Congratulations, you’re the proud owner of a new Austin home! We understand how easy it is to get caught up in the stress of moving, so we’ve put together a list of the top ten steps most homeowners overlook as they settle into their new home. Whether you're in the process of closing, ready to move in or at any other step of the home buying process, we invite you to use this checklist as a guide to ensure your new home is ready for you and your family.
1. Set Up Utilities Before Move-In
It’s important to have the basics (water, gas and electricity) already up and running before your move-in date. There are often several companies to choose from, so take the time to choose the best option for your family. If you’re only moving across town, it may be possible to simply transfer your current service to your new home.
2. Change Your Locks
Although the previous owners have turned over the keys to you, you can never be sure who else has a copy of the keys. Change the locks in your new home as soon as possible for the safety of your family.
3. Locate the Main Circuit Breaker and Water Shutoff Valve
Knowing the location of these two master controls can make all the difference in an emergency situation. Locate and label each control for easy access. Don’t forget to keep them in good working condition with regular checks and maintenance.
4. Test Heating and Cooling Systems
There’s nothing worse than a hot Texas summer with no air conditioning and no heat during an unexpected cold snap. These units should be inspected during your original home inspection, but it never hurts to test them yourself. Take the time to examine your vents and change your air filters if necessary. Check out our helpful page on Home Inspections to get a better idea of what is covered in a regular inspection.
5. Test All Appliances
This includes your stove, microwave, oven, washer and dryer, especially if they’re new to your new home. Keep all the owner's manuals and warranty information on hand in case an appliance breaks down, needs a replacement part or a simple repair. These will also be tested during your home inspection, but a second test never hurts.
6. Test Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors
Make sure all the smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in your home are working properly. Replace units or change batteries as needed. If you’re home doesn’t have a carbon monoxide detector, you can often find one at your local home improvement store.
7. Check for General Maintenance
Examine every inch of your home for water leaks, cracks and holes in the walls and other general repairs. Don’t forget to check the insulation in your attic and open spaces in your doors and windows where air can escape. Again, most of these checks are covered in your home inspection. By taking care of potential problems early, you can save yourself a big headache down the road.
8. Create a First-Aid Kit and Emergency Contact List
Make sure everyone in your home, especially children, knows the location of your first-aid kit in case of emergencies. Clearly post a list of emergency contacts in your home with numbers for family members as well as local emergency services.
9. Garbage Collection
Call your local city office or talk to your neighbors to find out what day your garbage is collected. Also ask about recycling services and which receptacles are required in your area.
10. Change Your Address
Set up forwarding services at the post office from your old address to your new one. Change your address with your bank, employer, driver’s license, voter registration, car registration, insurance companies, credit cards and other important services. Don’t forget about online services like Netflix and Amazon. You can also send out change of address cards to your family and friends.