What to do before moving into your new home

November 14, 2014

The contract is signed and the keys to your new place are in your hands, but rarely are new homes move-in ready. Often tasks such as painting, minor repairs and renovations are needed but are better done before the actual physical move while the space is still empty. So where should you begin?

What to do before moving into your new home

[Image credit: iStock.com/AndreasWeber]

How exciting! Filling your new place with furniture and your belongings is what will make it feel like home. But hold on! Some tasks are better tackled prior to the actual move, before your stuff gets in the way and while all nooks and crannies are easily accessible.  Here's some advice to help you size up what needs doing before moving day to make it go as smooth as possible.

Transfer services and utilities

Unless you like living in a cold and dark house, you'll want to contact local utilities such as power, water, phone, cable and your Internet provider to ensure those services are turned on.

  • Although three to five days is a common turn-around time, some companies may take at least ten days to get you set up. As such, you should contact the providers at least two weeks in advance, because each will have different policies regarding transfer of service.
  • Make sure service starts when you, along with any contractors you may hire to do such things as painting or renovations, intend to prep your new place. This will likely be several days before the move-in date.
  • When you ask for services to be transferred, make sure it's after you have taken possession of your new place. They may need access inside to install or replace such things as cables, plugs and outlets.

Make a list of repairs and renovations

Unless your home is a brand-new build, you'll probably need to do minor repairs and renovations. That includes:

  • Filling small holes left in walls by hanging pictures and curtain rods.
  • Fixing drippy taps and faucets.
  • Repainting certain areas to suit your intended décor or the walls are covered in scuff marks. If the previous owner lived there for a long time and rarely redecorated, you'll probably discover the walls are dingier than you recall when you looked at the house.

Recruit friends and family
Get family and friends to help you give your place the once-over both inside and out.

  • Give everyone a pencil and paper pad or encourage them to bring their smartphones or cameras.
  • Ask each person to wander through the house, snapping pictures and writing down any issues they see.
  • Assign each person a specific area to investigate. Don't forget to include the outside of the house.

You could always make it a fun challenge and offer a prize to whoever discovers the most problems!

Prioritize issues
Sort the issues you anticipate into three categories:

  1. Issues that you can fix immediately by yourself – such as missing light bulbs or loose cabinet door screws. Make these repairs that day, if you can.
  2. Repairs you can do later with the right supplies – like replacing a torn window screen, patching minor dings and dents in walls, and replacing old door handles and latches.
  3. Fixes that require professional repair – such as a misaligned door, electrical outlets that require replacement, or dark dingy rooms that desperately need a coat of paint.

Tend to these final two categories as soon as possible.

Give your new home a scrub

You wouldn't want to pile your nice clean clothes onto a dusty closet shelf or reach into a pantry full of cobwebs. That's why it's essential to give your home a thorough cleaning before putting anything in it.

  • Work on the hard-to-reach spots that may have been neglected over the years, such as behind and under major appliances, the tops of cabinets, ceiling lights and fans, and on the baseboards and crown moulding.
  • If you don't have time for such a thorough cleaning, hire a maid service or negotiate having the seller or landlord have your new home cleaned prior to your arrival.

With time, paint on walls tends to fade or discolour, which gives the impression of being dirty no matter how well you clean it. Other times if the grime is too thick or very old, it'll leave stains that you simply can't remove with elbow grease alone.

  • You can solve either problem with a lick of paint to freshen things up.

Taking the time to prep your place before the move will make it seem new, fresh and welcoming. You'll also be able to focus more on making your space livable rather than worrying about whether something in your home is either dirty or likely to go wrong.

The material on this website is provided for entertainment, informational and educational purposes only and should never act as a substitute to the advice of an applicable professional. Use of this website is subject to our terms of use and privacy policy.
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