New homeowner checklist: 8 steps you don't want to forget

Moving into a new home is a very exciting time. It can also be one of the most stressful times in our life. Having a roadmap to follow and not having to try and remember the myriad of things that need attending to can be a big help.

This new homeowner checklist includes eight action steps you can take to ensure that your experience before and after you move into your new home is a positive one. This tried-and-true list has saved many a new homeowner from having to say, “I should’ve...”

Make sure the utilities are turned on and are in your name

More than one unsuspecting new homeowner has arrived at their new home, put the key in the door, and hit the light switch, only to discover that the electricity had not been turned on. The same goes for gas and water service.

The best time to coordinate utilities being turned on is before you actually have the keys to the front door. If they are under the name of the existing homeowner or builder, coordinate with them to have the utilities transferred over to you. Contact the utilities to make sure this has been done so you can be sure there are no surprises when you take possession.

Have repairs and handiwork done before move-in

No one wants to have a plumber installing or repairing a toilet the day they move in. Or have a room full of sawdust because a carpenter needed to do some work on cabinetry. Navigating through the maze of boxes in the living room is hard enough without repair people or contractors in the way.

The best time to have work done on your home, interior, or exterior, is before you move in. Life has been disrupted enough at this point, and you’re going to be ready to unpack and settle in. You don’t want to be supervising workers and navigating your way around them after you’ve moved into your new home.

Work on your budget

When you move into a new home, everything seems to cost twice what you expected it to. And you quickly find out that you have a dozen things to buy that you hadn’t anticipated, like light bulbs and power tools.

It’s best to sit down beforehand and make a list of all the new items you’re going to need to buy when you move in. No new homeowner checklist would be complete without reminding you that you’re going to need a lawnmower, weed eater, and leaf blower if you’ve never had a lawn before. Not to mention, you’re going to be ordering a lot of pizza or dining out before you have your kitchenware unpacked.

Brainstorming and budgeting for all of the things you’re going to need for your new home will help you from having financial strain at a time when you least need it.

[ Read: 26 of the best budgeting tips, from A to Z ]

Have window treatments in place

You don’t want to announce to your neighbors that you’ve moved in by having them see bed sheets on your windows acting as curtains. If you’re not ready to have an interior designer come in and measure, order, and hang new curtains yet, you’ll need to go shopping and invest in some blinds or some inexpensive, temporary curtains to give you privacy.

Change your locks

You never know how many extra keys the former homeowner gave out to family, friends, neighbors, and repair people. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure when it comes to keys to your home floating around. Go to your local hardware store and buy new locks (get spare keys made, too), or call a locksmith and have them change the locks for you.

You’ll also want to re-program your garage door openers, so they only work with the remotes in your possession.

Have your Internet set up

In the work-from-home environment so prevalent in the modern workforce, you may find yourself perched on your laptop in your study or at a kitchen table serving as your office. Instead of using your phone as a hotspot, be sure to contact your Internet service provider and arrange for installation before you move in.

Set up your security system

This is an item you want to have on your new homeowner checklist. You’re going to be having a lot of empty boxes sitting out on in front of your home, waiting to be picked up by your garbage collection company. Unscrupulous individuals love to see that an unoccupied house is now full of electronics and other valuables in a home that may very well not yet have the alarm system active.

You can thwart them by having your security system up and running before you move in. It can keep vandals out before you move in and thieves out afterward.

Protect yourself and your family from the unexpected

When you buy a new home, you’ve added to your financial responsibilities in a big way. You’ve very likely increased your monthly housing expense, as well as now having bigger utility bills, maintenance expenses, and a whole host of other monthly outlays that you didn’t anticipate.

It’s been said that good things most often take time to occur, but bad things happen quickly. Take time to research and buy affordable life insurance to protect your family and allow them to stay in their home in the event of your death.

As important, purchase a long term disability insurance policy for you and your working spouse, if applicable. During your working years, you have a more significant change of becoming disabled than of dying. Disability insurance is one of the best investments you’ll ever make when it comes to protecting your paycheck and your family.

Keep this new homeowner checklist handy. It will help lower your stress level and keep you organized as you take possession of your new castle. And don’t forget to enjoy yourself during this special time.


Jack Wolstenholm is the head of content at Breeze.

The information and content provided herein is for educational purposes only, and should not be considered legal, tax, investment, or financial advice, recommendation, or endorsement. Breeze does not guarantee the accuracy, completeness, reliability or usefulness of any testimonials, opinions, advice, product or service offers, or other information provided here by third parties. Individuals are encouraged to seek advice from their own tax or legal counsel.

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