New Homeowner? Begin Your DIY Journey Here

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Being a new homeowner is daunting. There are many things to consider and do before that home can be move-in ready and safely host you and your loved ones. This article will explain some of the first steps that should be taken to ensure a safe and cost-effective homecoming before the moving trucks arrive.

1. Change the Locks

A pair of hands working on a door lock.

It may seem funny to change the locks while standing in an empty house, but experts agree it's the very first thing that should be done once gaining ownership of a house. Generally no one knows how long a set of keys and locks have been in use. Once a home has legally changed hands, it's usually public knowledge whether in a newspaper or online or just through word of mouth in town. Even if no malicious intent is had, anyone with the right key can enter your new home, some even unaware of the new ownership. Therefore, it's imperative for new homeowners to change the locks, keys, and deadbolts as soon as possible.

2. Check the Plumbing

Before any contracts are signed, a home inspector usually goes through a house and surveys all pipes and plumbing for safety and functionality. however, the truth is they can't see everything. The second thing one should do when moving into a new home is to conduct your own secondary inspection of a house’s plumbing system. Now, I know you may be thinking that you don't have enough knowledge about plumbing to know what you should be looking for, but your inspection doesn’t have to be anything too technical. Just conduct a quick overview with a flashlight, paying special attention under sinks. Your extra effort will be worth it should you find unforeseen leaks in time to stop them before damage occurs.

3. Wash and Clean Everything

A young woman wiping down white cabinets.

When my sister moved into her newly purchased home, it terribly smelled like cigarette smoke. After doing much research we learned we had two options: either repaint the whole house, or wash every inch of it. As the walls and ceilings had recently been painted, we chose to give the interior a scrub down with a special vinegar and hot water solution. However, even if your new home smells like roses, I would always recommend washing it thoroughly before moving in, including the walls, ceilings, floors, and inside the drawers and cupboards.

4. Creature Comforts

The day you move into your new house will be stressful. Have the essentials of comfort at your fingers, so the day will go a lot smoother on your nerves. In this regard, some recommend creating an actual “comfort box” with pajamas, blankets and pillows, snacks, device chargers, and toiletries for your first night in your new home. Maybe I am showing my age, but I need wi-fi in a place to truly feel at home. Thankfully, this can be done even in the days prior to your move.

5. Install Safety Measures

A man installing a smoke alarm in a ceiling.

Can you believe some homes still don’t have proper electronic safety devices? Before moving into a new house, take a walk through each room and check for things like smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors. With a newly purchased home you likely won't know how old they are, how well they work, or if they're properly installed. Yet through careful inspection of these safety devices your moving-in day will be as safe as it is joyful.