When my husband and I first bought our home we were so excited! Then, we moved in and realized what we were in for! There is so much that goes into taking care of a home and it is often overwhelming for new homeowners. Now, we’ve been living here for almost 4 years and have a grasp on what’s really involved. I’ve gathered the information I wish we had when we first bought our home. Here is a list of the 5 things new homeowners should do first:
Start with the most important place, the toilet seat. Wipe it down or replace it. I’d just go through all the bathrooms at the same time to get it over with.
Then, move on the shower. You really only need to clean one shower the first day if you are short on time. But clean at least one and replace the shower curtain. You’re going to want to wake up tomorrow and take a shower!
Next, clean your fridge, oven, microwave, kitchen and bathroom sink. At least wipe everything with a Clorox wipe until you can clean it thoroughly.
I highly recommend that you put shelf liners in your kitchen cabinets before you start unpacking anything kitchen supplies. I figured out where I wanted to put things in my kitchen while I was cutting and putting in the shelf liners. This is a small step that will protect your cabinets for a long time. I like the foamy square kind and not the adhesive kind.
2. Change the Locks
Whether the previous homeowners are complete strangers or seemingly normal acquaintances, you don’t want to lay your head on your pillow for the first time in your new home and think to yourself “someone else has a key to my house!”. I don’t know about you, but right before I fall asleep is usually the time that I find things to worry about! Even if you’ve purchased a brand-new home that didn’t have any previous owners, someone somewhere (think: builders, construction team etc.) has a key to the old locks.
Changing the locks is super simple. In fact, I did it myself when we first moved in. My husband was expecting me to come ask him to help and he was super surprised when I finished so quickly!
All you need to do is pick up some new lock sets at your local home improvement store. The new lock set usually includes new handles, locks and keys. Check the package to see exactly what is included in yours. The sets usually come with supplies for two doors. So, If there are 4 doors in your home, you’ll need to buy two sets. The same key will usually work for both locks in the set.
When you’re installing the new locks think about putting them in an order that makes sense. For example, we used one set for the front doors and one set for the back doors.
If you find yourself being overwhelmed by the amount of keys your accumulating (I know I was!) check out my post about how to label your keys with nail polish.
Also, remember to change the code to your garage door opener! Tip: If the previous owner didn’t leave the manual, you can google it! You can google manuals for almost any product. Just type the brand, model and “owner’s manual”.
3. Inspect Your Home
Uhh…I already had a home inspection! Yes, I hope you did. But during your home inspection you were probably too excited to be in your home to be looking with a critical eye. Walk through your home (with your spouse, if you have one) and take a close look. Take note of things that you didn’t notice before.
I know your home is yours now, faults and all. But there are a few reasons why you should do this during your first few days in your home.
The most important reason for this is that if there is anything wrong with your home (like a leak, water damage, mold, etc.) you’ll want to fix that right away.
Another reason is that when you do discover damage in your home you’ll want to know if it came from the previous owners or from your family. We always wonder that! There is this little dent in our walls and some other small flaws that we don’t know if we caused or if the previous owners are to blame.
4. Change Your Address
There are two places that you need to change your address, the DMV and the post office.
Changing your address with the DMV
It’s really important that you do this right away. Depending on your state, you may have only 2 days to change your address after switching residences. Some states give you 10 days. You should check the DMV website for your particular state to find out exactly how long you have. Your best bet is to do this as soon as possible.
To find out what you need to do you should look up your state’s DMV address changing policy. Some states require you to mail in a form and some states allow you to change your address online. Many states offer the option of doing this at your local police department. To find out your state specific information you should Google “(your state) DMV address change process”.
Changing your address with the post office
This is really easy! Just go to usps.com/move and fill out the form. They’ll forward mail from the old address that you list for up to one year for most mail types. However, they will stop mailing periodicals, like magazines after 60 days. USPS usually sends out some really great coupons when you change your address (like $10 off at Lowe’s).
You’ll want to change your address for important places, like you bank and credit cards, as soon as you can. But the USPS mail forwarding service will buy you some time on most other things.
Tip: Send a mass email to your friends and family with your new address.
5. Take Pictures!
Whether your home is a fixer upper or a new construction, chances are you are going to change it and personalize it quite a bit. You’re going to want to look back at the before pictures in the future to see how far your home has come!
Tip: Any time you do anything to change any part of your home, always take a before picture. We love looking back at how different our home used to look before the changes we’ve made to it!
I hope you found this list of the 5 things new homeowners should do first helpful!
What were the first things you did when you moved into your home? Leave a comment below.
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