Asian family packing boxes and ready to move houses.

Checklist For Moving Into A New House

Jamie Johnson9-minute read
February 23, 2022

Getting settled into a new house is no easy task. Besides moving boxes and furniture, you most likely need to purchase new items, clean and maybe even do some painting.

I think we all can agree that moving is stressful. So, here’s an epic checklist to help you remember the essentials as you move into a new house.

5 Things To Do Right Before You Move In

This list contains necessary items that you may need to purchase and tasks you should complete in advance before unpacking. Keep in mind, every home is different so don’t forget to tailor this list to your needs.

1. Set Up Utilities

Setting up utilities in a new home should be at the top of a homeowner’s checklist. Not having air conditioning after a long day of unpacking isn’t ideal. Generally, utilities should be set up at least 2 – 3 weeks in advance. It’s advised to give utility providers ample time to get your house up and running, especially if they manually launch each service by appointment.

If you’re a first-time homeowner, it may be unclear how you can start the process of adding utilities to your new home. But the first step is determining your utility provider. Depending on your area, there’s a chance the utilities at your new home may be different from your previous address. In the same way, some utility providers will only service certain areas, especially if you’re moving to a different town or state. You can find out by searching your county utility provider.

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Transfer Utilities

When the utility provider isn’t going to change between your old address and your new house, your utilities can be transferred. If this pertains to you, contact your provider to make sure there aware of the transfer. This means you will need to shut down service at your previous address, but you can give your provider the exact date when you no longer need services. To ensure you still have utilities until move day.

Open A New Account Or Cancel Utilities

If you’re moving to a different city or state, you will need new providers for your services. Once you’ve found them on your county’s websites, it’s time to contact them. Depending on your provider, you may need to create a new account online or call them to set up your utilities. At the time of the call, provide your service provider with your new address, the date you need your utilities to be turned on. During the call, some providers may require credit card or bank account information for payment, so, be prepared with that information.

Check The Utilities Were Successfully Turned On

Throughout this process, slip-ups may occur when transferring, canceling, or setting up services with a new provider. Plus, paying for services that you thought were canceled can lead to unexpected expenses. To make sure your new house is up and running, give your home a quick inspection.

  • Flip the light switch on
  • Turn on the stove
  • Flush the toilet
  • Connect your device to the internet

For a service that you shut down, you can check your online account to see the date when services were terminated. If this information isn’t visible, give your utility provider a call to verify services were successfully turned off.

2. Take Room Measurements

Another important task on your checklist is taking room measurements, before items are fully unpacked. You don’t want to arrive at your new home and discover your furnishings are too large or too small for your living space.

For that reason, homeowners should have a tape measure on hand to record true measurements of every room for new and current furniture items. If you do decide to replace some of your items, there are a few ways to search for furnishings that are easy on the pocket. For example, you can stop at thrift stores, community yard sales, or reputable sites to discover quality items at a low cost.

3. Check All Home Appliances

Sometimes when you purchase a new home, appliances aren’t always included. And if you’re a renter turning into a first-time home buyer; you may be faced with buying big-ticket items, such as a stove or dishwasher. Checking which appliances will remain in the home is something that should be asked about before buying a house.

However, if appliances were included in your new house, it’s important to make sure all of the home appliances are still working properly. Try turning on the oven and stove, check the temperature of the fridge and freezer and see how well the washer and dryer completes a cycle.

If a moving company prepared and moved your appliances, such as a washer, dryer or refrigerator, assess your devices to confirm if anything was damaged throughout the move. If anything was damaged or broken you should file an insurance claim as quickly as possible, if you purchased moving insurance. Most moving insurances will reimburse you for any damages.

4. Purchase Cleaning Supplies

Whether you’re moving into a newly constructed house or an old one, it’s important to give your new space a thorough clean to help feel you feel like your new home is truly yours. Usually, it’s proper etiquette for previous homeowners to sanitize the home before you move, but this step can be frequently missed. Wipe down everything before you unpack, especially the kitchen and bathrooms.

There are a few cleaning essentials that you may want to consider buying such as:

  • Multipurpose cleaning sprays
  • Disinfectant wipes
  • Dish soap and laundry detergent
  • Bleach
  • Sponges
  • Paper towels
  • Mop, broom and dustpan
  • Vacuum

5. Stock Your New House

Moving into a new house can take several days or even weeks, making it tough to have enough time to grocery shop or grab other essential items. When you finally have time, take inventory of what you already have, so you don’t overbuy during your shopping trip.

There are quite a few items that new homeowners should grab at the store before unpacking items and settling into their new home. This may include toilet paper, garbage bags, paper plates and water.

However, grocery shopping is an individualized and unique experience for everyone. Depending on your diet, you may need to add the following to your list.

  • Meat
  • Dairy: cheese, eggs, yogurt and milk.
  • Produce
  • Grains: cereal, pasta, bread, oatmeal and rice.
  • Condiments: spices, salad dressing, sauces and sugar.

11 Things To Include In Your Move-In Checklist

We’ve gone over what you should do right before you move, but what should be on your move-in checklist? Let’s dig in:

1. Pay Your Movers/Moving Company

Moving in can be just as difficult as moving out, so hiring a moving company to pack your old home and unpack your new one may be the best resolution. Once the appliances and boxes have safely arrived, it’s time for homeowners to pay for the services.

Take into account, it’s common courtesy for homeowners to have tip money once the movers are finished, as well as, have extra money close by in case the move takes longer than expected.

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2. Keep Track Of All Moving Expenses

Following your move, you might be able to deduct your moving expenses on your income tax return, even if you’re receiving relocation assistance through your employer. So, don’t wait until the last minute. Gather all of your receipts and any other information that might help you out during tax season.

If you’re not sure what’s defined as moving expenses services, these are costs acquired on the way from your old house to your new one. This consists of hiring professionals, moving trucks, packing supplies, cost of packing, and storage.

3. Unpack Items Room By Room

Unpacking boxes can be a nightmare for most people. But if packing is done the proper way, it can be a smooth process.

Consider placing boxes in the rooms they belong in based on how they are labeled. You can create a color-coded or number system for your boxes to help you separate them. By doing this you’re also keeping the clutter out of one central room, like the living room or kitchen.

4. Baby-Proof And Pet-Proof Your Space

If your household has children or pets, you might want to immediately start baby-proofing to ensure your furry friends and littles ones are safe in an unfamiliar setting.

As you’re walking through their new home take precaution about where to put up baby gates, how many cupboards locks you’ll and check for loose nails, as well as other hazardous items.

Other important steps in baby and pet-proofing your home may include

  • Toilet seat covers
  • Mounting bookshelves and other heavy objects
  • Installing corner guards
  • Covering your outlets
  • Keeping wires out of sight

5. Purchase A Security System

Although, it may take some time to find the right security system for your home. There are a few things that you can do to feel protected in the meantime, inside and outside of your space.

Homeowners can enhance their home security by purchasing motion cameras, lock keypads, or a video-wired doorbell.

However, the first order of business should be changing your locks, since you can’t be certain who may have keys to your new home. So, installing new locks for your front, back and garage door can also give you a sense of security and safety.

6. Set Up Autopay For Monthly New Home Payments

Becoming a homeowner can lug a plethora of new monthly expenses such as HOA fees, a mortgage and property taxes. However, you can sign up for automated payments to ensure you avoid late fees, which will help your credit in the long run.

Autopay is simple to set up on a credit card, all you have to do is provide the biller with your credit card information. This will include your card number, expiration date, and CVV. Once completed, you can expect a charge each month.

There are other ways to arrange autopay such as, through your bank. This may require you to log in your online bank account or your mobile banking app. Once logged on, you can tell your bank which entity to pay and the amount.  

7. Update Your Mailing Address

Once you officially moved into your new house, it’s time to start updating your address immediately. It’s advised that you start with the U.S. Postal Service. This will guarantee that the mail at your old address, will make its way to your new home.

Changing your address can be done online by visiting the USPS Change of Address page. You can expect to fill out multiple forms, such as your contact information, your old address and your new address. You even have the option to select if your residence is temporary or permanent.

Keep in mind, you will need to update other entities besides your mailing address. This may include

  • Transferring subscription services
  • Updating your ID or driver’s license
  • Updating your car registration and insurance
  • Registering your kids to a school within your area

8. Create A Furniture List

While taking inventory of what you’ve unpacked is an important step in the moving process. Homeowners should also create a running list, of other furniture items needed to fully furnish their new home. For example, if your new home has more space, you may need an extra bedroom set for the guest room.

Think about including how much money these furniture items will cost. This will help you create a budget and prevent you from overspending.

9. Find A Nearby Dumpster

During the moving in process, you may underestimate how fast empty boxes and trash can pile up. Usually, a standard trash bin isn’t capable of housing all of our packing materials.

So, finding a nearby dumpster or landfill where you can dispose of your empty boxes and trash once a day, can make the unpacking process a little easier. Take into consideration, that some landfills may charge a fee, depending on the weight of your trash, if you have bulk items.

To help you stay organized while moving in consider the following

  • Break down cardboard boxes
  • Collect packing paper into a bag for recycling
  • Carefully wrap any broken items with leftover bubble wrap

10. Seek Out Reliable Professionals

If you’re not within the area of your old address, moving to a new neighborhood means you will have to find new business to do everyday things like doctor visits, car repairs and veterinarian visits.

You can start by introducing yourself to your neighbors since they have good recommendations and know the around pretty well. If you rather search for experts on your own, you can use social media or reputable sites like HomeAdvisor or Google Business.

Be sure to search for doctors that are in-network. When you find a clinic, you can contact your old physician to transfer medical documents to your new one.

11. Buy A Gift For Your REALTOR®

Purchasing a gift for the REALTOR® is an effortless way to show your appreciation, for their expertise during the home buying process.

Typically, you can expect your agent to give you a gift after closing, so it’s a nice surprise to give them a gift since they won’t expect it.

If you’re not sure what would be an appropriate REALTOR® gift, think about what your agent truly enjoys. Since you probably spent a lot of time with this person, they may have mentioned that they like to cook or go to sporting events. Consider giving them tickets to a local cooking class or a game of their favorite sport.

Maybe your REALTOR® hasn’t mentioned any of their hobbies. If this is the case, think about gifts that you would like to receive, such as a bottle of wine or a gift card.

The Bottom Line: Use A Checklist When Moving Into A New House To Avoid Stress And Chaos

Having a lengthy new house checklist may have you wondering if you’ll ever be able to relax again. And the answer is yes! Moving into a new house doesn’t have to be exhausting or stressful.

Imagine your new home as a blank canvas to make your space more enjoyable. Give your walls a splash of color or dust off your quirky knickknacks and put them on display. Think of moving as a great opportunity to let your creativity flow.

Not sure where to start? Check out this guide to get interior design tips and learn more about what it takes to be a homeowner.

Now, go make your new place feel like home.

Ready for a change?

Connect with top-rated pros today on HomeAdvisor.

Jamie Johnson

Jamie Johnson is a Kansas City-based freelance writer who writes about a variety of personal finance topics, including loans, building credit, and paying down debt. She currently writes for clients like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Business Insider, and Bankrate.