The past month has been a whirlwind because we bought and moved into our first home! In case you missed our house hunting experience, you can read about that here. When we first found out we were moving to Austin, we originally wanted to buy a house from the get-go. However we quickly realized since we had never lived in Austin before, we knew nothing about the different neighborhoods or where we would even want to live. So we signed a lease for a two-bedroom apartment for the first year, but by July (month 10) we were itching to move into a larger place that we could call our own.
We closed on our house in September and just moved in a few weekends ago! While we’re still unpacking boxes around our house, it already feels so much more spacious than our apartment, even though our apartment was a decent size. With two levels in our new house, the separation certainly helps declutter which I’m so thankful for – especially with both of us working from home.
Between the time that we closed and the day we moved in, there were several things we needed to do to make sure our home was move-in ready. I didn’t even think about all of these items on my own, but luckily our realtor was awesome and gave us a heads up right away with all of the things we should complete before we moved in.
- Large paint jobs – be sure to have any large paint jobs completed prior to moving in. Why? For several reasons: a) when you move in you can set up your furniture and decor as you like it without having to immediately move it around for the painters, b) it’s very likely the paint job will be cheaper for an empty house! It’s so much easier for the painters to paint an entire house when it’s empty rather than filled with furniture they need to cover up and avoid getting paint on, c) it feels so nice to move into a freshly painted home! Smaller paint jobs can always come later.
- Exterminator – have an exterminator come out to your house and spray both the exterior and interior of your home. They can also check for any bugs or rodents that already have a presence on your property – better to handle that before you move in then after you’re already there!
- Clean – you can either do this yourself or hire professionals, but moving into a clean house is a must. A deep clean of the house will make you feel so much better when you move in – we shampooed the carpets, vacuumed every room, swept and mopped the hardwood floors, and cleaned all of the countertops and bathrooms. We hired a cleaning service to come clean the house, but we weren’t fully satisfied with their job so we went ahead and re-cleaned the entire house just to be sure it was extra clean when we moved in! Renting a carpet cleaner from Home Depot or Lowe’s is cheap and super easy to use. I would 100% recommend doing this prior to moving into your home – the carpets in our house looked pretty clean, but the carpet cleaner proved otherwise.
- Replace toilet seats – while this isn’t a must, it will make you feel cleaner and not question who was sitting on these before you! Toilet seats are fairly cheap and a variety of seats are sold at Home Depot.
- Change the locks – again, not a must-do, but if there have been several families that lived in your house prior to you or you just want to be extra safe, it’s always a good idea to change the locks – you never know how many copies there are out there. Then you’ll know that only your family has keys. (How many break-ins have you heard of that are non-forced entry?)
- Measure your space – before moving in it’s always a good idea to take measurements of each room and mentally design where you want to put the furniture. Whether you’re bringing old furniture or buying new, you’ll want to know whether or not your furniture will fit in your new home! You’ll also want to have each area mentally designed in your head (at least the big stuff) so when you move in you aren’t trying to figure out where to put the couch or the beds or the dressers – whoever is doing the heavy lifting will appreciate it!
- Activate utilities – by the time you move in to your new house, you’ll definitely want the electricity, gas, A/C and heat to work! I can only imagine moving all of your furniture into your new home and realizing that none of the utilities are on – what a nightmare. We activated our utilities soon after we closed on our house because we knew that we’d be going back and forth several times before we officially moved in. We were certainly thankful for the electricity and A/C in the Austin heat!
- Fix any problems reported during inspection – our house is super new (built in 2015), so luckily we only had very minor issues reported after our inspection. The most problematic – broken garbage disposal – was easily fixed by my husband. However there can be major issues that need to be addressed after an inspection prior to move-in, so be sure to have those handled so you don’t have to deal with any major issues once you’re already living there.
- Set-up internet and cable (if needed) – while many people no longer feel as though they need cable in their homes, internet is certainly a must. Setting up internet prior to moving in will be a lifesaver – you’ll be able to use it immediately and not have to deal with it while you’re trying to unpack and get everything organized.
- Prepare for your safety – check the batteries in smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors and home alarm systems. Be sure all of these work prior to moving in or immediately after moving into your new house (or install these if your home does not already have these safety precautions). Purchase a fire extinguisher and keep it in your kitchen for any emergencies. Better to be safe than sorry!
I hope this helps any new home-owners or those looking to buy. Congratulations on your new home – such an exciting time with so many new changes and things to look forward to!