6 Things everyone should do when they move into a new home. (Videos)

By
Real Estate Agent with Johnson & Johnson Real Estate Group DRE #01833715

1. Change the locks. You really don’t know who else has keys to your home, so change the locks. That ensures you’re the only person who has access. Install new deadbolts yourself for as little as $10 per lock, or call a locksmith — if you supply the new locks, they typically charge about $20-$30 per lock for labor.



2. Check for plumbing leaks. Your home inspector should do this for you before closing, but it never hurts to double-check. I didn’t have any leaks to fix, but when checking my kitchen sink, I did discover the sink sprayer was broken. I replaced it for under $20.

Keep an eye out for dripping faucets and running toilets, and check your water heater for signs of a leak.

Here’s a neat trick: Check your water meter at the beginning and end of a 2-hour window in which no water is being used in your house. If the reading is different, you have a leak.



3. Steam clean carpets. Do this before you move your furniture in, and your new home life will be off to a fresh, clean start. You can pay a professional carpet cleaning service — you’ll pay about $50 per room; most services require a minimum of about $100 before they’ll come out — or you can rent a steam cleaner for about $30 per day and do the work yourself. I was able to save some money by borrowing a steam cleaner from a friend.



4. Wipe out your cabinets. Another no-brainer before you move in your dishes and bathroom supplies. Make sure to wipe inside and out, preferably with a non-toxic cleaner, and replace contact paper if necessary.

When I cleaned my kitchen cabinets, I found an unpleasant surprise: Mouse poop. Which leads me to my next tip …

5. Give critters the heave-ho. That includes mice, rats, bats, termites, roaches, and any other uninvited guests. There are any number of DIY ways to get rid of pests, but if you need to bring out the big guns, an initial visit from a pest removal service will run you $100-$300, followed by monthly or quarterly visits at about $50 each time.

For my mousy enemies, I strategically placed poison packets around the kitchen, and I haven’t found any carcasses or any more poop, so the droppings I found must have been old. I might owe a debt of gratitude to the snake that lives under my back deck, but I prefer not to think about him.



6. Introduce yourself to your circuit breaker box and main water valve. My first experience with electrical wiring was replacing a broken light fixture in a bathroom. After locating the breaker box, which is in my garage, I turned off the power to that bathroom so I wouldn’t electrocute myself.

It’s a good idea to figure out which fuses control what parts of your house and label them accordingly. This will take two people: One to stand in the room where the power is supposed to go off, the other to trip the fuses and yell, “Did that work? How about now?”



You’ll want to know how to turn off your main water valve if you have a plumbing emergency, if a hurricane or tornado is headed your way, or if you’re going out of town. Just locate the valve — it could be inside or outside your house — and turn the knob until it’s off. Test it by turning on any faucet in the house; no water should come out.



What were the first maintenance projects you did when you moved into your first home?

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Comments (5)

Simon Webster
CRE Credit Services - Plano, TX

Definitnely good advice.  I am curious how many people don't change their locks, but that is definitely something I would make sure of. 

Jan 21, 2013 12:51 PM
Pete Xavier
Investments to Luxury - Pacific Palisades, CA
Outstanding Agent Referrals-Nationwide
Great advice, one thing I would not do is to get rid of the mice, we have friendly ones here.
Jan 21, 2013 01:10 PM
Cameron Novak
The Homefinding Center - Corona, CA
Featured Corona Real Estate Agent Team

Nicely done Justin.  I'd definitely go with a locksmith... you can get the whole house rekeyed very reasonably (around $100)

Jan 21, 2013 02:21 PM
Brian Rayl
Home Value Leads - Highland Park, TX
Active Agent and Co-founder Of Home Value Leads

Great advice for the new home buyers. As far as changing out the locks, the home warranty service that I use provides this as a free service for home buyers who purchase their home warranty and can be done the same day as closing at no cost to the buyers. Great value added proposition for their home warranty. 

Jan 21, 2013 03:44 PM
Justin Johnson
Johnson & Johnson Real Estate Group - Roseville, CA
I will always answer your call.

I would also definitely change the locks also...I'm not sure my cat would let the mice stay though lol.. Thanks for your comments guys! Please subscribe I'm trying to build my profile up. Again Thanks have a phenomenal 2013!

Jan 23, 2013 03:10 AM