Monday, May 8, 2017 / by Nicole Solari
7 Tasks to Tackle Before Moving Day
Quick! What’s the first thing most homeowners want to do upon closing on a new house? If you said “move in,” you’re correct!
I’ve been working as a Realtor here in the Twin Cities for 5 years now and have spent much of my time working with first-time homebuyers. I pride myself on educating home buyers throughout the entire process. There are so many things to know about owning a home and, as a homeowner myself for several years now, I truly enjoy passing along as much information as I possibly can!
And, unless you bought a total fixer-upper, moving into the new house is at the top of the list. But, slow down there, Skippy. You have a few things to take care of if you want to ensure that the home is safe and in move-in condition. These projects are best done before moving in, while the home is empty. That being said, I know it’s not always possible to spend a few days fixing things up before you move in, so just do the best you can!
1. Change them locks, Stat!
In my opinion, this is one of the most important first steps when moving into your new home, that often gets overlooked….believe it or not! Since you have no way of knowing how many sets of house keys are floating around out there, changing the locks before moving in is a no-brainer. It’s an easy, quick and inexpensive way to have peace of mind. A new, front-door lock set will run you about $65 at your local hardware store. Depending on how many sets you need to change out, this shouldn’t cost you much more than a couple hundred dollars and a few hours of your time. Get goin!
2. Clean, Clean, Clean, Clean…
Working as a “buyer’s agent”, one of the more common questions I get is: “How clean will the house be when I/we take possession?” That’s a very tough question to answer because there isn’t really an exact answer. Everyone has a different definition of clean, so you can imagine what some homes may look like upon opening the front door for the first time…! I just always tell my clients to plan on doing a deep, thorough cleaning; from top to bottom. Here are some cleaning ideas for commonly missed items:
- All windows and screens
- HVAC ductwork (best done professionally)
- Kitchen appliances….especially the stove
- Fireplace-if there is one (definitely have done professionally)
- Steam clean carpets
- Power wash exterior siding and/or deck
BuzzFeed offers a great article with 31 ways to deep clean your house!
3. Gas, Water and Electric…
One of the first things you need to do is notify your utility companies; preferably before moving into your new house. Often times, you can get contact information from previous owner, for such providers as gas, electric, water, internet, cable and garbage haulers. In most places, you will need to have the basic services in your name before you move in. This one is probably the “least fun” tasks involved with home ownership BUT it is absolutely necessary.
4. Closet Systems…
More info to come…
5. Fix what’s broken…
More info to come…
6. Mind your HVAC systems…
More info to come…
7. Make it safe for the little ones
Take a tour of the home while it’s vacant, with an eye toward possible hazards to pets and kids. You’ll need electrical outlet covers and cupboard latches, of course, but where else do hazards exist? Will you need to buy baby/pet gates to block stairway access? Take a tour of the garage and decide if you’ll need to build shelves to keep chemicals, paint, sharp tools and the like up
high and out of the reach of the little ones – both two and four legged. Walk around the exterior of the home, taking note of what’s planted in the landscape. Plants, such as oleander, foxglove, rhododendron and even the charming lily-of-the-valley are toxic if ingested and, in the case of oleander, if the fumes are inhaled while burning the plant. If you have any doubts about the toxicity of a particular plant, check The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals’ large database of toxic and non-toxic plants. Finally, check the fencing for any space large enough for a pet or child to squeeze through and the irrigation system to ensure none of the sprinkler heads are stuck in an upright position, causing a tripping hazard. Sure, it’s frustrating to slow down the move-in process once the house is yours and you have the keys in hand. But taking a weekend to ensure the home is safe and habitable can save your family from safety hazards and from being inconvenienced in the long run.