You’ve done the grueling work of scouring the homes on the market in the area you want to live in and comparing prices, amenities, and features. You’ve reviewed your lists of the things you want and need in a home for your family twenty times over and you think that you’ve finally found the home of your dreams. It ticks off all of the important boxes on your list and satisfies the compromises when you’ve needed to make them. Now, you have a house in your sights that you want to make your home.
Of course, there are a few steps you need to tackle before your dream home can be yours. Let’s take a look at what happens after you’ve finished looking at homes for sale and what to do when you first move into a house.
Conduct an Inspection
Now that you’ve decided on the home you want to purchase for yourself and your family, you need to arrange an inspection of the property. This is an essential step that ensures the home you’re moving into is safe and fit for your family to live in. Although about 28% of homeowners in the United States expect that they will move again in the next five years, you may envision your family in the home for much longer and you’ll need a strong, sturdy home in order to accommodate that vision.
An inspection is part of the standard homebuying procedure so your real estate agent may already be arranging it. Even so, you should stay on top of the inspection to ensure that it is done before your purchase is finalized. During the inspection, the professional home inspector will check that your home is safe and up to local codes. With their specialized techniques and trained eyes, they are able to spot hidden problems such as leaky plumbing, mold infestations, or a natural gas problem that not even ExxonMobil could tackle. Even though they have the training, you should accompany them on the inspection to ensure that they thoroughly go through each part of the home.
By having an inspection now, you’ll know what you’re getting into and if the home needs any repairs. For instance, an inspector could find leaks in the kitchen’s plumbing, which you might not have encountered until you started undergoing a kitchen remodel. These leaks would then have added unexpected repair costs to your renovation and slowed down the project’s timeline. If the inspector does find serious problems, you can usually negotiate the price of the home lower or include the repairs as a part of the buying contract, saving you a lot of trouble in the future.
Seal the Deal
Once the inspection is complete, it’s time to actually purchase the home. If all goes smoothly, this process usually takes about six weeks. The first step you have to take is to make an offer on the property. Tell the seller what you are willing to pay for the house and don’t hesitate to tell them if you have any conditions before making the deal.
You’ll then wait for an answer while the seller decides whether to accept or reject your offer. Your realtor will do the brunt of the work during this part of the process, especially if they need to negotiate with the seller before they accept your offer. When they accept it, your realtor or lawyer will help you to work out a contract for the purchase, which will cover all aspects of the sale and transfer of ownership.
Once you’ve worked out the details of the contract, it’s time to finalize your financing. Typically, this means completing your loan application by getting all the necessary documentation to your provider. When the loan is approved, you can pay the deposit on your dream home and complete the sale. Now, it’s time to think about what to do when you first move into a house.
Clean It Out
One of the first things you have to consider when you think about what to do when you first move into a house is what kind of state that house is going to be in. While some sellers will do a good job of clearing out their belongings and cleaning the house when they leave, others won’t. If the former homeowners are planning to leave things they don’t want behind, which could even be a condition in the contract if you’re trying to get a lower price, you will likely have to look into renting a dumpster. Try to donate what you can out of their unwanted items, but if some items are not fit for donation you can keep a rental dumpster in your driveway for a week or two and chuck the unwanted goods in there as you clean out the house.
The dumpster will also come in handy if you are doing renovations on the home. As you knock down walls or remove outdated fixtures to really create your dream home, you can throw the refuse right into the dumpster. You may even want to keep the dumpster around as you bring new items into your home. if you’ve paid for expedited freight services to get new furniture, appliances, fixtures, or any other kind of items for your home, you’ll likely need to toss any extraneous shipping materials that come with them. These materials could include packaging, padding, or even the heat treated pallets Georgia shipping companies often use to transport goods.
Change the Locks
Another important task on your list of what to do when you first move into a house is to change the locks. You should do this as early as possible once the property is officially yours, but at the very latest the locks should be changed by the time you start staying there with your family or keeping your belongings there. The former owners will likely still have a key to the house and you don’t want a virtual stranger to have that kind of access to your home.
To start the lock changing process, contact the locksmiths or security companies in your area. By working with a smaller lock company local to your town, you can work with professionals who are familiar with the area’s unique security needs and most prevalent security threats. At a smaller company, you can also avoid having to speak with a representative at a call center who is not involved in the lock-changing process and instead speak directly with the experts who will be doing the work.
Remember to Update Your Address
Many people tend to procrastinate this step because it seems complicated, but it is actually one of the simpler tasks on a list of what to do when you first move into a house. The USPS offers mail forwarding services for people who have moved and the process to participate in the service is rather simple. You just go to their website and click on the “Change of Address” section of the site. You will then go through six easy steps that take less than 15 minutes. The site will then ask for a payment of $1 to complete the process and then your mail will be forwarded to your new home.
Of course, this isn’t a permanent solution. The USPS will only forward First-Class Mail, Express Mail, and packages for 12 months and magazines and periodicals for 60 days. You will still need to contact your credit card providers, subscription accounts, and any delivery services you rely on, such as meal delivery or cannabis delivery, to officially change your address in their records. However, by setting up mail forwarding with the USPS you can ensure you don’t miss any important documents or deliveries while you focus on getting the rest of your new home ready for move-in.
Order Appliances You Need
As you’re preparing to move into your dream home, you have to ensure that it has all of the important items you need to live your normal life. One of the first areas to consider with this task is any important appliances your home is missing. Depending on the specifics of your contract, the former homeowners may have left behind certain appliances or they might have decided to take them all with them. If the latter is the case and you opted to not bring certain appliances from your residence, you will have to purchase them in advance of moving into the house.
While purchasing appliances sounds easy enough, it takes some meticulous planning. First, you have to consider whether you can purchase the appliance outright or if you need to apply for appliance financing. If you’re applying for financing, it can take some time to get approval. After financing is settled, there may be a waiting period to get the appliance delivered to and installed in your home. These delays make it essential that you either start the purchase process early enough that the appliances will be in your home before you move in or that you plan accordingly to live without the appliance you are waiting on.
Locate Breaker Boxes and Shutoff Valves
As a homeowner, you will be responsible for anything that goes wrong in your home. Whether that involves the electricity going out during a serious storm or its a burst pipe suddenly flooding your bathroom with water, you have to know how to solve the problem. For problems like these, the solution is usually to go to the breaker box or shutoff valves. However, finding these in your home when the lighting is shut off or you are in a frantic rush to fix the problem often doesn’t go too well.
This makes it important that you find the breaker box and shutoff valves well before you need them. In regards to what to do when you first move into a house, this is an essential step. By doing it now, you will have the help of your home’s electricity as well as that of a clear and logical mind. Remember to write down the locations of the breaker box, main water shutoff, and gas shutoff valves, especially if they’re in a strange spot. By taking the time to locate them and noting where they are, you’ll be prepared to handle a utility-related emergency in your home.
Make the Home Your Own
This is probably the most enjoyable task in terms of what to do when you first move into a house. This is when you can let your creative side fly free and add your personal stamp on your home. Even better, there is an endless amount of ways to do this. If you already have a personal collection of decorations and furnishings that speak to your unique style, you can plan out the best way to display them around the house. If you’re looking to build your collection, you can hire an art consultant to identify the most on-trend items and advise you on how they can all fit together into a personal style.
Hiring an interior designer is another effective way to receive professional help in styling your home. A designer will talk with you extensively about your personal styling preferences as well as the practical needs you have for your home. They will then take these preferences and needs and use their design expertise to craft beautiful and functional interiors for your home. This is a great way to truly create a dream home, especially if you don’t have the best instincts for design.
If you do have these instincts, however, don’t be afraid to follow them! You can completely transform the inside of your home as well as the outside with some carefully thought-out plans and a good eye. If you have artistically-inclined children, remember to include them in the decorating process as well. They’ll love the opportunity to make their bedrooms their own and even have opinions on how communal spaces like the kitchen and living room look. By working together and considering everyone’s ideas, your dream home will truly belong to your family.
It’s easy to get overwhelmed when you’re thinking about what to do when you first move into a house. Take a deep breath and tackle each item one-by-one. You’ll knock out each task eventually and soon enough your family will be settled in your perfect dream home.