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New-home checklist: 7 things to tackle as soon as you move in

It’s no secret that moving can be a very stressful time. While you’d rather dive into unpacking and decorating your new space right away, there are a few things you really should tackle first. As soon as you arrive, take care of these seven important items on the new-home checklist before you break open the bubbly.

1. Initial walk-through
When you first arrive, be sure to do a thorough walk-through of your new home. You’ll want to double-check that everything agreed upon in the sale has been completed, whether it’s repairs, appliances and furniture that should’ve been left behind, or any other maintenance. You should also double-check that everything is in working condition, like light switches, outlets and light fixtures. If you run into any major problems, be sure to call your real estate agent as soon as possible to get it sorted out. 

2. Set up utilities 
If you haven’t already set up your utilities, that should be your first priority when you arrive. Contact your electric, gas, water and internet companies to get your new home hooked up with all the essentials. Also call your local waste management service to make sure you’re scheduled for garbage pick-up. 

3. Find the essential equipment
When you’re getting settled, find all the important devices in your home. Do a sweep to locate your fuse box, water shut-off valves, and smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, so that you’ll know exactly where they are in case of an emergency. You should also check that they’re all in working order — test the batteries on the detectors and make sure all your circuit breakers are clearly labeled.

4. Change your locks
Safety and security are a top priority in your new home. As a precaution, be sure to change out all the existing locks with new ones. That way, old keys to your home will be useless, so you can rest assured no one but you and your family have access. Be sure to change not only the front door, but any access point — including windows — that you can unlock using keys. A locksmith can make quick work of the project, or you can even tackle it yourself if you’re handy.

5. Deep clean
Before you start unpacking, you’ll want to scrub your home from top to bottom. While all the cabinets are empty, the rugs are still rolled up and there’s nothing in the closets, it’s the ideal time to deep-clean your home. It’s usually best to start with your refrigerator and other kitchen appliances so you can unload any perishables right away. From there, you can move on to the bathrooms, bedrooms and any other open areas. Just be sure to leave the floors for last, so you can sweep up any debris that gets knocked loose during the rest of the cleaning process. If you don’t feel up to it, you can also hire a professional cleaning service to take one thing off your to-do list.

6. Child- and pet-proof your home
If you have children or pets, keeping them safe is your top priority. It’s much easier to child- and pet-proof your home before you dive into unpacking. Create a designated zone for all your empty packing materials, ensure all the windows are locked and check for loose cords on blinds, easily accessible outlets, exposed power cords and any other potentially hazardous zones. When unpacking, be sure to keep sharp objects, like box cutters or scissors, out of reach from small hands (and paws).

7. Create a repair checklist
As you were completing the previous steps in this checklist, it’s possible you noticed some projects you want to tackle around your home, like broken light switches, loose floorboards or chipped paint. Start a repair checklist and prioritize all your updates in the order that you want to tackle them. This gives you an itemized list you can reference whenever you have some free time. You can even hire a handyman or other professional to come in and tackle all the projects at once, depending on how quickly you want to get them done. 

After you’ve completed these seven steps, it’ll be time to start unpacking — and, thanks to this trusty checklist, you’ll be able to feel confident that you’re starting with a strong foundation. Now comes the fun part! 

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