Since my wife and I are less than three weeks away from moving into our first home, we’ve been researching the things that we need to do as soon as we move. It wouldn’t be The Simple Dollar if I didn’t compile a list of the things we’ve found and posted it here! Here are ten basic things that you need to take care of as soon as you move into your new home (or just before). Some of these seem extremely basic, but they’re all very useful in making sure that your bases are covered when you move in.
Get your address changed At the very minimum, stop by your old post office shortly before you move and ask what needs to be done. You may want to contact your creditors as well as any magazines that you subscribe to directly so that they’re aware of the move and you don’t miss an issue or a bill.
Contact the utility companies If you’re moving into a preowned home, get the contact information from the previous homeowner for all of the utility companies they used for the house – this is often a great place to start with that because all of the hook-ups should be in place. In most places, you will need to have the basic services in your name before you move in. The ones you need to contact include electricity, gas, cable, telephone, internet, garbage, sewer, and water.
Get your emergency kit in the house first thing During the moving process, there are many, many opportunities for minor first aid issues. Make sure you have your first aid kit in a known place. Also, get the emergency numbers for the area and put them in a known place.
Know where the main circuit breaker is Check it out and make sure you fully understand the labeling. If it’s a new home and not labeled, label it yourself before moving in too much so that you know which breaker turns off which area.
Know where the water shut-offs are This includes the main water shut-off as well as shutting off outside water. This is a very useful question to ask the previous homeowner and also to find yourself as soon as you’re there.
Check the smoke detectors Find all the smoke detectors and test them all. If you don’t feel the home is adequately covered with them, install some more as quickly as possible. Similarly, make sure there’s a fire extinguisher on every floor.
Identify emergency exits Make sure everyone knows how to get out in the case of a fire. In many homes, this is straightforward, but it’s good for everyone to know where they should be going to get out.
Check your street number Make sure that your house’s street number is clearly visible from the road, especially if you’re expecting a moving truck and/or delivery truck shortly after the move.
Get your locks changed This isn’t a strict requirement, but it’s a good idea to get the locks changed in the house shortly after moving. If you haven’t had them changed, there could be any number of keys out there floating around that match your lock.
Update your driver’s license, car registration, and voter registration In Iowa, you can do most of this very quickly, but don’t let it slide or you’ll get a nasty surprise in the near future – this should be done within a month of the move.
A bonus tip: send out your new contact information This is a great way to touch base with a lot of people. My wife and I are going to make a brief one page announcement to send out to basically everyone on our holiday card list, which will include some pictures of the house, our new address, and so on.