New Homeowner Guide: 6 Things You Must Do Before Move-In
So you’ve just purchased your first home and you’re excited to move into a place that you can call your own. There are many things you need to do as a new homeowner to get the place ready for you and your family.
It’s normal to feel overwhelmed as a first time home buyer. There’s likely a lot of items on your to-do list, and even some things you haven’t thought of yet — like checking your pipes for leaks, scheduling an appointment with an HVAC technician, and making sure you have all the right insurance coverage for your home.
To make sure you’re prepared for your move in date, here are 6 things every new homeowner should do when moving into a new home.
Make Sure to Change The Locks
One thing many homebuyers forget to do is to change the locks in their new home. This is the first thing you should do before you even begin moving furniture into your home.
You can’t truly know whether or not there are extra keys to your home floating around out there. The previous owner may have forgotten who they’ve given keys to over the years, so it’s best to change the locks.
This is the cheapest and easiest thing you can do to ensure your family’s safety. Make sure that you change all of the locks and deadbolts, including those that grant access to your garage, shed, and any exterior closets or storage areas.
Check The Smoke Detectors
Next, it’s critical that you take the time to check all the smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in your home before spending the night there for the first time.
Unless you know for certain that the previous homeowner replaced all of these alarms right before you moved in, you’ll want to take the time to ensure that they’re fully functional.
Your smoke detectors need to be replaced every 10 years. Replacing these detectors regularly ensures that they’re working when you need them most.
As soon as you’re able to move into your home, locate all of the smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in your home so that you know where they are.
Next, check the dates of manufacture, and test them to make sure that they’re still working properly.
Finally, make sure there’s a smoke alarm in each bedroom, in the hallway outside the bedrooms, and on each floor.
Have The HVAC System Inspected
Another homeowner must-have is a functioning HVAC system.
When getting settled, consider scheduling to have an HVAC technician inspect your heater and air conditioner. Even if your home has a relatively new HVAC system, it’s important that these systems are serviced annually.
Having your system inspected early in the move-in process will help to ensure that you don’t get stuck in uncomfortable heat or cold.
An experienced technician can perform any necessary maintenance and repairs, which can help to prevent your system from breaking down when you need it most.
As part of their routine service, an HVAC technician will also clean your system and replace the air filters. This will keep everything running efficiently, helping to reduce operating costs as well as wear and tear that can lead to costly repairs down the road.
Check for Plumbing Leaks
As you start unpacking, take this opportunity to check the plumbing throughout your home for signs of leaks. While your home inspector should have done a thorough inspection of your home’s plumbing before closing, it never hurts to double-check.
Plus, this can help you get into the habit of looking for signs of leaks and water damage.
Take some time to look at all of the toilets in your home. If you hear the water running long after flushing the toilet, this can cost you a lot of money over time. You should also look under all sinks to see if the pipes are leaking.
One trick to help you spot a leak in your home is to check your water meter at the beginning and end of a two-hour period where no water is being run in your home.
If the reading is different at the end of the two-hour window, you may have a leak, and you should consider having a plumber inspect your home. Even a small leak can turn into a huge headache if left unchecked, which is why it’s important to stay alert and regularly maintain the pipes in your home.
Locate Your Main Water Valve
A burst pipe means dozens of gallons of water can quickly flood your home, causing hundreds, or even thousands, of dollars in damage. In this type of emergency, it’ll be important that you know where your main water valve is so that you can turn off the water supply to your home.
It’s important to take some time to locate your home’s main water valve soon after your move in. Depending on where you live, it will either be inside your home (usually in the basement or another warm area to prevent freezing), attached to an exterior wall, or in an underground box near the street.
Take some time to familiarize yourself with where the water valve is and how it works. This will help ensure that you can react quickly to shut off the water supply to your home in an emergency.
Make Sure You’re Properly Insured
As a first time home buyer, it’s likely that your home is your largest asset. Take extra steps to ensure that your home is properly protected with the right insurance policies.
While your mortgage lender may require you to purchase homeowners insurance, many new homeowners are surprised to discover that these insurance policies often have gaps in coverage. Some homeowners insurance policies generally don’t cover flood damage.
If you live in an area that’s prone to flooding, consider investing in flood insurance as part of your first home essentials checklist. Even relatively minor flooding can cause thousands of dollars in damage.
Give yourself peace of mind that you have the right coverage to protect your home. Contact us to request a quote and learn if you live in a high risk flood zone >