New Home Checklist: 7 Essential First Week Tasks
Congratulations, you’ve bought a house! Purchasing the home you want is exciting. We’re here to help you minimize the inevitable stress of moving. After planning a move for months and diligently doing all the packing, prepping, and logistics, many people moving into a new home find themselves at a loss about their next steps. Settling in takes a long time, and it can be easy to procrastinate tasks that need to be done during the first week in your new home. Luckily, we’ve compiled a convenient new home checklist list for easy reference.
We’ll discuss these seven tips for your first week in your new home.
- Transfer utilities and services to your name.
- Schedule installers for new tech or appliances.
- Inform the postal service and forward your mail.
- Change your locks.
- Change of address with services and institutions.
- Set aside emergency items.
- Follow-up about deposits.
1. Transfer Utilities and Services to Your Name
This one can cause a significant headache if not tackled right away after moving into a new home. Many utility companies and internet service providers monitor and charge based on use. As a result, they are very limited in how they can backdate service changes. If this is not done immediately you may end up having to reimburse a previous resident for usage on their account or even paying for usage from a current resident in your old home. It’s essential to get these changed immediately to eliminate the possibility of financial liability down the line.
Some services you want to remember (though you may have one or two different ones) to transfer are:
- Trash and recycling
2. Schedule Installers for New Tech and Appliances
This is one that people often procrastinate, only to wish they’d tackled it right after moving into a new home. Setting up installers for a new internet or TV service is one most people remember since they’ll need it to get those services. So, they are in high demand. These businesses often have a long wait for the installation appointments. Make these calls on day one in your new home if not several days before.
It will never be easier to replace your appliances than upon moving in. This is also true if you were planning on adding tech solutions like smart home equipment, exterior cameras, or alarm systems. Getting these installations set up immediately will allow you to settle into your house the way you want it without having to accommodate for upcoming additions while you are unpacking.
3. Inform the Postal Service and Forward Your Mail
You hope if mail gets sent to your previous address, the current resident would forward it. But that is simply not a reliable assumption to make. Missing mail can be a huge issue, particularly if you’re getting official mail on health plans, investment portfolios, credit cards, and taxes. Without changing your address, official mail will continue to come to your old address, often putting sensitive identity information in the hands of a stranger.
You can easily change your address on The Postal Service’s website. They will automatically forward mail to your new address for 12 months. You can do this up to three months before you move or 30 days after you move. But don’t wait too long. Even if official mail gets returned to sender, it may be weeks before it makes it to your new address. It’s better to stay on top of it from the beginning. Failure to forward will mean making disputes via the USPS’s missing mail system, which could mean a long wait to find out what happened to your important packages and letters.
4. Change Your Locks
This is a simple, but essential step. It is absolutely imperative to change your locks when you move in. Not only could previous residents and realtors still have copies of your keys, but you have no way of knowing how many keys existed or who has them.
Control access to your house from the start, and have exterior locks ready to go when you move in so that you can change them right away. Better yet, many new homes come with a first-year home warranty, and changing locks is often a service that is offered through them. Take advantage of it and have those locks changed right away!
5. Change of Address with Services and Institutions
All the institutions that didn’t need updated service addresses in step one will still need to be contacted. Though mail forwarding will help mitigate problems with this, it won’t last forever. Changing addresses on all financial institutions and subscription services will be necessary. If you procrastinate these calls, then you may be left wondering who has your current address and who has the old address months down the line.
Changing addresses with institutions such as banks and government offices will be necessary as well. The DMV and other government agencies often have strict rules about how soon you must notify them about a change of address, so it’s better to get these done immediately. Don’t get caught explaining to a police officer in a year why your driver’s license still has your old address on it. Take care of it this first week.
6. Set Aside Emergency Items
When you’ve just moved into a new house, things can be chaotic. You may not know where half of your stuff is, and it may take a while to find. Though everyone hopes for a smooth move and a smooth unpacking process, plan for the worst. Set aside must-have items and emergency preparedness items immediately.
What your emergency items are depends on you. Obviously, you want things like a flashlight, matches, and water bottles handy in case your house has some hiccups. If you have young children, consider putting aside essential toys. You won’t be settled in for a bit, so be ready for the unexpected.
7. Follow-up About Deposits
Depending on your specific situation, it’s likely you were owed utility or security deposits from your old home. Do not let these things linger. Even if you have no reason to believe that anything is wrong in the reimbursement process, it is worth a follow-up call. If you neglect to check on these, it can be a more difficult process to pry your money out of a landlord or utility company when they haven’t heard a peep out of you since moving.
Enjoy Your New Home
Moving into a new home is exciting. Turning a blank space into the hub of your life is full of tantalizing possibilities and potential. You shouldn’t have to waste that thrilling time wondering what to do after buying a house. Hopefully, this new home checklist will help you prioritize the right steps, so you have more time for building a new life in your new home.
If you are looking for help navigating the new home buying process, contact our experienced team.