Moving into a new home can be a big adjustment for you, your family and even your pets. The moving process definitely entails some planning, but it also rewards your efforts with a smoother move-in. And once you’re in your new home, there are some fun and creative ways to make your new house a real home.
So, if you really want to settle in with a smooth and effortless move-in day, here are the 10 tips for moving into a new house you may want to jot down:
- Change Your Address
- Store Important Documents
- Set Up a Security System
- Check Up on Repairs
- Get to Know Your Knew Home
- Review HOA Regulations
- Make Your Vision a Reality
- Get to Know Your Neighborhood
- Throw a Housewarming Party
Change Your Address
When moving into a new home, it’s important to spread the word. Be sure to file change-of-address forms with the post office so that your mail is sent to your new address. It’s best to do so before you move to make sure you don’t miss important mail, and so bills in need of payment are not delayed.
There are a few other places you’ll need to update your address: your driver’s license, voter registration, credit cards companies and banks, auto insurance providers, publication subscriptions and, of course, utilities.
Store Important Documents
Many things can get lost or temporarily misplaced in a big move. Moving van documents and important real estate papers can all too easily end up looking like trash in the midst of all your boxes, so be sure to keep these papers safe. Your closing documents make note of your mortgage, costs and ownership of the house, so definitely make sure those are tucked away safely.
Other receipts and papers that document your moving expenses may be tax deductible, so save those receipts. Furthermore, there will be several new appliances and systems in your new home. Keep all warranties and instructions for these items so that you know how to operate them properly or who to call for service.
Set Up a Security System
If your new house is not already equipped with a security system, you may want to consider setting one up. “For many people, a new home is a new environment and sometimes knowing that you’re protected can give you some sort of peace of mind,” says Kevin Raposo, of SimpliSafe Home Security, a home security company based in Boston, Mass.
Also, consider changing your locks. Many builders use construction locks during the building process and only key the permanent locks shortly before you move-in. In that case, it’s likely not necessary to change your locks, but it not a bad idea to check.
Check Up on Repairs
Most builders conduct a final walkthrough shortly before you close on your new home. This is the time when last-minute details are noted. Many will have been taken care of before you move in. If there are any open items, check with your builder so that each item is attended to. A burned-out lightbulb, a chipped electrical outlet cover, or a spot of touchup paint that’s needed are typical items that can show up during a final walkthrough.
Get to Know Your New Home
Your new home can be a bit of a mystery to you until you take the time to get to know it. That’s why most builders conduct a new home orientation. This is the time when the builder will show you the location and operation of key systems and components in your new home. The builder will likely also explain warranties and provide you with printed and/or electronic versions of operating manuals and warranties.
This is the time to make sure you know where the electrical circuit breakers, water cutoff valves and other key aspects of your home are located and how to operate them. Many builders also provide a record of the paint colors and brands, carpet and flooring choices and other decorative aspects of your home. It’s wise to file this information for future reference. Also, make sure you know where, when and how to change your furnace and air conditioning filters. Jotting down filter sizes is a great idea, too.
Learn to operate any and all systems — and save the manuals for them. This includes home security, home automation, home theater, garage door openers, water softeners, sprinkler systems, programmable thermostats, appliances and more.
Lastly, consider determining the best plans in case of a fire or other emergency. Locating these basic parts of the house and planning ahead will serve you in the future.
Review Homeowners Association (HOA) Regulations
You may love homeowners associations or you may be skeptical. Either way, it’s important to review your HOA rules since each community has slightly different regulations. Find out what you can and can’t do in terms of renovations and decorations. Your HOA guidelines can also help you figure out what the trash and recycling collection schedule is, as well as many other important “need-to-knows.”
Make Your Vision a Reality
When you first looked at your new home, you probably imagined what it would look like with full paint, furniture and accessories. The first few months of living in your new home is the perfect time to bring that vision to life. Decorate your home in the manner you imagined so that you love it. You must make your home your own if you want to feel comfortable in it and proud of it.
Get to Know Your Neighborhood
Your house doesn’t stand alone; it’s part of a whole community! So, don’t wait for your neighbors to come to you — go out and meet them. Your neighbors can become some of your closest friends, plus they can help watch your home when you’re away. The benefits are endless. Have kids? Your new neighbors may as well. A playgroup or swim team may be up and running. Other residents may share your interests. Many a new home community has a vibrant club for movie buffs, travel aficionados, wine enthusiasts and more. Can’t find a group with your interest yet? Start one via social media or community bulletin boards.
It’s also important to know your community for practical reasons. “Collect emergency information for the fridge — know the address and phone numbers of the nearest hospital, police station and fire station,” suggests Marc Jungers, president of Houston-based Grand View Builders. If you have pets, it’s a good idea to know where the closest vet and animal hospital are located. The more you know about your neighborhood, the more assimilated you will feel.
Throw a Housewarming Party
Once you and your family are settled and feeling comfortable, celebrate your home with friends, family and neighbors. Show off all the hard work and effort you put into making your new home beautiful and unique. As a bonus, some people have even been known to bring gifts to these parties.
You’ve moved all your stuff in, contacted the proper places and businesses, and taken the steps to make your new house a home. What’s next? Relax, of course! Enjoy your new home, neighbors and community amenities. Sit back, unwind and bask in the success of creating a home made just for you.
Kathleen Ashcraft is a former content intern with NewHomeSource. She works with Global Client Support – Morningstar Development Program in Chicago, Ill. She attended the University of Notre Dame and graduated in 2015 with a major in English and a minor in Journalism. She worked with the student-run magazine, Scholastic, writing for its Culture and Sports sections.