You’ve Just Moved Into a House – Now What?
By Joel Beal
Have you just moved into a house? Are you getting ready to move into a house? We have a list of things to do, starting before you move.
- Change your utilities. You can and should do this before you move. You tell them when you’re moving in, and you won’t pay until your date of move-in. Contact your electrical provider, your gas provider, and your city for water, sewer, and trash. If you let your electrical or gas service lapse, many times an extra charge applies from your electric and gas provider.
- Change your locks – as soon as you move in. You don’t know who has keys for your house. Make sure every door and every window locks.
- Find your electrical breaker box. Open it up, and make sure you know where every breaker goes. If your breakers are not labeled – get a friend and test each one. It’s easy to do with a lamp or an appliance (like a vacuum cleaner).
- Find your water shutoff valve to your house. It is usually in a plastic box buried in your front yard. Open it up and you’ll see an inline ball valve and a meter. You can buy a special wrench at most hardware stores to operate this ball valve – but it’s usually not necessary. An adjustable wrench usually does the job. This is important – if you have a leak, you don’t want to be searching for the shutoff valve while your house is flooding.
- Look for water leaks. With every faucet turned off, look at your water meter and write down the reading. Look under every sink for signs of moisture, check the faucets, and then check your water meter again. If you meter moved with all water faucets off – you have a leak. If you did not see the leak, you might have a water line leaking under the house. Next, fill up every sink with water. When the sinks are full, release the stopper and let the water out of the sink. Look at the drain pipes under each sink and watch for leaks as the water is draining.
- Clean out all cabinets. Before you move your stuff in, clean out all cabinets and storage spaces.
- Get rid of pests. While cleaning out your cabinets, you might see evidence of rodents and insects. Now is the time to buy your own products to eliminate them, or call in a service.
- Paint your walls. If you want to paint the interior, it is much easier to do before you bring in your furniture.
- Clean carpets and floors. After you’ve checked for leaks and cleaned up, do your carpets and floors. Rent a steam cleaner, if you have the time, and save a lot of money. The best time to do this is before you move in.
- Change your furnace filter, and keep a spare.