Between the excitement of closing on your new home, packing up your things, and coordinating moving services, it may not have occurred to you to make a checklist for after you’ve moved in. Moving time can be a stressful time for you and your family, which is why it’s important to consider post-move-in duties, too. Here are six things to do after moving in.
Regardless of whether your home was pre-owned or is new construction, it’s always a good idea to give it a good cleaning before moving your things in. The previous owners may or may not have cleaned it thoroughly, and newly-built homes can have dust and dirt buildup. Wipe down flat surfaces (including walls) and pay special attention to the kitchen, bathroom, and interiors of major appliances. Even more dirt will have been tracked in while walking back and forth with boxes, so leave vacuuming for the end of the day when your items are out of the truck.
Reapint, if Desired
Repainting your new home before you’re totally settled in is optional and a personal choice. If you absolutely cannot stand the current color of your walls, the window after moving in is a good opportunity to start fresh with updated paint. When there are fewer items to move, the process will be less time consuming. It may also help you save time if you hire painters since they can get to work faster.
Secure Your Home
Now that you have the keys to your home, it’s a wise move to change the exterior locks in your home. If your house has been owned before, someone may still have working keys to your home, which can be potentially dangerous. Changing your locks will ensure only people you know and trust have access to your home. While you’re at it, find time to make a copy or two of your key so you always have a spare if needed. If your home has an existing security system in place, be sure to set it up with a new passcode and tailor it to your preferences. It’s also an optimal time to have a system installed if your home didn’t come with one.
Update Your Address
In all the craziness of your move, it’s all too easy to forget about updating your address. You should have ideally taken care of home insurance and utility transfers a few weeks before beginning your move, but those aren’t the only places where your address is on record. If you haven’t already, you’ll need to update your address on your driver’s license and vehicle registration. Each state varies in terms of how soon you need to submit an address change after moving, so be sure to refer to your state’s official DMV site for specific information. Other areas where you may have forgotten to update include subscription services, life and auto insurance, and your child’s school forms. Fortunately, most companies and organizations will allow you to submit changes online or using a printout form.
You probably have tons of boxes that need to be taken into your new house, but you definitely don’t need to unpack everything in one go. Instead, focus on getting out the essentials, such as your bed, table and chairs, clothes, and basic dinnerware. Once you have the fundamental things out of the way, you can focus on unpacking other pieces of furniture and lastly, smaller personal items. Make it easier on yourself when you’re doing the initial packing by labeling boxes and ensuring whatever you want to be unloaded first is loaded last into the moving container. It’s important to set a realistic goal for unpacking everything, too. The average amount of time to unpack from a move is about 180 days, but this will vary depending on how many possessions you have. Setting a time frame to be totally unpacked will motivate you and will prevent you from still having unopened boxes months or even years later.
Get to Know Your Neighbors
No matter where you moved to or what kind of new home you have, you should always make a point to get to know your neighbors. Opening yourself up to new people helps you build friendships and reliable allies in your community. Your neighbors are also a good resource for local insight and advice. Being on good terms with your neighbors will make your transition easier and set you up for long-term stability.
Move-in day is a time for fresh starts and new beginnings, and it’s important to start life in your new home on the right foot. By remembering these “smaller” details when you’re moving in, you won’t have to worry about them becoming larger issues once you’re all settled.
If you have questions about becoming a homeowner, contact one of our licensed Mortgage Loan Originators. If you’re ready to begin the home buying process, click here to get started!
Many people dream of having a great, spacious home, but a bigger house isn’t always better. In fact, having a smaller home can be more practical and economical. If you’re ready to move into a cozier space, here’s our guide to downsizing your home.
Prioritize your Goals
Homeowners may downsize their homes for a variety of reasons, whether it’s to save money, have less upkeep, reduce debt, or improve accessibility. Your new home shouldn’t just have less square footage—it should help you achieve your new lifestyle goals. Knowing what features you do and don’t want in your next home will ensure you’re not wasting your time looking at properties that don’t meet your needs. Be sure to work with a reliable real estate agent early on to help find the right home for you.
Think Beyond Size
Downsizing is more than the size of the house itself—there are other elements you need to consider. For example, if you’re downsizing due to age and decreased mobility, look for a home little to no steps. If you anticipate aging in place, seek out homes with wider hallways and features that can easily be adapted for a wheelchair. Keep the lot size and its characteristics in mind, too. Yards that are large, very sloped, or surrounded with trees and shrubbery likely mean more yardwork for you. A condo or townhome can be better fit than a single-family home if you’re aiming to minimize maintenance tasks. You should also think about how important it is to you to be close to certain people and places.
Getting rid of unnecessary items is always a good practice when preparing to move, and it’s even more essential if you’re moving to a smaller home. Space is a luxury in a smaller house, so you need to make some difficult decisions about what stays and what goes. You can sell, donate, give away, or recycle whatever you don’t need anymore. Photos and documents can be digitized, saving tons of physical space. If it seems overwhelming to declutter everything, try going through one room or targeting one category (i.e., clothes, furniture, books) at a time. Begin decluttering and purging as soon as possible, as it can often be time-consuming and will expediate the moving process once you find a new home. Allowing yourself three months to reduce your belongings is a good starting point, though you may need more than that depending on the size of your home and how many things you have. Letting go of your possessions is emotionally challenging, but it’s important to be honest with yourself and only keep items that make you happy and will fit with the lifestyle you want to build in your new home.
Saving money is one of the benefits of downsizing, as smaller properties tend to be less expensive and usually have lower utility bills. Still, smaller doesn’t always mean cheaper. Even if the listing price is lower than that of larger homes, you could be dealing with expensive HOA fees, condo fees, or higher property taxes if the home is in a desirable area. If you’re looking at a house that need upkeep, make sure you have the funds to pay for repairs (or look into a renovation loan). You need to be able to afford to live in the home, not just buy it. You can use a home affordability calculator to estimate your expenses. Work with your real estate agent and loan originator to find a home and loan program you can manage.
Downsizing your home doesn’t have to mean giving up comfort—you may be surprised at how much happier you are in a smaller setup. Although the process of shrinking your life can be challenging, living in a smaller home means you can focus on what matters to you.
If you have questions about the homebuying process, contact one of our licensed Mortgage Loan Originators. If you are ready to begin the home buying process, click here to get started!
After the frenzy of your move has faded, you may feel a longing for your old home. Homesickness isn’t limited to something only children experience—you can miss home at any age, no matter how far away your new address is. Whether you’ve recently relocated for a new job, a more rural lifestyle, or are after a fresh start, here are some ways you can combat homesickness.
It’s totally normal to feel anxious living in an unfamiliar area, but you can lessen those fears by embracing the novelty of being somewhere new! Take the time to explore and get familiar with the area. Try out different restaurants, do touristy activities, visit nearby parks, seek out local hidden gems—you’re sure to discover your new favorite hangout or go-to lunch spot! Finding something to love about your ZIP code will help your homesickness fade much quicker. Have fun with it and spend a day or weekend to get to know your home.
Make Yourself at Home
Living somewhere else can make you feel out-of-place initially, so it’s important to reestablish your daily routines. Try using the opportunity of starting over to begin better habits. Unpacking can be as much as a chore as boxing everything up, and depending on your schedule and motivation level, the move-in process can drag on and on. When your house is filled with unpacked items, it can feel more like a temporary destination than your home. While it can be tempting to procrastinate and leave boxes around for months on end, try setting a target date to get everything unpacked. This will encourage you to be proactive in getting everything settled. When your belongings have a place in your new home, it will make the atmosphere more familiar and comforting. Additionally, consider doing some gardening or giving parts of your home a mini makeover to personalize your space. Even repainting a room can make your home feel more “you.”
Make New Friends
Following a move, don’t neglect the need to expand or build your social network. Not having anyone to lean one can exacerbate homesickness, so avoid isolating yourself too much. Even if you’re fortunate enough to already have connections close by, it’s healthy to develop relationships as you adjust to your city or town. Now, you might be stumped at where to start finding friends, but there are various ways you can meet new people: go to local events, join a club dedicated to one of your interests, start volunteering somewhere, or get to know your neighbors. If you have school-aged children, you’ll be in a good position to befriend fellow parents. There are even apps and meetup sites that organize networking events and outings. Depending on the safety conditions of your area, some get-togethers may need to be virtual, but you can still have a good time meeting some fresh faces.
But Keep the Old
Feeling homesick isn’t just about missing a physical structure, it’s also about missing the people who made you feel at home. Don’t let distance prevent you from maintaining your treasured relationships—schedule a phone call or a video conference with your loved ones to keep in touch. Texting or even live gaming can help bridge the gap, too. Sometimes you just need to hear the voice of your favorite people to encourage you as you make a new life for yourself. Connecting with old friends can comfort you when you feel alone, just be sure you’re branching out to make new ones, as well.
Most people try to prepare themselves for the logistic and financial challenges of relocating, but they don’t always account for the emotional toll moving can cause. Feeling homesick can make it difficult to adjust to your new home, but it will pass with time. When you work to build community and great memories in your new location, you’ll find that home is a state of mind.
If you have any questions about the home buying process, contact one of our licensed Mortgage Loan Originators. If you are ready to begin the home buying process, click here to get started!