The fun and feeling of excitement that follows buying or renting a new apartment could quickly fade away if some of your most important expectations about the home are not met or are below the standard you’d imagined. But it isn’t just your individual home taste you should worry about; security should be top of your list of steps to make your house a home.
When I bought my first home, it was the perfect timing. I had a young family and needed the extra spaces and personalization that come with owning one’s home. But like most first time buyers, I was naïve about a couple of things. Thankfully, some of my more experienced family and friends taught me vital things all first-time buyers should know.
Their helpful checklist was one of the best housewarming presents I got. So, with a little research of my own, I want to share key things every new homeowner needs to do before moving in to feel truly at home.
1. Change the Locks
You really can’t be sure who else has keys to your new home. So it’s safe to change to new locks or re-key the existing ones. The former owners could have given the key to workmen, cleaning service, neighbors, or relatives, and the only way you can banish that fear is to get new ones. This is a very important project you should get done right after you’ve moved in.
2. Repair Any Plumbing Leaks
Normally, this is one of the tasks a home inspector should do for you before closing, but you should still double-check. Even when the whole plumbing work in the property appears to be functioning well, you could make some surprising discoveries later or in unexpected places, such as a damaged sink sprayer in the kitchen sink.
Check the faucets and toilets to be certain they’re not constantly dripping or running; and also the water heater for any signs of a leak. A good way to check for these faults is to note the reading on the water meter and check again after about two hours, during which there’s been no water usage in the home. If the reading is different, that’s a sure sign of a leak.
3. Deep Clean the Carpets
If it’s a rented home, you can choose to change the rugs to your own taste in terms of type, fabric, color, and texture. Alternatively, a professional carpet cleaning service can help you steam clean the current one for a specific fee per room. For an even cheaper cost, you can hire a steam cleaner and do a DIY!
4. Remove Any Unwanted Critters
Completely disinfect the home to get rid of roaches, rats, mice, bats, termites, and any other critters. There are a number of ways to chase out pests from your home, including using poison packets, mouse traps, and cats. But if you want to go gung-ho, just before you call in a professional moving company, make sure to hire a pest removal company for a full clean-up. And don’t forget to schedule a monthly or quarterly service.
5. Upgrade Needed Electrical Systems
New homes typically have all or most of the electrical upgrades you’ll need. Older homes, on the other hand, could pose a problem.
You may choose to call in the experts anytime for electrical upgrades you need in your new apartment, but it’s best to do it before you move in, as that means the electrician will enjoy the freedom and speed of working in empty spaces. This is also the right time to swap the lighting to your taste to match the overall aesthetics and character of the home.
It’s important that you note too that except you’re professional yourself, electrical upgrades are one of the areas where DIY is not advised. It’s best to hire a certified and competent technician or company.
6. Repaint the Wall Colors
The easiest and most instant way to change the look and feel of any space is to repaint some rooms with a fresh coat of paint. It’s the easiest and cheapest way to make your house a home.
Repainting the wall colors is even better if you have a room with picture or crown molding, wainscoting, or chair railing, as you can choose shades that match. This will unify the space in an aesthetic way and create textural contrast.
You can decide to DIY your painting project or hire a professional to do it. Whichever you opt for, it’s easier and faster to do it in an empty space before you move in. You won’t need to move furniture, take down draperies, pictures, art, or mirrors off the wall, or clear out the closets.
Moving is an opportunity for a fresh, new start. To really make your house a home, you’ll want to recreate your living space the way you’d always wanted it to be. But beyond aesthetics and convenience, it’s also a chance to improve your home security and really feel at ease.