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What to Do After You Close on Your House

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Finally!  You’ve gotten through all of those loan documents, closed on your property, and got the keys to your new house… what do you do next?  Everything you own is packed into a moving van.  The old house is empty and awaiting its new residents, and you're on your way to the new place. You've got a copy of the floor plan, which is all marked up with where everything needs to go, and your copy of the mover's inventory list is tucked in the big folder right beside it. You have friends and family meeting you at the new house to help unload the truck and arrange the furniture. But what else do you need to do when you arrive at the new place? 

1. Change Locks & Program Garage Door Openers

You should always change the locks and reset any key code combinations that can be used to gain entry to the house. Garage door opener, garage key pads and alarm combinations should be changed. You never know who has an old set of keys to your new house (a previous baby sitter, construction people, lawn care people, dog sitter, etc.) You want to make sure no one unauthorized can gain entry.


2: Pest-proof Your New Home

If you have access to your new place a day or so before the moving van is scheduled to arrive, take that time to get a few things done around the new home. You could set off a bug bomb or have the exterminator come and spray. Even if you don't see any bugs, that doesn’t mean they are not there.  It will be more difficult to find and evacuate critters after all your stuff arrives. And this way, you won't have to worry about your children or your pets being exposed to harsh chemicals during the bug bombing or spraying.


3: Start Fresh

Another great way to take advantage of your still-empty abode is to give it a deep clean. It could use it, especially if you've followed the pest control advice from the previous page. Cleaning the floors, baseboards and windows will never be this easy again -- you'll have unhindered access to everything. You can wipe down all the countertops, shelves and drawers -- replacing shelf paper if necessary. Run a phantom load in the dishwasher and washing machine, clean out the oven if it needs it, and don't forget the refrigerator and freezer. Check all air filters & water filters since you never know when the last time was that they were changed.  If possible, hire a cleaning service to help you get it all done. If you aren't able to do the cleaning prior to unloading the moving van, hiring a cleaning service will be even more helpful.


4: Check Out the Local Grocery Story

Between you, your family, the movers and any friends who are helping you, someone's bound to get thirsty or hungry during the move. Why not be ready with a refrigerator full of cold beverages, sandwich supplies and other snacks? And don't forget to grab some cups, napkins paper towels and toilet paper while you're at it.


5: Inspect Your Belongings

Once everything's off the truck, check your inventory list against what's actually been delivered. Has everything made it to the new place? This is where it helps to have both the inventory list and a floor plan filled out with what goes where. You can then walk through the house, room by room, and make sure that everything has arrived safe and sound. And speaking of boxes, be sure to open a few cartons of your most breakable items to make certain they survived the move.


6: Find the Essentials and Organize as You Unpack

Unless you've hired the movers to help you unpack, don't try to unpack everything at once. Sort your carefully labeled boxes so that you only have to unpack what is absolutely necessary. This gives you the time to organize your space as you go, instead of being forced to toss things randomly into cupboards and closets. Look for towels, bed linens, toiletries and other essentials. Unpack a few clothes so that you'll have something to wear over the next few days. Find the coffee maker and your favorite mug. And don't forget to find your pet’s food and water dishes as well as a few toys.


7: Install Window Treatments

Ideally, you planned it so that the movers will be finished unloading the truck before lunchtime, leaving you plenty of time to settle in to your new home. One key part to settling in is installing window treatments. While we're not suggesting you tackle all your windows at once, do try to dress the windows in the most essential rooms. When night falls, you don't want you, your family and all of your belongings on display for every passerby to see. Of course, if you've yet to even consider your window covering needs, head for the boxes marked "linens" -- you can always tack up a sheet or two until you have time to decide on tab-tops or Roman shades.


8: Make the Beds

While you're rooting around in the linen-filled boxes, unpack enough bedding to set up beds for everyone who is actually going to be sleeping at your house. If your friends aren't staying over, don't bother with the guest rooms -- you can take time later in the week or next week to get to that. For now, concentrate on the kids' rooms and your master suite.


9: Meet the Neighbors

After a few hours of unpacking, you'll need some fresh air. Grab the kids, put the dog on a leash, and hit the street for a stroll. If you can, try to meet some neighbors while you're out for your walk around the neighborhood. The sooner you get to know the folks around you, the quicker your new place will start to feel like home


10: Enjoy a Family Meal

Moving can be tiring and stressful. So, after a long day of work, take time to unwind together. There's no need to worry about a fancy, homemade meal -- especially if you haven't managed to unpack the kitchen yet. You can drive to the nearest restaurant for takeout or order something for delivery. During dinner, you can relax and make a plan for what you want to tackle next. You might want to start unpacking the kitchen, or maybe you just want to settle down in the den with some tasty sundaes and your favorite movie. 


11: Get Some Sleep

Not to be too redundant but … moving can be tiring and stressful. So, after you've spent the day schlepping furniture and unpacking boxes, you need a good night's rest. There's no need to stay up until 2 or 3 a.m. Those boxes aren't going anywhere, and by now, you've already unpacked the essentials. By getting an adequate amount of sleep, you'll be ready and able to get started on whatever you need to do the next day, whether it be unpacking the library, hanging all the paintings or taking the day off to explore your new town.

Good luck in your new home.

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