Now that your belongings are safe and sound in your new place, the toughest and most stressful part of the moving process is behind you. But don’t let your energy sag just yet—there’s still a little more to do! As you slowly but surely unpack, take care of these other jobs to make sure you and your family have maximum comfort and safety.
We’ve put together a handy checklist of 5 things you need to do after you have moved into a new home.
Make sure the home is private and secure.
If anyone has lived in your property before you, one of your first orders of business needs to be changing out your door locks. This ensures that there are no spare keys floating around that could give unauthorized people a way to enter your home. If you are renting, check your rental agreement.
Even if the law in your region does not require your landlord or property manager to switch locks or have a key, most rental contracts indicate they can have access to the home for maintenance or safety and compliance checks. This means you might need to clear the switch with them and make sure they have a key.
As you change your locks, it’s a great time to install a home security system. There are four major system types, including monitored, unmonitored, wireless and electric current. Each of these has pros and cons and varies in regard to cost, installation complexity and your ability to customize settings. Again, if needed, work with your landlord.
Your windows will need a second look, too. Check that all window locks are functioning and that the screens are solidly in place.
Lastly, put up your curtains or blinds! This can feel like a finishing touch to do later when you’re hanging pictures. But without window dressings in place, neighbors—or anyone passing by—easily can see that you’re home and know exactly what you do and own.
- Inspect safety tools.
Smoke, CO2 detectors and fire extinguishers might already be in place, but if you don’t know when they were installed or how long they’ve been in use, you want to make sure they’re “fresh” and will stay operational for a while. Switch out the batteries in the detectors and make sure the gauge on the extinguishers reads full.
- Verify repairs or general functionality.
If you had a few repairs –for example, a leaky faucet—scheduled before you moved in, check that your maintenance person or private provider actually took care of the work. Check other functionalities, too. For example, check the electrical box and test your outlets.
- Look for problems related to the move.
Even if you hired professional movers or helpers, accidents can happen. Look for damage that might necessitate a reimbursement or replacement request, require repair or affect your insurance. If you are renting and there are problems with the property itself rather than your belongings, make sure you document each issue and tell your landlord. This ensures that, if they need to take money out of your security deposit, they do so fairly.
- Handle your important documents and other irreplaceable items.
Thanks to new technologies and digital ways of doing business, many records, such as bank statements, are easy to access and replace if needed. But other documents, such as passports, are harder to replace. If you don’t already have one, buy a fireproof safety box for these documents.
Alternately, consider putting them in a safety deposit box at a bank or other institution. These preservation methods also are important for items like valuable jewelry, flash drives of confidential data or copies of home videos.
In sum, putting your belongings away is important, but it’s secondary to looking at safety and functionality. Because the unexpected can happen the moment you move in, and because you might only have a certain amount of time to deal with repairs or damage, protect what’s hard to replace and ensure the right people are held accountable right away.
Remember as you complete the move-in process that others, such as members of your local police department or homeowner’s association, can provide incredibly helpful information about your rights or services that might be of help to you.