Purchasing and moving into a new home is an exciting endeavor. At the same time, it can be overwhelming as the to-dos pile up. But fear not – the moving process can be made simple with careful planning and proper organization. Though several of these tasks can be done independently, you will want to choose professionals for services such as landscaping, power washing, and any specialized task.

Read on to learn from professionals in a variety of fields as they give you tips on the things to do when moving into a new house.

Investigate Schools

If you haven’t already, make sure to do a bit of research before moving into a new home. Do you have kids? If so, you want to make sure they are moving into an environment that is conducive to furthering their education.

Take a day to investigate the schools your children will be attending. Doing so will give you insight on how the schools are performing versus the national average and what additional enrichment opportunities are available. Also, you want to decide which type of school your children will be attending. Do you prefer charter schools? Do you homeschool your children? These are questions you want to ask yourself as you do your research.

As you narrow down your list of candidates, visit the schools to meet the faculty and staff. This will allow you to see the schools’ learning environments and ask the staff relevant questions.

Research Health Care Providers

We’ve all been through the run around of finding a doctor while we are under the weather. Before settling in, research the local doctors’ offices and pick one that is right for you. Always make sure the doctors in question are board-certified.

Since you are switching doctors, make sure you request your medical records from your previous healthcare provider. There may be a fee, and it can sometimes take up to 30 days to receive all of your documents.

Last, make sure the doctor you are considering takes on new patients and accepts your insurance plan. It never hurts to have a second and third option in mind in case the first doctor does not work out.

Hire a Professional to Conduct a Home Inspection

When you’re moving into a new house, it’s best to make sure all your mechanical systems are running correctly. I got a chance to speak with Rory Rowe, Marketing Director for Blind and Sons. Blind and Sons provide total home comfort, offering heating, cooling, plumbing, electrical, and indoor air quality services in Northeast Ohio. Here’s what Rory had to say:

“Having a trusted professional check your mechanical systems annually will help eliminate potential break downs and unsafe situations. Often, these systems are “out of sight, out of mind,” however a break down will never occur at a convenient time. It will always be on the hottest or coldest day of the year”. Rory Rowe, Blind and Sons

Who wants to have, for example, the water heater break down in the middle of winter? Rory says that an inspector will “inspect all the major mechanical systems in {the} home.” In particular, Rory mentions the importance of having the electrical panel checked for rust and water damage, and the water heater checked for leaks.

Rory says that a good inspector will give homeowners, “knowledge of how to keep their mechanical systems working safely and properly.” Having this knowledge is essential because homeowners need to know how to do the necessary checks in-between yearly maintenance.

With that said, hire a home inspector before moving into a new house. When the inspector comes, make sure you ask him or her as many questions as possible so you will know what to look for in-between routine maintenance checks.

Inspect the Driveway and Other Walkways

When it rains, untreated concrete soaks up water just like a sponge. If the moisture remains and freezes, the water droplets expand. This expansion can cause pressure to build inside the concrete and cause it to crack. You can get a good idea of how healthy the concrete is by finding out the year it was initially poured, and how often it has been sealed.

Concrete is one of the most expensive materials to replace at an average of $10 per square foot. So, before you move in, check the driveway and other walkways for existing cracking, chipping, and pitting.

If it’s been over two years and the concrete hasn’t cracked or chipped yet, consider getting these areas washed and sealed for weathering protection.

Inspect the Siding and Roof

Like concrete, siding and shingles are susceptible to wear and tear. Check around the home for imperfections, especially on the north side of the home, where algae colonies tend to accumulate during warm-humid conditions. Ask the previous owners for the last time the house was power washed. If it has been over one year, ask if they can arrange to have the home professionally cleaned before you move in.

One of the best ways to maintain a roof is to have it treated by a professional. Much of the damage to a roof can be prevented with regular maintenance.

Cleaning your home will remove any dirt, grime, algae, mold, or mildew on the outside of the house. Not only will the home look great, but it will also be protected against harmful contaminants.

Check the Outlets and Electrical Panel

In speaking with Christopher J. Brelo, owner of C Brelo Electric, I learned that it is wise to, “check the outlets and the electrical panel,” when moving into a new house.

“It is a good idea to visually inspect all outlets for physical damage such as cracks, charring from heat, or arcing. I highly recommend picking up an inexpensive plug tester. This allows you to simply plug it into your outlets to check the grounding and polarity”. Christopher J. Brelo, C Brelo Electric

Cristopher gave a mind-blowing stat: “Faulty outlets and switches are one of the main causes of electrical fires in the home. They account for 5,300 home fires, over 40 deaths, and 100 injuries every year.” If a fire can be prevented simply by checking the outlet, it is worthwhile to pick up a plug tester!

“I would always inspect the electrical panel,” Christopher proceeded. “It is best to have any inspections done by a licensed electrician, but anyone can visually inspect the electrical panel to look for a few red flags.” The red flags, Christopher said, are signs of “age, rust, and water.”

Register Your Vehicle at Your New Address

Even if you are moving into a new house in the same state, make sure you register your vehicle at your new address. Some cities require emissions checks, which can delay registration the next time you have to purchase new tags. Register your vehicle to your new address before moving in to avoid headaches in the future.

Clean the Home Before Moving in

I reached out to Margie Toombs of Maid Brigade and got some great insights from an interior cleaning perspective. Before moving into a new house, Margie said it makes the most sense to clean the inside of the home. Here’s what she had to say:

“Getting the home completely cleaned while it is empty will put you ahead of the game.  As everyone settles in, you can adjust and move things freely to accommodate how your family uses the living spaces. When we do move-in cleanings, we find the need to concentrate on the insides of cupboards, drawers, and cabinets because these areas often get overlooked in the hectic activities of the move-out”.  Margie Toombs, Maid Brigade

Margie also offered some green cleaning tips to limit the amount of dirt and chemicals in the home:

  • Buy quality microfiber cloths to clean with fewer (possibly no) chemicals.
  • Use microfiber mops, not brooms, to remove daily traffic, dirt, and pet hair. Using a microfiber mop will keep you from stirring-up more allergens.
  • Get high-quality entry mats to reduce the introduction of new dirt particles and chemical residues from the outdoors.
  • Catch spills as soon as possible to avoid stains.  (Warming a cereal bowl of water in your microwave for 60 seconds will soften any food on the interior surfaces and make clean-up a breeze!)

Change the Locks

For security, you should change the locks when moving into a new house. You never know who has a copy of the key to the existing locks. You and your family should be the only ones who have the keys to your home. This will give you peace of mind and protect your valuables inside.

Additionally, it would help if you prepared for a situation in which you were locked out of your home. Without someone else on the outside of your home with a key, the only way into your home is by calling a locksmith. Instead, find a place around the house to stash a copy of your new key for safekeeping. That way, you will have access to a spare key in a lockout situation.

Donate Unwanted Items to Charity

There is no need to hoard your unwanted things in your new home. Moving into a new house marks a great time to downsize your unneeded belongings. Consider donating all of your unwanted items to charity. Some places offer free pickup.

Locate and Inspect Your Shut Off Valves

I was able to reach Anthony R. Joyce of Plumbing Excellence LLC. He told me that as a plumber, he naturally looked for potential leaks. For homeowners, however, it’s best to know where your shut off valves are. Here’s what Anthony said:

“It’s best to know where your shut off valves are and that they work in the event of a water emergency. Upon leaving each service call, we offer to show our clients where their shut off valves are and label them. Purchasing an automatic shut off valve is a wise investment to prevent catastrophes and monitor usage”. Anthony R. Joyce, Plumbing Excellence LLC

Anthony went on to offer some handy tips on how to check for leaks. Any homeowner will be able to do these tips:

  1. If you have a manual main shut off valve and suspect a leak from a high water bill, the first place to check is the toilets. Place a couple of drops of food coloring in the tank without flushing. Check back in 15 minutes to see if the color shows up in the bowl, indicating a leak.
  2. Testing the sump pump can be done by lifting the float with a coat hanger. That will give you peace of mind during heavy rains.

Paint the Walls

It is time to make the home your own. It’s much easier to paint while the house is empty than to paint around furniture. With that said, it’s time to paint the walls. Don’t forget to pick colors that fit with your furniture and décor.

Install Window Treatments

You can install window treatments before moving in not only to boost the aesthetics of your home but also make the home more energy-efficient. About 20% of the heat and cooling of the home dissipates through the windows. Window treatments like cellular shades help make a significant difference.

Connect Major Appliances

Before moving in, make sure all the major appliances are correctly connected. For starters, connect the stove, washer, and dryer. You can also connect your microwave, coffee maker (you’re going to need it), and the other minor appliances.