the old locks — front, back and any basement or porch doors.
Andrea Davis is the editor at HomeAdvisor, which connects homeowners with home improvement professionals in their area for free.