Do not plan major remodels or undertake tearing out walls until you have lived in the house for a while. I cannot believe the things so many buyers say they will do and never get around to. Buyers might talk about the horrid paint color in a room and years later, that wall is not painted. Or they might say: first thing I'm gonna do is tear out those kitchen cabinets, but 10 years later, the cabinets are still intact.
Work through the process one step at a time. And remember, your first day of moving in will most likely be the most stressful. After that, things will tend to fall into place.
1. Turn on Utilities.
If you haven't already notified the utility companies to transfer gas, water, electrical, trash and sewer into your name, you need to call. In some localities, county utilities might be transferred by the escrow company, but it's a good idea to inquire about this at closing. The time to find out you have no electricity is not when the sun goes down.
2. Sequester Pets.
Moving your pets into a new home can be a terrifying experience for some pets. The surroundings are unfamiliar. Maybe scary. Bring blankets, food dishes, litter boxes, toys and treats in a separate box for your pets. Then place those items, with your pets, in a separate room. Away from the noise, commotion hustle and bustle. Help them feel safe and reduce the chance they will bolt out the front door.
3. Change the Locks.
You have no idea how many strangers could have keys to your new home. Call a locksmith pronto and get those locks changed. If your door is missing a deadbolt, a locksmith can install that, too. Most mobile locksmiths charge around $100 to make a home visit, plus extra for the keys. This is a good time to change all the locks to work with a single key. Bonus tip: Come up with a plan to prevent getting locked out of the house.
4. Plug in Refrigerator.
Make sure all of the appliances are plugged in and working. Many people while moving out unplug a refrigerator and turn it off. If you haven't gone grocery shopping yet, you would not even know the refrigerator was not working unless you check. Check the ice dispenser is working as well. And who knows, sometimes sellers leave a surprise bottle of bubbly in the 'frig for buyers.
5. Change Mailing Address.
Finding local businesses after you move is about as hard as asking, "Hey, Siri, where is the post office?" With Locations turned on, your cellphone can locate many businesses for you. The U.S.P.S. lets you change your mailing address online. Even so, they will likely mix up mail for a while, and not all of it tends to get forwarded. For that reason, change your mailing address on your last credit card statements or online for all major credit cards.
6. Set Up Security.
For safety conscious people, a home security system is often a necessity for peace of mind. If your home already has the equipment installed, it will take next to no time for the security company to activate it. Some companies install systems that let you set the security alarm when you are inside the home at night, which is extra comfort for single individuals. Choose strong security codes, one for you and one for guests.
7. Establish Internet.
If your security system uses cameras, they might be wired to work on WiFi, which means even without a computer, you could need Internet at your house. Also, the popular digital doorbells use WiFi. So, do home-based apps that turn on and off the lights, open garage doors and water your lawn. While the tech person is there to connect you to WiFi, don't forget to set up the television to stream your favorite shows.
8. Order Food and Drink.
Some people pack snacks to take with on the day of moving. Others want to feed not only themselves but the movers and / or friends helping them to upload. Nowadays your options are not limited to pizza and soft drinks. Further, moving day is not a good day to plan to cook. Get take-out from the Chinese joint down the street or order a case of beer to be delivered through your favorite food delivery app. Keep plenty of bottled water on hand.
9. Establish Sleeping Arrangements.
Don't wait until midnight to figure out that all the movers have left and you can't find the screws to set up your bed. Or you don't have any pillows or bedding. The first piece of furniture to be set up should always be the beds. Everything else can wait. Most people also pack an overnight bag that contains all of the essentials you will need upon retiring and rising, such as toothpaste, brushes, contact lenses and medications.
10. Meet the Neighbors.
Hopefully the neighbors will appear bearing Tupperware meals or plates full of cookies. If you spot them eyeing you unloading boxes, invite them over. They should know enough to just walk over and introduce themselves, but some do not. Or, they worry they are intruding. Make a special effort to remember names. Don't be that guy whom for years ignores a super nice woman next door because you don't want to admit you don't know her name.
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