What Should You Do When You First Move In To Your New Home?

It doesn’t matter if you are a renter or a homeowner. Nor does it matter if this is your first home or your twenty-first home (yes, some of us have moved A LOT).

There are things you should do when you first move into a new home to ensure it is as safe, efficient, and comfortable as possible for the entire family.

Now, there are, of course, many things you should do when moving home, such as packing a box of essentials for your first night in your new pad.


Those are not the kind of things I am talking about here, that is for another post. Instead, we’ll assume you have taken possession of your new home, taken a walk through to ensure everything is as it should be, and have survived your first night under a new roof.

Now is the time to start working on this list. Not every item will apply to everyone, of course, so feel free to pick and choose those which are appropriate for you.

Change The Locks

It doesn’t matter how friendly, and kind, and honest the previous dwellers in your abode are, it is always important to change the locks on a new home. There is no telling whether or not, in the past, someone has given a friend, neighbor or family member a spare key, or if door keys had been lost or stolen.

For your own safety and peace of mind, replace the locks on all doors and any other locked entrances with keys such as side gates to the yard. When you are changing the locks is also an excellent time to install edge guards on your door which minimize the possibility of a burglar being able to force their way in.

Don’t Forget Your Windows

The basic latches that are to be found on the majority of windows are no challenge for the average burglar. A quick pry with a crowbar and they’ll pop open to provide any opportune thief an easy entrance to your home.

Simple window pin locks are an easy to install option which provides additional security without having to lay out too much cash. Don’t restrict yourself to the windows, though. Ensure you also attend to any French doors or patio doors, even though that lead out onto an upper floor balcony.

Introduce Yourself To Your Home

In an ideal world, when you moved into a new home, it would come complete with an instruction manual. This little booklet would tell you things such as:

Instead, you will more than likely have to find out for yourself. Don’t look at this as something you will get around to when you’re more settled. This should be one of the first things you do. When fuses blow, pipes burst, or you notice the smell of gas, you’ll be glad to know exactly where you should be going first.

Set Up Your Wi-Fi And Carry Out A Security Check

This may seem like an odd addition for some people. However, when you first move in is the perfect time for setting up your wi-fi and taking the time to ensure it is secure.

You can identify the areas of the home from which your router provides the best coverage and set new passwords. This will ensure that your network and the devices to which it is attached, are secure from the get-go in your new home.

This also allows you to have a clean slate on which to build some smart home capability if that is your plan.

Choose A “No Lose” Spot

Even the most organized mover can find themselves awash in a sea of half empty packing boxes. Before you know it, you have items on every surface, waiting to be moved into their final home, and it is easy to lose essential items.

Have the family decide on one spot in which to place items such as keys, phone chargers, wallets, etc. If you are likely to fly into a panic if you can’t put your hands on it quickly, keep it in your chosen “no lose” spot.

Just make sure the spot you choose is secure, such as a spot away from doors and windows that may be left open.

Clean Your Nooks And Crannies

Now is the time to wash out the darkest recesses of the cabinets in your kitchen and bathroom. Doing so will not only ensure you have a clean place to start with, but it will also give you the chance to note any minor repairs or maintenance issues that will need attention in the future.

Release The Foam

While you are down on your hands and knees wiping down cupboards and noting wobbly shelves, you might also notice areas that could benefit from sealing. There are those spots such as holes where the pipes go into the wall. Not only can you lose a lot of heat and suffer a surprising amount of drafts from these spots, but they are also a prime creepy crawly highway.

By using a small amount of expanding foam, you will seal out the insects, ensure less heat loss and drafts and possibly even reduce the amount of noise from loud plumbing.

One word of caution, though. Don’t go crazy with the foam and make sure you do not cover up any nut, bolts, screws, or other fittings.

Check You’re Not Leaky

This is also the perfect time to take a look under any sinks, bathtubs, and showers to ensure there are no leaks.

Even if you had a clean bill of health from the home inspector you might still discover a small, developing issue, and now is the time to deal with it, before you fill your cupboards, decorate, etc.

You should also check any taps, inside and out, and deal with any minor issues you find. A quick tightening of a screw or the replacement of a washer now can prevent a bigger job at a later date.

Swap Out Your Seat

Some people are happy to give the toilet seat in their new home a quick wipe down and move on. Personally, I prefer to replace the seat. This is not just for sanitary reasons, though. You can replace the existing seat with one which is designed to be removable for cleaning. This will save you a lot of time and effort in the long run.

Not only that, you will know your bottom isn’t sitting where the last resident also placed their bottom!

Make Your Floors Fabulous

When you first move in is the perfect time to clean and polish hardwood floors and deep, steam clean the carpets. No matter how clean they look, you will find a jaw-dropping amount of dust and dirt, even in the most pristine homes.

If the home you are moving into is less than lovely, to begin with, and you cannot afford to replace the flooring, then steam cleaning the carpets is the next best thing to ensure the previous residents haven’t left anything too nasty behind.

This is one of those tips which is much easier if you have time between taking possession of your new home and having to actually move all of your belongings in. If you have this luxury, great. If you do not, perhaps pick a couple of the floors which need the most attention and keep these rooms empty until you can deal with them.

Check Out Those Closets

An often overlooked spot for new residents are the closets. First of all, you should give them a thorough clean and fill any holes with expanding foam, just like you did with the kitchen and bathroom cabinets.

After that, stand back and take a good look at the shape and space of your closets and decide how to make the best use of the area. This may mean installing shelves, extra hanging poles for clothes, or any number of minor modifications. This is much easier to do while everything is empty.

Up To The Attic, You Go

If it is safe to do so, take a quick visit to the attic space and take a look around. Your home inspection should have picked up on any possible problems. If you are a diligent homebuyer, you’ll have followed up any alerts with a more detailed look by a specialist professional.

Therefore I am not suggesting you go up for an inspection of the roof – although a look around for any spots where daylight is coming through cannot hurt.

What you are really going up, therefore, is to check out the insulation. This may or may not have been inspected and now, when you first move in, is the time to beef up your existing insulation. It is a relatively quick and easy job which will keep your home at a more comfortable temperature and help to keep your energy bills down.

Clean The Dryer

Don’t just give the lint filter a quick whizz with the vacuum. Instead, pull the dryer away from the wall and detach the hose. Now you can and thoroughly clean everything from the point where the hose connects to the dryer, all the way to the outside vent.

Check the hose itself for any holes, tears, or splits, and replace it if necessary.

Now you can use your dryer and be confident you have done everything possible to prevent a dryer fire.

Change The Air Filters

Even if they look clean enough, change your air filters as soon as you move in and place a sticker on the side to remind you of the date. This, along with the other tips here, will ensure you have the best possible air quality and the most efficient systems possible.

And So To The Smoke Alarms

Another “change it even if it doesn’t seem to need changing” item is the battery in the smoke alarm.

Many of us move into a new home and don’t give this a second thought but not only might there be a dead battery inside – which will not give off any warning beep – but there may not be a battery in there at all.

For your own safety, at a minimum replace the batteries in smoke alarms and CO2 alarms.

By far the best combination smoke alarm, co2 alarm with wireless capability is the First Alert 2-in-1 Z-Wave Wireless. Not only will it alert you if smoke or co2 is detected, but it will also send you a message on your phone telling you what is going on.

Equip Each Floor Of The Home

Place a fire extinguisher and/or a fire blanket on each floor of your new home. Oh, and don’t forget to do the same for any garages, outbuildings, etc.

Plan For The Worst

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) recommend you create a family fire escape plan and practice it at least once a year. When you move into your new home, it is the perfect time to work out what you are going to do in an emergency.

Establish two exits from each room, usually the door and the window, and ensure every family member knows how to get out of the home in the case of a fire, and where your family meeting spot will be.

You should also teach the kids to “go low” when getting out of a building on fire. Finally, ensure you have a large and bright home number so emergency services can find you with the minimum of issues.

Childproof Your Home

The first few days in a new home can be a dangerous journey of discovery when it comes to the safety of your little ones. This is the time when new dangers lurk, and potentially hazardous items can be accidentally left within reach of little fingers.

As soon as you have cleaned out your kitchen cupboards, find a home for your cleaning supplies, and place a childproof lock on the cupboard door.

Take a walk around the home and count how many sockets covers you are going to need, the window locks you will need to install and any other safety items such as stair gates, oven protectors, etc.

Try, & Plug In The Appliances

The previous residents may have unplugged the fridge and freezer so plug them in asap and give them time to cool down before you actually need them.

This is also an excellent time to turn on any other items an appliances, such as the cooker, extractor hood, garbage disposal, bathroom fan, etc. This will give you the heads up if something isn’t quite right and allow you plenty of time to remedy the problem, instead of discovering it at an awkward moment.

Gather The Instructions

While we are talking appliances, this is the time to collect up any instructions, manuals, and directions and store them all in one spot. If any are missing, you can contact the manufacturer. Alternatively, you’ll find that many manufacturers have a section of their website where you can search for and download manuals for your particular model of stove, microwave, freezer, etc.

Pin Down The Garbage Schedule

Find out how often each type of garbage is collected, which day the trash and recycling are picked up, where you are supposed to leave your containers, and what kind of bins and bags you need.

You might be lucky and inherit everything you need from the previous residents, but it is possible you will need to equip your garbage and recycling process yourself.

Decorate – Or Not – It Depends

There are two schools of thought when it comes to decorating your new home.

First of all, there are those that recommend you decorate as soon as possible, especially if you are lucky enough to be able to do so before you move in. By doing so, you’ll save yourself all of the trouble of moving and covering furniture and can simply throw down a dust cloth to protect your floors and paint away.

Secondly, there are those that say you should wait until you have moved in, arranged all of your furniture and accessories, and got to know how the light plays around the room. This way, you’ll know where specific colors and tomes will or will not work well.

Both options have pros and cons; really, it’s up to you!

Final Thoughts

By taking the time and trouble to go through some of these tasks, you will be making your new home as clean, safe, secure, and livable as you possibly can.



Geoff Southworth is the creator of RealEstateInfoGuide.com, the site that helps new homeowners, investors, and homeowners-to-be successfully navigate the complex world of property ownership. Geoff is a real estate investor of 8 years has had experience as a manager of a debt-free, private real estate equity fund, as well as a Registered Nurse in Emergency Trauma and Cardiac Cath Lab Care. As a result, he has developed a unique “people first, business second” approach to real estate.

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