You’re halfway there—almost. Your new lease is signed. Your boxes are packed and labeled. You’ve figured out and coordinated how you’re going to get everything you own from point A to point B. You’re nearing the final stretch of getting into your new home. Here are seven tips to help with your big move-in.
Set Up the Essentials
Setting up your utilities is one of the first chores you want to take care of, preferably at least two weeks before your move-in date. Different providers have different turnarounds for setting up service—all of which can be affected by such factors as time of year and whether you’re setting up new service or just having your utilities switched to a new address with the same provider. It’s best to play it safe and get this taken care of well in advance.
If you’re not moving into an apartment community where garbage, water and sewer services are included with your lease, you’ll have to set these up with your city or county utility company. This might be who you set up electricity and natural gas service with, too, depending on your location. Or you might have a choice. In states like Georgia, for example, residents are free to choose where they get their natural gas, even if the city or county utility is responsible for other services.
The best thing to do is search for services online in the area you’ll be moving to—by city, county or state. In area’s with energy choice—like Georgia—states regulate the various natural gas companies, and there’s usually a site set up that lets you easily compare rates and plans. Georgia residents can click here to see options from Atlanta Gas Light.
Also, don’t forget about setting up your internet and cable—and phone if you’ve got a landline. In some areas, companies that provide services such as electricity and natural gas also offer bundling options that can save you time and headaches when getting internet or cable turned on.
Here’s a quick checklist for setting up utilities:
● Search for utility providers in your new home’s location—determine which services you’ll be responsible for setting up.
● Make sure you have firm move-out and move-in dates
● Contact new utility company two weeks ahead of time to have services turned on—or your current company for a location switch
● Contact current provider two weeks ahead of time to have services shut off
● Ask about applications and deposits
Put It In Writing and Get Lots of Pictures
For renters, it’s important to make a record of the state of things before you move in. If there’s any damage, you want to get photos—timestamped, of course—to prove it was done before you took up residence. Make sure your pictures are well-lit and detailed, and then send copies to the landlord as soon as possible, along with a written list and description of the damage. The landlord might address the issues right away, but if not, you’re covered later down the road when you move out.
Along with any damages, you’ll also want to document and report any appliances that aren’t working properly. If you’ve got issues with your stove, refrigerator or dishwasher, let your landlord know they’re not up to speed. And check to make sure you’ve got a fire extinguisher and that any existing smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are working. If you’re in an older place that doesn’t have any, consider purchasing a few that you can place throughout your home. They could save your life.
Keep It Secure
For renters and new homeowners, you’ll want to get your locks replaced on any exterior doors. This is a cost new homeowners will have to eat, but it’s expected that landlords in rentals will do this for new tenants. Check to make sure this has been done.
And while we’re on the subject of locks, make sure you’ve got copies of any other keys or access codes you may need for gates, alarm systems, mailboxes, laundry facilities, clubhouses, gyms and pools.
Make Sure It’s Spotless
Your landlord or previous owner may have done a good job of cleaning when they were getting your new home ready, but take some time before you completely unpack to go over it all again. It’s a whole lot easier to do deep cleaning in your kitchen and bathrooms before you’ve got all of your stuff everywhere. This is also a great time to do any exterminating or fumigating that might not have been done.
Pet-Proof Your Place
If you’re a renter with pets, we’re assuming your landlord already knows about your furry, feathered or scaled companions. It’s likely you’ve already made a pet deposit, but you’ll want to make sure you’re up on all your new community’s pet policies. If you’ve got a dog, for example, find out where dog walks are located. And check to see if your community offers any special amenities—some, believe it or not, offer indoor “relief” stations or free pet grooming.
And for any new home—rented or purchased—make sure it’s safe for your pets. There are often lots of areas where they can get injured or cause damage. Click here for an in-depth article full of great tips.
Unpack With a Plan
After you’ve got your labeled boxes put into the areas of the house they belong, you’ll want to start setting you new place up by order of importance. If you’ve hired a moving company, be sure to take inventory of any damaged or missing items as you unpack in case you need to file a claim—you’ll want to do this as soon as possible, as many moving companies have a time limit for submitting.
- Kitchen first
When you’re setting up your kitchen, concentrate on the essentials, pulling items from your labeled boxes that you’ll need your first few nights. Unpack a few dishes and plug in and set up major and minor appliances—like your coffee maker. This is also a great time to lay out any shelf and cabinet liners you might want to use.
- Bedrooms second
After your kitchen is set up, move on to your bedrooms. Put your beds together, unpack linens, then move on to organizing furniture and setting up closets. Take some time to consider the layout of any shelves or closet organizing systems.
- Bathrooms third
After your kitchen and bedrooms are ready to go, get your bathrooms ready. Unpack towels, toiletries, body care products, medications and any other items you’ll need for your first few nights.
With these main three areas of your home set up, you can organize everything else at leisure or as time permits.
List Important Contacts
Now that you’re in, take a few minutes to make a list of important contacts in your new area. You’ll want numbers for nearby hospitals, veterinarians (if you’ve got pets), emergency maintenance (if you’re in a rental), utility services, schools, police and fire departments. Don’t wait until there’s an emergency.