Happy Friday everyone!
If you read my post from last week that had some tips for new home buyers, you might be wondering, “I closed on a house. Now what?” Well, the next step is prepping for your move and Brent and I have assembled a list of some things we learned or did to make our move as easy as possible. I hope you will find this post about Moving Day preparation just as helpful. As always, please share your own tips below in the comments section!
Have a great and safe Memorial Day weekend!
I Dream of Pretty Things
What to do with all of that “stuff”
- Craigslist and online marketplaces can be your best friend. We sold everything from a chandelier to a brand new oven on Craigslist as well as bought several pieces of furniture. If your work has a classifieds area on the company website or you have other connections, consider posting your wares there as well. Safety first-Remember to bring a friend if you’re meeting someone in a public location or at their house and have someone with you at your house if the buyer’s doing a pickup.
- Before move-in day, send out an e-mail to friends or post something on Facebook asking if anyone else has a move coming up. Let them know that they are welcome to your boxes and packing material and see if they can come over after your move to pick up everything. It will be such a relief to have a plan for the extra material, especially when it’s going to help a friend as well!
- Drop off any boxes and packing materials you aren’t able to pass on to friends in a recycling dumpster (often found in churches or library parking lots). However, you’ll probably want to hold on to your flat screen TV box because you’ll definitely want to have that in the future for your next move!
- After you’ve purchased, buy some extra sheets and find your window treatments, etc. Our house came with virtually no window coverings and it was kind of weird doing projects at night being completely visible from the street. Having something to cover your windows will give you the privacy you need, especially from potential criminals who see that you’ve just moved in. We made makeshift curtains with painters drop cloths in the front windows until we found more permanent solutions.
- Pet Safety- If you have a dog, it’s always a good idea to do a check of the perimeter of the backyard fence and patch up any holes, broken staves, etc. to prevent your best friend from slipping out. Similarly, contact a fencing company and schedule a time for them to fully enclose your backyard if you have an open area to your driveway, etc. You will want this area closed off before you move in. It’s also a good idea to have a dog door installed so that you have that convenience when you move in. Lastly, do a check of the plant life in your front/backyard and check for plants or flowers that might be poisonous to pets.
- Scout out the hardware stores closest to you ahead of time so that you know what will be most convenient. If the stores have loyalty programs, go ahead and enroll and start collecting those coupons.
- Interior and Exterior Paint Colors- Most houses usually have a stash of leftover paint used for exterior and interior projects. Write down, take pictures or type up a list of the paint brands and colors that you can find so that you can buy more/reference it in the future if you need to buy more supplies. If it’s obvious, you can also label the cans so that you know which rooms correspond with the paint color. Seems like a mundane detail, but you will definitely want to store this information for that day you need to make major touch ups or the time when you try to match the paint color and you just can’t.
- Trash and Recycling Cans- Check out your new space and see if the city issued trash and recycling cans are on the property. In Houston, you can call 311 and order them for your house if you don’t have one or you have some cans that need replacing. Depending on the city, it could take a week or two before they’re delivered. By ordering one in advance of your move day, you can ensure that you’ll have a place to dispose of your trash and moving material from Day 1.
- Basic Household Items- Prior to moving day, you should consider bringing over items such as garbage bags, bottled water, household cleaners, toilet paper, a few snacks, hand soap, a few towels, paper towels, etc. to stock the house. If you’re like us, you may have a few weeks before you move in (from your close date) and may be planning to do small projects as you go. Having these items at the house will make you comfortable and more prepared to spend evenings there after work.
- Buy a large pack of white labels and pre-print the labels for your moving boxes (e.g. by room, ones marked FRAGILE, etc.). Create signs or posters to label each room at the new house on moving day (that correspond with your labels). This will help you keep organized as you pack and help the movers identify which boxes should go in each room when they get to the house (unless you want them to put everything in one centralized location).
- First project you should do is to set up your bed completely with sheets, pillows, etc. Second project should be setting up your TV or your laptop to the internet. Why? At the end of the day when you can’t move or unpack another box, you will want to just get into bed and watch TV or get on the internet. You’ll be glad you had this all set up before you ran out of energy!
- Introduce yourself to your neighbors. It’s sad, but we live in a day and age where some people just don’t come out to greet their new neighbors like they used to. Don’t be afraid to knock on someone’s door and introduce yourselves. When you get home, write down their names before you forget. We all know how awkward it can be to do the “what was your name again?” routine.
- Once you buy, don’t be afraid to enlist the help of family and friends in making your house your own. Remember that sad landscaping? Practically all of our family members had a hand in its improvement over the past year. Friends and family also helped us paint 90% of the interior of our house. Don’t be shy to ask and make a party out of it! Provide food and drinks to make it more fun.
- Have a friend or family member who loves your pets? Consider asking them to watch your dogs at their place for moving day, so that it minimizes their trauma and anxiety.
- Before you move in, remember to change all of the locks on your house. You never know how many extra keys have been floating about from the previous owners, contractors, vendors, etc. These locks can be purchased at your local hardware store and can be easily installed on your own. There’s a way for you to buy a certain number of locks that can all be programmed for the same type of key, so make sure you look at the packages carefully or ask a sales associate for help.
- Get your security contract and installation done ASAP. Remember to request extra stickers and outdoor signs that you can put up around the perimeter of your home. Put security stickers on every window! Even if you can’t get the installation right away, see if they’re willing to drop off some of the stickers/signs ahead of time so that you can have something that might deter a burglar.
- Pad locks & Dog Doors- If you install a dog door at your house, go ahead and install a pad lock at the top of the door. There have been many cases (and it happened to us) of burglars reaching their arm through the dog door (or fitting their whole body through the door) and unlocking the door from the inside. If you have a padlock at the top (and do not keep the key in it), it will help give you that added layer of protection.
- In my neighborhood, we have local constables who will patrol the area 24/7. If you have a service like this, find out the hotline or phone number and program it into your phone. This will help you if you have an emergency and most likely you’ll get a faster response time than if you just call 911 (especially if you’re in a major metropolitan area).
- Make an extra pair of keys for local family or a trusted friend to have on hand in case of emergency.
- If you have any gates in your backyard, fence area, etc. make sure to put a new lock on them to keep them secure!
- If you plan on using a lawn service or a maid service, go ahead and transfer your services to your new address or poll friends and neighbors for recommendations in the area. Get your cleaning/lawn care program established as soon as possible so that you don’t have to worry about your home or lawn falling behind in maintenance while you’re there.
- Deep Clean of the House- Similar to above, if the seller has not arranged for a deep clean before you move in, it’s a great idea to schedule a deep clean of your own by a professional company. They should clean it top to bottom to give you piece of mind that you’re moving into a clean home.
- Before you move in, schedule your cable/internet installation so that you can access wi-fi, etc. from move in day on. You won’t be happy if you can’t access the internet or your favorite shows from your home while you try to work in the evenings/over the weekend.
- Change of Address-If you haven’t done so already, start making a list of people, employers, companies, organizations, etc. who should be notified of your change of address. If you have your move in date finalized, go ahead and start the mail forwarding service through the USPS.
- Electrician- If you have a treadmill or large piece of exercise equipment, make sure you call an electrician and have them come out to see if the current amps are sufficient to handle your equipment. Depending on your home, there may be certain rooms that are better equipped electrically to handle the machine. (This is good to know before you start moving heavy equipment from one place to another.) If your rooms aren’t currently equipped to handle it, see what they can do to safely and increase your amps (while keeping you up to code) so that you can actually use your favorite toy! (We didn’t think about that when we bought a treadmill and we had to wait a few weeks before we could get someone out).
- Paying for movers is a good investment in our book. Some of my friends had good luck finding people on Craigslist, but we prefer paying extra to have reputable, bonded movers come and move your things. You’ll be a lot happier without your prized belongings being banged up. Be sure to package everything up well before the move so that you aren’t wasting time (and money) making the movers pack your things while they are there. Pack anything you will need first last, so it is the first to come off the truck.
- You will probably love owning your own home, but no one enjoys paying property taxes. You will have to pay an additional amount each month into escrow to pay for these taxes. Make sure you budget this additional expense when looking at a home.
- The city/county also loves increasing the appraised value of your beautiful new home so that they can collect more taxes. You can and should fight these increases as much as possible. Have a realtor friend pull comparable houses in your neighborhood so you have some hard data to take to appraisal office. Also be aware of deadlines for appealing the increased valuation – when we moved in, we only had ten days to appeal!
- Take photos and catalog your valuables and prized possessions for insurance purposes. If you still have the original receipts, keep them in a safe place in case you ever have a break-in or robbery and need to provide them to the insurance company.