You’ve finally signed all the paperwork. No more landlords. No more leases. The house is yours! Now I am sure you plan to do a few things before moving in…some cleaning, some painting, maybe even some minor repairs. Odds are, there are a few things you have not thought about, so here are 7 things you should do before you get settled in.
Change the locks.
Your Realtor has just given you the keys to you new home. But have you really thought about who else may have keys to your home? So, it is usually a good idea to change the locks. That ensures you’re the only person who has access. Install new deadbolts yourself for as little as $10 per lock, or call a locksmith. If you supply the new locks, they typically charge about $20 to $30 per lock for labor(depending on your area).
Clean the carpets
You may think a good vacuuming may be enough, but do you really know what went on in the house before you bought it? If you have any allergies, it’s probably a good idea to do a deep clean of all carpets. Do this before you move your furniture in and your new home life will be off to a fresh start. You can pay a professional carpet cleaning service (about $50-$100 per room, depending on the area), or you can rent a steam cleaner for about $30 per day and do the work yourself. You can probably even save some money by borrowing a steam cleaner from a friend.
Wipe out the cabinets
This is one thing most people never thing to do until the buy a new house or remodel their kitchen. Can you remember the last time you wiped out your own cabinets? No? Thought so. This is a no-brainer before you move in your dishes and bathroom supplies. Make sure to wipe inside and out, preferably with a non-toxic cleaner where dishes will be, and replace contact paper if necessary.
Find the shutoffs and know your breakers
Knowing where the main water and gas shutoff valves are can really save you in case of any leaks. There probably be a few water shut offs throughout the house, but the main is usually located in the basement, garage or in a crawl space. Once you think you’ve located the valve, you can check it by turning the knob until it’s off. Test it by turning on any faucet in the house; no water should come out.
Your main gas shutoff will usually be in the basement, crawl, garage or somewhere outside.
Your electrical panel could be anywhere in the house. It could be in the basement, garage, in a closet or somewhere else. Once you locate it, it’s a good idea to figure out which breakers control what parts of your house and label them accordingly. This will take two people: One to stand in the room where the power is supposed to go off, the other to trip the breaker.
Check the batteries
It’s important that you know where your smoke and CO detectors are located and that you make sure they are working. Smoke alarms may be the easiest, cheapest, and most effective means for protecting your family and your home from a fire, but only if they are functioning. Locate all the detectors in your new home and then test them all. If you don’t think there are enough, take a few minutes to learn where smoke detectors should be located, how to maintain them and when to replace them
Clean the coils
When the coils of a refrigerator become clogged with dust, pet hair and cobwebs, they can’t efficiently release heat. The result is your compressor works harder and longer than it was designed to, using more energy and shortening the life of your fridge. Refrigerator condenser coils are located on the back of the fridge or across the bottom. Clean the coils with a coil-cleaning brush and vacuum. A coil-cleaning brush, which is bendable to fit in tight areas, does a thorough job. Look for one online or at appliance stores.
Lose the lint.
A clogged lint screen or dryer duct drastically reduces the efficiency of your dryer, whether it’s gas or electric. A dirty lint screen can cause the dryer to use up to 30 percent more electricity(according to the Consumer Energy Center). It can also become a safety and hazard as dryer lint is incredibly flammable and lint buildup is a common cause of many house fires. Clean the lint screen after each load and clean the exhaust duct once a year. You can buy special brushes and vacuum attachments that will scrape out the duct and allow to you vacuum up all the lint