Your Essential Moving Into a New House Checklist to Instantly Make a Strange Place Home

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When you’re moving into a new home, the transition from your old space to the new one can often feel overwhelming. Whether it’s your first time relocating or you’ve done it before, the process always comes with its own set of unique challenges and moments of excitement.

This adjustment is not just about shifting boxes and furniture; it’s about transporting your life and memories to start a new chapter. To ease this major life change, we’ve created a definitive ‘moving into a new house checklist’ to give you the peace of mind as you settle into your new home.

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The 11 bare necessities checklist for moving into a new house

1. Take measurements of each room to plan your furniture layout

While the house is still empty, measure rooms to plan out where your furniture will go.

You’ll know exactly where each couch and table should be dropped when moving day comes. A bit of order in the layout can make the mess of boxes seem a little less messy.

Kitchen table area
Dining room
Family room
Formal living room
Master bedroom
Guest room 1
Guest room 2

2. Transfer utilities before you close escrow

When you move out of a home, you’ll shut off the gas, electric, and water to prevent accidents while the home is vacant. Before you close escrow, transfer the utilities to your new house, so the city has time to get them running.

Chris Murray, a top real estate agent who has sold over 74% more properties in Hemet, California, than the average agent, says that some real estate agents forget to tell their clients to transfer utilities on time.

“If the gas and water are shut off, it could take a couple weeks to get someone out there,” Murray says.

Make sure you call your utility company before moving day, so you have water, electricity, and heat when you get into your new house.


3. Get appliances up and running

After you’ve deep-cleaned the kitchen, make sure the fridge is plugged in so it’s cold and ready to use when you move in.

If you moved your fridge into your new house, let it stand upright for 2-3 hours before you plug it in. This will allow the fluid to flow back into the compressor to maintain the cooling mechanism.

Turn on each stove top burner to test the gas and pilot light. For an electric stovetop, turn on the burner and hover your hand over it carefully to feel the heat. For an induction stovetop, bring an iron pan to test it.

To test your oven, set it to 375 degrees. Put a small amount of granulated sugar on an oven-safe dish into the oven for 15 minutes. The sugar will melt if the oven is functioning correctly.

Run the dishwasher empty with the highest heated drying option. Check for leaks and make sure the inside is hot when it’s complete.

If the appliances were included in your home purchase and you notice a defect, talk to your real estate agent to review your contract with the seller. You may be entitled to contact a real estate attorney if you were wronged or lied to in the purchase of your new home.

If the appliances are yours from your previous home, check to see if the appliance is within the warranty period. Contact a repair professional to assess the issue.

Plug in the fridge
Test the stove and oven
Run the dishwasher
Find warranty and owner manual

4. Stock up on basic cleaning supplies for quick disinfecting

At the very least, you want to clean the bathroom and kitchen of your new home before you move in.

Sure, the previous owners likely deep cleaned the whole house. But since the home was first listed, there’s no telling how many people walked through and touched all the surfaces. Deep clean the bathroom and the kitchen before you start bringing boxes in, so the house is safe and sanitary for your family.

Clorox disinfecting wipes
Toilet bowl cleaner/brush
Glass cleaner
All-purpose cleaner
Garbage bags
Rags and towels

5. Address electric, plumbing, and safety concerns

If a fuse blows or a pipe bursts on your first day in your new home, you need to know where the circuit breaker box and the main water valve are.

During your preliminary cleaning, find the circuit breaker box and main water valve and scope out these important controls for your home’s safety. If you have trouble finding them, look at your house’s blueprint.

Circuit breaker located and operational
Main water valve located
Water heater turned on

6. Change over the locks from the previous owner

When the seller hands over the keys to the house, how do you know those are the only keys? The reality is: you don’t. Keep your family safe in your home with new locks on every exterior door.

“I always recommend you change the locks,” says Murray. “You just don’t know what’s floating out there. Typically, agents have a deal with a security company, and they’ll get a discount on security systems at the close of escrow.”

Ask your real estate agent if they work with companies that can provide a home security system at a discounted rate. At the bare minimum, hire a local locksmith to come to change the locks. Or, pick up a new set of knobs and locks at HomeDepot.

Here are some sites to help you find a locksmith in your area:

  • Find Local Locksmith is an easy platform to find the most reliable, licensed, and insured Locksmiths in the country. Type in your ZIP code and instantly receive a free list of the vetted locksmiths in your area.
  • Thumbtack provides free quotes from local professionals who meet your needs. Enter your location, answer some questions about what you need, read reviews, and choose the best professional for the job.
  • Angi matches you with top professionals in your area. Angi’s certified professionals meet various standards to assess reliability and experience including a criminal background check, overall rating based on reviews, proper licensing, and more.

Front door locks changed
Backdoor locks changed
Basement locks changed
Garage door locks changed
Porch locks changed

7. Stock the new kitchen with easy meals for post-moving

Bring some essential foods to your new kitchen to hold you over during the move and the first few days you live there. Frozen pizza, milk and cereal, granola bars, water bottles, instant coffee, and some fresh fruit should do the trick.

Frozen pizza
Milk and cereal
Bottled water
Instant coffee
Granola bars
Chips or crackers

8. Keep your household essentials handy and in plain sight

Box up your essentials (everything you’d pack on an overnight trip: medication, phone chargers, your kids’ sleep essentials, etc.) and put the box in an obvious, safe place –– on the kitchen counter or table.

Hand soap placed in every bathroom
Hand towels
Sheets and pillows for the beds
Phone chargers
A few clean bath towels
Disposable cups, plates, and utensils

9. Pack an overnight bag like you were going on a short vacation

“Always be sure to pack one bag or box with important items you want to be able to access easily,” says Matthew Stewart, the Director of Sales at Movers, Not Shakers!. “This includes, passports, medicines, cell phone chargers, etc. Things you will want quick and easy access to throughout the moving process,” he adds.

Pack a bag as you would for a short vacation, with every essential item that you need for three or four days. This allows you to take your time unpacking, rather than dig through boxes in a panic to find things you need.

Few changes of clothes
Toiletries (shampoo, conditioner, body wash, fash wash, lotion)

10. Make pets comfortable with consistency

Cuddly companions are part of the family, so moving affects them, too. Pack up your pet’s belongings and put them in the same room as they were in your old house.

As they adapt to the new house, keep their routine the same. Don’t change food or swap out their blankets for clean, new ones.

Place water bowls in the same room as your previous house
Put favorite toys and blankets out for comfort
Fill kennel with familiar items

11. Explore the neighborhood beforehand

Get to know your new neighborhood to identify nearby hospitals, schools, gas stations, hardware stores and grocery stores. Like you would with a babysitter, write down the phone numbers for the local fire department, police department and hospital and stick them on the fridge.

Find the closest hospital/emergency room
Find the closest gas station
Write down phone numbers for the local fire and police department.
Scope out the nearest parks and schools
Find the closest grocery store

Move into your new house and get settled

Now that your new house is ready for you and your family, it’s time to move in. To help make your move easy and stress-free, chat with your real estate agent who knows the area like the back of their hand about any other to-dos you should tackle to make this unfamiliar place feel like home in no time.

Header Image Source: (Monkey Business Images/ Shutterstock)