Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Moving In? What New Homeowners Should Do First

Every last piece of paper has been signed, the closing was successful, and there were handshakes all around. So, what now? You own a house but it’s not really your home yet. Home ownership is exciting and sometimes a bit daunting, but practical tasks can get lost in the piles of boxes on moving day. To make the first day in your new home a better experience, here is a basic checklist.

Call the utility companies. Service won’t start until you make contact. If you make a list and begin calling, you won’t be waiting for hot water.

Change the locks. You have no idea who has keys to the house, and just to be sure, a new lock system will give you peace of mind.

Do a walk-through with your family. Walk though the house, noting all the doors and how you can devise an emergency exit. If you and your family have to get out fast, you don’t want to be deterred because you are unfamiliar with the house layout.

Install smoke detectors and fire extinguishers. In addition to learning the exits, install or test fire extinguishers and smoke detectors immediately at strategic points throughout the house, like the kitchen, in hallways, the basement around the work area and laundry room.

Find your circuit breaker and water line shutoff. Locate these vital features and show family members how to turn off the water and reset the circuit breaker. Spending precious time looking for these can result in an even bigger flood or lights out.

Meet the neighbors. Walk next door and introduce yourself. Most likely the neighbors will come to you, but making the first effort is fine. Offer a compliment as an opener, such as noting the beautiful flowers along the walkway. Establishing good neighbor relations is a must as you ease into your new community.

Take your toolbox with you. To avoid frustration, keep your toolbox with you for easy access to equipment you may need to assemble furniture, make minor repairs, and just know where the screwdriver is.

Assemble an emergency first aid kit. With all the excitement of move-in day, there will be minor accidents, scraped knees, and smashed thumbs resulting from that handy toolbox. Don’t waste time rooting around for first aid supplies. Prepare a supply of band aids, antiseptic, gauze pads and ibuprofen; accidents do and will happen.
With just a little more planning for the big day, your moving experience will be less stressful and begin to make your new house your new home.

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