If you’re just moving into a home, it can be easy to get caught up in the excitement of having somewhere new to live, especially if you’re a first-time homeowner.
You don’t have to get stuck into renovating the house straight away, but there are a few basic jobs you should be tackling.
Make the changes
Unless you’re moving into a new build that was previously unoccupied, one of the first things you need to do is change the locks. The previous tenants of your house may be trustworthy, but you can’t be sure if they’ve forgotten about any copies they’ve made of keys. Getting new locks means that your home is more secure, and only people that you allow access to will be able to get in. You should also reprogramme the burglar alarm if there is one.
You should also change the batteries in the smoke detectors, as you can’t be sure how recently they’ve been replaced. If the smoke detectors are more than ten years old, it may be worth getting entirely new models.
Install a thermostat if there isn’t one already, as this could help you to save money on your energy bills. If there already is a thermostat installed, check what temperature it’s set at, as you may be able to reduce your bills by turning it down just one degree. Don’t forget to read your gas and electricity meters on the day that you move in – to make sure that you only pay for the energy that you’ve used. Also, there’s nothing to stop you checking that the tariff you’ve inherited from the previous owners is still competitive. You could use a site like uSwitch or call Think Money Group’s Money Saving Team on 08000 274 201.
When you’re buying your white goods, try to purchase energy-efficient appliances if you can afford them. These can cost more than the basic models, but they could save you more in the long run too. You can pay for the energy efficient goods from your savings, or you could consider a home improvement loan to cover the cost. Make sure you’ll be able to make the repayments though, as these loans are secured against your home, meaning your property may be at risk if you can’t afford to pay.
As soon as you’ve moved in make sure you update your address on all your bank accounts, credit cards, loans, and also with your mobile providers and so on. You should also apply to go on to the Electoral Roll. All of these could help keep your credit record in good shape.
Check it out
You should check the guttering in your new house, as the previous owner may not have cleaned it recently. As winter is coming, gutters can quickly become blocked by build-ups of leaves, so give them a going-over so you’re less likely to have problems over the long-term.
It should have come up in your survey before you moved in if you had one, but be sure to check for any mould, mildew, or cracks in the walls which point to the possibility of problems occurring in the future. Surveys can accidentally miss things, and it’s better to pick up any issues now so you can nip them in the bud before they get too serious.
Check the insulation in the loft, on the water pipes, and generally around the house wherever the cold could be getting in, as if it is insufficient it could make it more difficult for your home retain heat. Flush all of the toilets and turn the taps on in the sinks and the baths to check that they’re draining properly and to see if anything is leaking. Make sure you know where the main water shut off (stopcock) is – the last thing you want if you do get a burst pipe is to be hunting for it in the dark.
It could also be a good idea to ask the seller what changes, upgrades, and jobs they’ve done on the house and when, as this could help you decide if and when you will need to do any work.
Leave it alone
When you first move into your house, it’s also important to know what not to tackle straight away. Try to live in the house for at least six months before you make any big renovations, as your opinions of the space will change as you get used to it.
On the day you first move in, everything might be a hectic blur, so don’t try and unpack all your belongings in one go. It could take you a long time to get your new house looking like the home you want, so pack a move-in suitcase with all the emergency basics in. That way, even if you don’t unpack anything else, you’ll still have access to the things you need.
Disclaimer: All information and links are correct at the time of publishing.