Deborah McLaughlin's Blog
It goes without saying that buying a home is time-consuming.
First, there’s the financial planning to determine when you’re ready to buy a home. Then you need to get pre-approved for a mortgage and start looking for homes. After viewing several homes you finally find the perfect home. Then comes the difficult process of making an offer and negotiating the cost of the home. If all goes well, your offer is accepted and you get to enter the lengthy mortgage closing process. However, your work is not yet done. You’ll have to move out of your current residence and into your new home. All of this while juggling your work and social life.
After all of this, it might seem like the only thing left to do is relax in your new home. While it may be true that you certainly deserve a break, there are some things you should do sooner rather than later when you move into your new home.
In this article, we’ll cover ten things you should do right away once you move into your new home.
1. Home security
Your chief consideration when moving into your new home should be making sure it’s safe. The best first step to take is to change all of the locks on your house. In spite of how trustworthy the previous homeowner may have seemed, you can never be 100% sure who had spare keys to their home. Changing locks is quick and inexpensive, especially considering what’s at stake.
Another important step in home security is to put new batteries in and test all smoke detectors, make sure fire extinguishers are up-to-date, and ensure air filters are cleaned.
2. Set up your utilities
One of the first things you have to do when moving into a new home is to call your utility companies and transfer services into your name. Make a list of the services you’ll need to set up (electricity, water, garbage removal, internet, home security, heating, etc.). This is also a good time to set up online accounts and autopay for these services. It will save you time each month and make it easier to keep track of your bills if you simplify this process from the get-go.
You should have already had the home inspected by a professional prior to closing on the house. However, things can change in the time that someone moves all of their belongings out of a home and you move all of yours in. Wiring can be damaged, pipes banged, windows cracked, and so on. Do a thorough inspection of your home to check for leaks, broken wires, and fire hazards to be sure that your home is in good condition.
4. Deep clean
It might be tempting to just move your belongings into their new places once you arrive at your new home. However, the best time to clean a room is when it’s empty. Before you set up your furniture or fill your cabinets, give them a thorough cleaning.
5. Familiarize yourself with circuit breaker and water valves
When disaster strikes, you’ll want to be ready for it. Get to know your circuit box before the first power outage. Store flashlights in easily accessible places and make sure they have fresh batteries. Similarly, familiarize yourself with the main water shutoff valve in case you have a pipe burst. If the former homeowner lived alone and you have a large family, there’s a chance that the sudden surge in power and water usage could reveal issues with plumbing and wiring that the former owner wasn’t aware of.
20 Strawberry Ln, Dartmouth, MA 02747
20 Strawberry Ln, Dartmouth, MA 02747
Everyone does it. Everyone develops one or more of these bad household habits that ultimately end up costing time and money. Here’s a list of the top nine, why they’re bad, and what to do instead:
- Setting the wash temperature to "hot"—most clothes do not need washing in hot water. Hot temperatures may result in shrinkage, discoloration, or cause clothes to become misshapen. Cool and warm temperatures clean most items, and modern high-efficiency soaps dissolve just as well in cold water as in hot. So save money on your utility bill and on having to buy new clothes by using the setting listed on the clothing tag.
- Forgetting to clean the dryer lint filter between loads—lint builds up in the dryer filter in EVERY load. The dryer uses the vent to expel extra hot air and moisture. When the lint screen is clogged, the air and moisture can't escape. Not only does this cost extra energy because your clothes don't dry, but it can also cause a house fire. Clean the lint screen between each load.
- Neglecting the HVAC filter—similarly, your HVAC filter needs changing regularly. Depending on the dust, dander, and animal hair in your home, some systems may need new filters as often as monthly, while others can handle a quarterly change. If your family suffers from allergies, however, frequent changes to the filter during winter and summer, when the system runs hardest, improves air quality.
- Pulling plugs out by the cord—whether it's the iron, vacuum cleaner, curling wand, shaver, or blender, pulling plugs out of the outlet by the cord may damage both the wire and the outlet. Grasp the plug by the end and gently extract it from the outlet. If it sticks, do not yank the cord. Instead, carefully wiggle the plug in the socket until it releases.
- Over-stuffing the refrigerator—it's easy to do when you're planning a party, or if you shop just once a week or less, but filling your refrigerator too full can result in frozen food, or over-working your compressor. When food is pushed too far to the back or sides, it can freeze. Refrigeration relies on air movement inside the case to move cold air around, so when something blocks it, that one item gets all the cold. Brrrrrrrr!
- Wearing shoes inside the house—even new shoes, when worn outside for a day, track in dirt, dust, bacteria, and fungi. Leave shoes at the door or in the mud room and slide on some cozy slippers (but don’t wear those slippers outside, even to get the newspaper, or you negate their value).
- Overloading closet rods—whether wooden dowels or wire rack rods, the place you hang your clothes can easily become over-burdened. If you’re stuffing hangers in to place, or the rod is swaying, you're in danger of it breaking. You can easily replace a broken dowel, but a metal rod is useless once bent, and overloading a wire rack can pull the anchors out of the wall, leaving you with damaged drywall and costly repairs.
- Storing items in the oven—baking pans or cast iron, okay … you won't really damage those by turning on the oven to bake, although high heat from the broiler can cause problems, but those stacks of pans are heavy and can bend the oven racks (resulting in lopsided cakes and other oven mishaps). And NEVER store plastic in the oven. Melted plastic can damage the inside of the oven and release toxic fumes into your home. Store extra pans or plastic ware in a closet or even on top of the refrigerator.
- Hanging jackets on the doorknob—tiny set screw holds most of the pieces of the doorknob in place. A heavy coat, purse, or another object can bend the metal, even slightly, resulting in the set screw misaligning and your knob becoming loose.
Good home habits result in savings of time and money since your home and appliances last longer and use less energy. If you need help finding other ways to save on utility bills, contact your local utility provider for a free energy assessment.