After all of the paperwork, phone calls and endless packing, you finally have the keys to your new home. As a first-time homebuyer, the most exciting part is unlocking the door and taking the first steps inside, realizing that it’s all yours.
But as the dust settles and unpacking begins, there are a few essentials to keep in mind as you make your house a home.
1. Get to Know the Space
Along with your new home, you likely have appliances, fixtures and other service items that were included in the sale. Before running a load of laundry for the first time, take some time to learn about what you will be working with day-to-day. This is not just so you’re aware of their functions, but so you have the certainty that you’re utilizing all items in the safest manner.
Although you have had your home thoroughly inspected by a licensed home inspector, consider having all your utilities checked by a service professional. This can help avoid any further surprises as you begin settling into your new home. Additionally, it’s a smart idea to go through your breaker box and relabel appropriately. Previous owners may have labeled rooms to be family specific, so it will take the guesswork out of where “Johnny’s room” might be when the circuit needs to be restored.
Once you’ve become familiar with your space, it’s a great time to make a home maintenance checklist starting with things to inspect weekly, monthly and yearly to avoid any unwelcomed surprises
2. Give Your Home A Thorough Cleaning
Before moving all your belongings in, it’s best to give your new house a floor-to-ceiling cleaning. If you’re moving into an older home, there may be areas that haven’t been cleaned for a long time. Give yourself and your home a fresh start by creating a checklist of all the rooms and items you’d like to give a good scrub. A new homeowner might be surprised at the extensity of what needs to be detailed, but it’s crucial to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Here are a few things to consider when starting your cleaning to-do list.
- Disinfect all knobs, pulls and surfaces in the house. Pay special attention to areas where food or hygiene items may have been such as bathtubs, basins, refrigerators and cabinets.
- A deep clean of any carpet will help remove stains and dirt. By the way, it’s recommended that carpets are sufficiently cleaned every 12-18 months. This is something you can do yourself. However, depending on the method and chemicals used, we recommend hiring a professional.
- If your walls could talk, I bet they would say “clean me!” Even before painting, it’s a good idea to give your walls an adequate scrub. This is something that can be done with a few helping hands and a couple of days if you’re doing the whole house. Don’t forget about baseboards and moldings. If you’re concerned about what chemicals to use while safely cleaning, consult a professional.
- Don’t forget about air quality. Ducts and vents can become dirty and create indoor air pollution. Consider getting your air quality tested and scheduling a cleaning.
3. Make the Most of Your Space
You don’t really know what you have until you start using it. One of the most surprising factors in moving into a new home is how much stuff you actually own. Maybe you’re coming from an apartment or shared living space, so an empty house looks like plenty of opportunity to gain storage. When the boxes start arriving, however, it’s possible you underestimated how many things you really had versus how much storage space is provided. This is usually prominent in the kitchen and bathroom. As pots and pans begin to go into place, you may find some cabinets are awkwardly shaped or there just isn’t enough space for oversized items.
Consider some space-saving techniques for the kitchen and bathroom, or possibly including a few extra cabinets in your space.
4. Secure Your Home
As exciting as it is to have keys in hand, have you considered who else might have access to your house? A new homeowner may overlook this, as oftentimes, a landlord or building owner has had a say in what locks to use. Old locks may pose security issues as well, as rust and poor quality may impact building safety. This is a task you could do yourself, or hire a locksmith to accomplish. Be aware of any association rules on appearance of locks if you intend to buy equipment yourself.
As much as a new lock can provide additional safety for your home, new homeowners should consider a home security or home automation system.
5. Don’t Forget About the Exterior
With a new house hopefully comes a new space to grow, literally. With all the excitement on the actual home itself, some new homeowners may look past the upkeep of a yard. Regardless of size, it’s time to invest in a lawnmower and trimmers, at the least. If you’re looking to do more than just basic upkeep, consulting a landscaper is a useful investment. The average reported costs of professional landscaping range from $545 to $3,979, but it all depends on the project.
It’s also a good opportunity to brush up on your gardening skills and create a yard worth spending time in. Haven’t you always dreamed of a spacious area full of lush flowers, or growing your own food for the table? The possibilities are endless! Always remember to call 811 before starting any project that involves digging.
6. Create A Space Uniquely You
Once all safety, security and health concerns are put to rest, it’s time to create a space made just for you! What do you envision for your home? Will a simple paint job create an environment worth spending time in or do you plan on remodeling? How about decorating that finished basement you’ve always wanted?
But before you hang that first frame or start to paint, invest in a stud finder and a quality measuring tape so you have the assurance that you’re doing everything perfectly and only impacting the area you wish to change. Now is the time to create your dream home.