New Homeowner Checklist: 10 Things You Need to Do Right When You Move In

Jun 6, 2024 / Laura Bolt

Whether you’re a first-time buyer or a seasoned pro, a new homeowner checklist can ensure your move is smooth so you can celebrate rather than stress.

“Buying a house is a big deal, and there is a lot to the process,” says Blaine Cruse, a realtor, advisor, and Houston Director of Operations at BK Properties International. “It can invite chaos into your life if you aren’t prepared. Having a good checklist of what needs to be taken care of is a huge help in ensuring that those important items aren’t left out or undone.”

This new homeowner checklist will come in handy from loading the truck to unpacking at your new home. Follow this new homeowner checklist once you move in, and you’ll be enjoying your new home in no time!

1. Set Up (and Beef Up) Security

First up on your new homeowner checklist? Make sure your new home is as secure as possible.

“After you close on your house and everyone is done celebrating at the closing table, the first thing I recommend doing is getting all the locks changed on your house (this includes codes if they have keypads too), as well as getting the garage opener remotes changed to a different channel if possible,” says Cruse. “You have no idea who may have copies of the keys, codes, or remotes, and you want to be sure you have secured your home before you move in. If you purchased a home warranty, check with your provider as they may offer to change your locks for free or at a reduced price as part of your coverage.”

Jennifer Beeston, SVP of Mortgage Lending, agrees, noting, “I cannot stress changing your locks enough. That is generally the one that surprises homeowners the most, but I have had new homeowners who check on the house a week later and have found people in the home who should not be.  Always change the locks on day one.”

If your home doesn’t come with a security system, you may consider purchasing one yourself.

2. Turn On Your Utilities

new homeowner checklist recommends a first night box for easy access to personal items on first day.

No one wants to celebrate their first night in a new house in the dark.

As Cruse notes, “Nobody wants to move into a house without electricity, especially during those hot summer months.”

Contact your utility company and ask them to transfer your services to your new location for your move-in date. Remember, if you move from renting to owning, there may be additional services you’ll need to arrange.

You’ll want to make sure these are up and running by day one:

  • Electricity
  • Gas
  • Trash
  • Water
  • Internet

The process may differ depending on your local providers. Check with them to ensure you understand the process and how far in advance you must schedule the utility transfer. If you have a tight schedule, planning in advance can help ensure someone will be on the property if necessary, and you can avoid any time-sensitive roadblocks.

3. Do a Deep Clean

Ensuring your new home is as clean as possible is a vital part of your new homeowner checklist. After all, when is the next time you’ll have access to your space without any furniture in it?

Before you officially load up the truck, taking some time while your new home is empty to do a deep clean can make you more comfortable when you settle in. This is a great chance to wipe down floorboards, clean appliances, get in those bathroom nooks and crannies, wash the windows, and dust hard-to-reach surfaces.

This is also an excellent time to take care of any minor repairs that need to be done before moving in.

Is your energy feeling off? Check out our tips for cleansing your new home.

4. Separate Your Pets and Keep Them Comfortable

as part of new homeowner check list it is recommended you keep pets separate. Dog in living room as moving items get underway

Moving isn’t fun for pets. It can be scary. And even if you have brave animals, you don’t want to step on, trip over, or drop anything on them.

To help ease the transition, set up a little pet zone in the furthest possible room from your bedroom and bathroom. Provide your pet with food, water, toys, blankets, and other relevant items.

Be sure to check on them every so often to make sure they’re doing alright and haven’t gone missing.

We have more tips on how to make your furry friends feel at home on our blog.

5. Stock up on the Essentials

The last thing you want when moving in is realizing you’ve packed the last of the toilet paper or your plates are at the bottom of a box come dinner time. Make sure to separate the essentials you’ll need in the first few days to have on hand while you get unpacked.

“One thing new homeowners overlook is keeping high usage necessities available during the moving process,” says Cruse. “It is important to have a separate box or container handy during the moving process and the first few days of the move until you are unpacked. You don’t want to have an emergency (like a bathroom break) and try to go through a hundred boxes to find something you need.”

Some things Cruse recommends having easy access to are:

  • Deodorant
  • Toothbrushes and toothpaste
  • Toilet paper
  • Hand soap
  • Paper plates, plastic forks, plastic cups
  • Paper towels

You can also consider packing snacks and drinks ahead of time.

Remember to check out our comprehensive guide to unpacking after a move for a seamless experience.

6. Change Your Mailing Address For All Relevant Services

One of the most significant headaches when moving to a new home is making sure that all of your addresses are updated, which is why updating your mailing address deserves a spot on your new homeowner checklist. “It is one of those little things that can be forgotten but is critical to making sure your bills are paid on time but also protecting your identity because you never know who will get your mail after you move out,” says Beeston.

After all, you don’t want to wait to ensure you get all important homeowner related correspondence!

“I have had a countless number of my people reach out to me because the seller had a package delivered to their old address because they forgot to update their accounts,” says Cruse.

Fortunately, you can change your mailing address online with USPS. Still, you can’t be sure they’ll get everything to you, and not all of your mail will be forwarded.

Err on the side of caution by updating your address with all relevant entities — banks, credit card companies, subscription services, Amazon, etc.

7. Monitor Your Credit

“I always advise my clients to have their credit frozen at all times except for when they are buying a home.  The minute they are homeowners, it should be frozen,” says Beeston, who notes that “freezing your credit is very easy and makes it so you can still use your credit cards. It just makes it difficult to open new lines of credit for identity thieves.”

If you unfroze your credit during the home buying process, make sure to keep an eye on it to ensure that your information hasn’t been compromised and your credit stays secure.

8. Check the Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors

Check all smoke and carbon monoxide detectors the day you move in. Make sure they’re all plugged in and in good condition. Change the batteries in all units in case the previous owners left dead batteries in them. Replace any broken detectors with new units.

Spending extra time and money on these detectors is a necessary measure.

9. Find Your Essentials: Circuit Box, Appliance Manuals, and Emergency Shut-Offs

Understanding the inner workings of your home as soon as possible is essential. Find all your emergency shut-offs and circuit breakers. Label all circuits, if not already done, so you know where they all go.

Additionally, make sure you have manuals on hand for all your appliances. Store these in a safe, organized location.

10. Meet Your Neighbors

By this point, you should be partially, if not mostly settled into your new home by this point. Your neighbors may have also invited themselves over, bearing gifts in the form of snacks or drinks.

But if not, feel free to invite them over and introduce themselves. They might be hesitant about “intruding,” so be welcoming and strike up some conversation. Knowing your neighbors is a great way to get to know the neighborhood, create resources in case of emergency, and, of course, make some new friends.

Follow this new homeowner checklist, and you’ll be a happy homeowner in no time.

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