Making Your New House a Home: The Top Things to Do on Move-In Day

Congratulations on your new house! This is an exciting time filled with possibilities and new beginnings. As you turn your new house into a home, it's important to make the most of your move-in day. With the help of local movers, you can ensure a smooth transition and focus on the top things that will transform your house into a warm and welcoming sanctuary. 

This guide will walk you through the essential tasks on move-in day, to highlight the importance of professional assistance in making your house feel like home. 

So, let's dive in and discover the top things you should do to make your new house a home from the moment you step through the front door.

What You Should Do First When Moving into a New House

You should relax as soon as your move is over. There's more to do than unpacking. Remembering to turn off, on, and transfer services while trying to move efficiently can take time and effort.

We asked a group of real estate and home experts to give us their advice on the first steps you should take when moving into a new house. These tasks will vary depending on whether or not you are moving into a new home that you have purchased or one that you rent. But the sooner you complete them, the quicker you can enjoy your new space.

Change the Locks

You should change your locks before moving yourself, your family, or your belongings to your new home. Candice Williams is a realtor with Coldwell Banker Realty, Houston. “Most people assume that the previous owner has a key, and this is true. She says that there could be family members or friends who hold a key. She explains that some people may still need to learn the owners have moved but may still stop by. This can be a very uncomfortable situation.

Ask your landlord before changing locks if you are renting.

Send Mail to Notify Recipients

Ensure your family and friends know your new address to avoid confusion. Williams says you should update your address with important contacts, such as your school, employer, and insurance company. Williams suggests you set up mail forwarding at the post office to avoid missing any mail. As your old address is forwarded, Williams says, “Use this information as a reference for those who need your new address for their records.” Remember to include credit card companies, banks, and other creditors who may send digital notifications and bills. While you may not receive a physical invoice from your bank or credit card company, they will send your new debit or credit card by snail mail – and this may happen after the mail forwarding period has ended.

Check Your Hoa Items

You should have an HOA contact if you are a member. This will ensure you receive everything you need when you need it. Lisa Harris of RE/MAX Center, Braselton in Georgia, suggests that you double-check with them to make sure. She says to download all relevant apps and have your gate codes, access codes for the pool, and security codes. She also says you should know how to pay your monthly or annual HOA fees.

How to Locate the Main Shut-Off Valve in Your Home

It can take some time to get used to your new home. Thomas Dougherty of Benjamin Franklin Plumbing recommends finding your home's main valve as soon as possible. He says that if your household plumbing springs a leak, you should shut the water off immediately to prevent flooding.

Every home that is connected to municipal water has a main shut-off valve. This valve can be found next to the water meter. It's also important to fix any insulation issues before winter, to prevent frozen pipes from bursting.

You'll also need to know how to turn it off. Dougherty suggests that you know how to shut it off in advance. He says that if your valve is not easily turned by hand, you may need a long-handled plumber's wrench known as a water key. These can be purchased at any hardware shop. You don't want an emergency to cause you to run around trying to find the wrench you need or to figure out how to use one.

Clean Your Kitchen Thoroughly

You can always be careful when moving into a brand-new house. This is especially true when it comes to the place where you store and prepare your food. Leanne Stapf is the COO at The Cleaning Authority. She says that before you break bread in your newly-purchased kitchen, clean all your shelves, cabinets, appliances, and floors.

She suggests using a vacuum to reach the corners at the back of cabinets and remove dust or crumbs. Stapf says to keep an eye out for rodent or pest droppings. She recommends using warm water and detergent to clean the cabinet doors, shelves, and sides.

Stapf continues, “Finally, give special attention to all your appliances. Move them if you can (without damaging the floor or hurting yourself) and clean behind, underneath, and inside their backs. It is essential to remove dust and hair from the intake filters and around the legs and wheels of appliances.

She says, “Finally, clean your microwave, stovetop, and oven insides. You can do this by wiping them down with soap and warm water.” She recommends spraying vinegar on the inside of your appliances and wiping them clean.

Check Your HVAC Unit

Your summers can be hotter, and your winters will be colder if you have HVAC problems. You may also see an increase in your utility bill. Mark Dawson, Executive Vice President of Trade Brands at Authority Brands, recommends cleaning and checking your HVAC unit. Dawson advises clearing the area around your outdoor HVAC unit. Remove any debris, such as shrubs, branches, and other items that may hinder it from performing its task. This will make the HVAC unit work harder, increasing energy consumption.

He also recommends changing the air filter. He says the air filter should be changed every 1-2 months. This means you will have to change it when you move in. It's usually the tenant's job to replace an air filter in rental properties, although the landlord might install a new one at the start of the lease.

Create/Check Maintenance Records

Make a note when you change the air filter and check your HVAC system. Williams says that it's a great idea to keep a log of home maintenance and expense tasks. This can be done on a spreadsheet or paper. You can keep a log of what you did and when so you know when to clean or check your appliances. Williams says, “[this] takes the guesswork away from home maintenance.”

Renters aren't responsible for as many maintenance chores, but keeping a journal can help track when you should change your air filter and hold your landlord accountable.

Renters or Homeowners Insurance?

You can transfer your homeowners' insurance from one house to another if you are a repeat homeowner. According to Monica Sinha of Northwestern Mutual's wealth management team, choosing the right risk-management plan is important. There are many types of homeowners insurance, and depending on your option, you may want to add supplemental coverage to your policy. For example, you will want extra coverage if you live in a region prone to earthquakes and floods.

She says having an emergency fund, a disability income plan, and life insurance is important for home ownership.

Renters should also be covered by insurance when they move.

Get Your Homestead Exemption Discount

Lisa Harris of RE/MAX Center, Braselton in Georgia, suggests applying for the Homestead Exemption Discount when you move into a new home, depending on the season. This exemption may reduce your property tax bill. Contact your local tax commissioner for more information. You can do this online.

Set Up Waste and Recycling

When unpacking those cardboard boxes, you'll quickly realize the importance of your recycling and waste services. Jeremy Walters is the sustainability ambassador for Republic Services, which offers residential and commercial waste and recycling services. He recommends calling your local service provider one to two weeks before your move-in. He says that this will give them ample time to deliver the carts, and you won't have to worry about stockpiling waste or transporting it to a local facility to dispose of it.

He recommends that you designate a place to store empty boxes, packing materials, and other items when unpacking at your new house. Walters says this will reduce clutter and make Recycling or throwing away items easier.

Walters offers some advice on what can be recycled or reused. He says that cardboard boxes and packing papers are ideal for Recycling. If you have too many to fit into your curbside carts, you can drop them off at a local provider, save the boxes for next week or ask your friends if they need boxes. To save space, always flatten and cut down the boxes.

He says that packing peanuts, bubble wrap, and stretch wrap is not recyclable. Instead, they should be thrown away or given to someone moving. Plastic water bottles, tubs, jugs, and juglets can be recycled.

Donate your unwanted clothing, dishes, and furniture to a used store rather than throwing them away.

He says that electronics with rechargeable batteries (such as laptops and cell phones) should never go in the trash or recycling bin. These items may pose a health and safety risk to sanitation workers and the general public. They can also cause fires. He says you should always return electronics to a designated Recycling center.

Visit Your Neighbors

Williams recommends that you meet your neighbors right away. She recommends that you attend the HOA meetings if there is one. Waving at neighbors while you walk or drive by can be a great way to show you are friendly and approachable if you do not have an HOA. Williams suggests that if you feel comfortable, you can knock on a neighbor's door to introduce yourself and say hello.

Williams says that making these connections is important because people who have lived in an area long have insider knowledge about the community. These people can help make the transition easier.

Harris concludes that joining local networking groups or organizations is another way to meet people in your area. Remember social media. She says joining local Facebook groups will inform you about upcoming events and neighborhood happenings.


Moving into a new house is an exciting milestone, but it can also be overwhelming. By following the top things to do on move-in day, you can make the process smoother and transform your new house into a home from the moment you step through the front door. Hiring local movers in Sarasota, such as 5 Stars Movers Sarasota, can ensure a seamless transition and allow you to focus on these essential tasks. 

Remember to change the locks for added security, update your address with important contacts, familiarize yourself with your HOA requirements, locate and learn how to use the main shut-off valve, thoroughly clean your kitchen, check your HVAC unit, create or check maintenance records, review your insurance options, apply for the Homestead Exemption Discount, set up waste and recycling services, and take the time to meet your neighbors. 

By taking these steps, you can make your new house feel like a home in no time. Don't hesitate to contact 5 Stars Movers Sarasota for professional moving assistance, and enjoy the exciting journey of settling into your new home!