The Lists Never End… and they pretty much never will! But it’s totally worth it. Buying a new house is such a big deal. You start with your list of wants and needs while you’re house-hunting. Then you have the list of requirements, documents, and papers needed to close.
Once you’ve cleared those hurdles, you’ll start creating a list of projects that need to be done around the house or yard. Home ownership is so rewarding, but it’s definitely a lot of extra responsibility.
My husband and I just bought our first house in April of 2018. It was majorly stressful right up to the last minute. But the moment we walked through the door of *our* house it was clear that all of that stress was totally worth it! It was truly the best feeling in the world.
Of course after the hype and excitement settle down, you realize how much there is to do, cleaning, unpacking, organizing. Just more lists of more things that needed to get done…
These were the 5 most important things that we wanted to take care of right away. Mostly for peace of mind but also for security and cleanliness.
1. Change the Locks
The previous homeowners are supposed to provide you with all the keys to the house. But if they have children, or neighbors with a spare, or any other family member, there may be some keys to your house lingering out there.
I’m not necessarily worried that someone will try to use them, but it gives me peace of mind to know exactly who has access to my house. Myself, my husband, and whoever we decide to give a spare to.
One of the first things we did upon move-in was schedule the locksmith.
2. Change The Security System
The homeowners apparently didn’t know the code when they moved out so they didn’t provide it. Apparently, it’s extremely difficult to change the code if you don’t have the ‘master code.’ So we ended up having to have the security company come out and change the entire box.
This Quora post gives you an idea of what it takes to update your security system. If you can get the code from the sellers, I would *highly* recommend it. If you can’t and you don’t plan on having the system replaced, I would recommend removing it ASAP.
Also, don’t forget to go around to each window or entry way and check for alarms. There were tiny window alarms that beeped when the windows were opened and they’d alert the security company. We’d made the mistake of opening a window without checking to see if the entry alarm was disabled. Luckily we were able to shut it off before it caused a problem… But imagine the trouble we’d have gone through if we didn’t make it in time! We didn’t know any of the security codes, answers to security questions, and wouldn’t be able to shut down the alert to law enforcement. We’d likely have ended up with the police at our door, frantically trying to explain that we just purchased the place!
3. Change Toilet Seats
This is just something my husband and I have always done when we moved. I mean you don’t really know the habits of the people before you. Yea sure, they can be cleaned, but it just feels better to have a brand new seat in your home!
We always grab new seats at Lowe’s or Home Depot and replace it before we use the bathroom. It’s a small thing, but it honestly, oddly, gives such peace of mind.
4. Change Toilet Paper Holders
Just like seats, it’s all about peace of mind. Plus, when you get your house cleaned (suggested below), they don’t actually clean these. And if you think about it, does anyone really clean their toilet paper holder?
These little things are likely chock full of germs… that just bugs me out. So while we make our run to Target for cleaning supplies; a new broom, toilet brushes and plungers, paper towels and toilet paper, we grab some new rolls.
If your bathroom has the dispensers attached to the walls, just get the rolling piece. You can use disinfectant to clean the wall part before replacement.
5. schedule a deep clean
This was something my husband and I hadn’t thought about because we had always lived in apartments. In the places we lived, deep cleanings automatically happened between residents.
However, when you’re buying a house, there’s typically no requirement beyond “broom clean” which is a basic sweep and light dusting. When we moved into our house, the tubs were covered in soap residue, the toilets discolored, the sinks had toothpaste drops. It was pretty gross.
We had our apartment for one more night after our closing, and my mom offered to pay for a deep cleaning as our house warming gift. I remember my husbands face when she initially offered this, it was hilarious. We both thought it was kind of a nonsensical idea but I graciously accepted. And OMG am I glad I did! The company was amazing and they were able to come on the day of our closing. They scrubbed our house until it was shiny, sparkly, and looking brand new!
I wish I had taken before and after pictures. It was that good. I was super impressed. It took them the entire day. I think they showed up around 8:30am and didn’t leave until 5pm! They scrubbed every surface, inside drawers and cabinets. They cleaned the light switches, railings, doorknobs, wiped down walls and doors, washed floors, shampooed carpets, cleaned windows. I was shocked when I found out what my mother paid. But after I felt like it was 100% worth it. I felt better being in the house. It felt like they washed away every last bit of the prior owners and we were able to start fresh.
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