As much as you might like to think otherwise, a move isn’t finished once you’ve unloaded the trucks, piled up the boxes, and shut the doors. After all the work it took to get into the new place, you might be tempted to simply set up the bed, find the linens, and crawl under the sheets for a day or two.
However, if you want your move to be as efficient and successful and possible, you need to make sure you’ve ready for the next part, which doesn’t just mean finding places to put all your belongings. Here are some tips to remember when you’re settling in to your place:
Preventative Cleaning and Maintenance
If you’re renting, the landlord is responsible for making sure everything is cleaned before you move in. In many cases, if you’re buying a home, the previous owners should have done the cleaning. In both cases, though, it’s possible that the cleaners or tenants were not able to get to everything. It’s a good idea to go through your new place and check for spiderwebs, dust, or stains and marks on carpet, tile, walls, or the windows. A landlord will probably provide a check-in list to help you keep track of everything, but you can find many good extensive lists online.
While you’re checking to see what needs to be cleaned, also look for maintenance tasks that you’ll want to deal with right away. Are there small holes or cracks here or there? Do all the lights work, and all the light sockets get power? Do the doors shut properly? In some cases, it might be easier to just do small repairs yourself, but anything that seems big should be tackled by the landlord or a professional now, before you’ve put everything you on or around the problem areas.
Check Out the Appliances
While you’re moving in, make sure you turn on all the appliances to see how they work. Is there a strange smell when the oven heats up? Are you sure the dryer works? Especially when renting, some appliances have gone through a fair amount of use over the past few years, so it’s worth knowing if there are any problems.
If you moved your own appliances into a house, you’ll also want to check them out with a critical eye. It’s possible that they could have been damaged or picked up unwanted passengers along the way.
Check Out the Plumbing
It’s important to know not only how hot or cold the taps can get, but to see if there are any issues with the plumbing. Many people learn to adapt to small leaks or how to keep a faucet from spraying all over the place if turned up too high. You will want to become familiar with all these quirks yourself, and if anything seems too much of an issue, you will want it repaired right away. Also, know where your water heater is and what its condition is like. Figure out how you can turn on and off the water supply to toilets, and also whether there are any drips under the sinks.
Find out where your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are, and whether they have fresh batteries or good power supplies. Most manufacturers recommend changing the batteries every six months even if you don’t think the detectors need them. Also, find out how bright the exterior lights are and how to turn them on. Many people recommend changing the locks once you move into a new place, but some leases do not allow you to do this. You might ask the landlord to change the locks for you, in that case. Also, find out if there how well the locks work and whether there are any ways in that you didn’t see at first. If the new place comes with a security system, make sure you know how it works.
Get to Know the Area
Finally, explore the neighborhood. Where is the closest gas station or grocery store? Are there good paths for jogging or biking, and how are the neighbors. You probably took a look at the area before deciding to move in, but now it’s time to learn the nooks and crannies. What’s the traffic like, especially during rush hour? How many different ways are there in or out of the neighborhood?
Once you’ve gone through the checklist, then you can get to work on the hard part: unpacking all those boxes.