1. Set up your new address

You must share new adress after you just bought a house
Zivica Kerkez / Shutterstock

The move isn’t official until you receive your first piece of mail. That means you need to tell the world about your new address.

First, notify the most important people: your friends and family. You don’t want to miss out on all those holiday cards.

But there’s a long line of organizations that need to be able to find you, including:

  • The post office: This is a good starting point. If you notify the post office of your address change, mail sent to your old address will get forwarded to your new one for 12 months. You can make the change online by filling out this form.
  • Tax agencies: Notify both your state and federal tax agencies. The IRS provides a simple online form to notify them.
  • Creditors: It’s easy to forget about them, but they won’t forget about your loan payments. You don’t want a misplaced bill dinging your credit score.
  • Utility companies: This includes gas and electric; phone, cable and internet; and others depending on your services.
  • Your employer: Drop your boss a line and let them know about the address change. Even if you’re signed up for direct deposits, you might still be mailed tax forms or other important documents.
  • Your bank and credit card company: Give them a call or check whether your financial institution’s website allows you to change your address online.

Simply add Capital One Shopping to your browser, and shop like normal. This free tool does the work for you.

Install Capital One Shopping

2. Find the right insurance

Good deal! Cheerful young man bonding to his wife while shaking hand to man sitting in front of him at the desk
G-Stock Studio / Shutterstock

You won’t be able to relax in your new house if your big investment isn’t protected.

If you don’t have homeowners’ insurance yet, or you did it quickly while processing your mortgage paperwork, make sure you find the right policy to fit your needs. You can get the best rates by shopping around; you may be able to save more than $1,000 per year by finding the lowest price on your homeowners’ insurance.

But your job doesn’t end there. Depending on where you just moved, you may need to purchase additional protection. Do you need flood coverage? What about earthquake coverage? A basic homeowners’ policy won’t cover those.

A new address could even change your car insurance rates, so take the time to shop around and make sure you’re still getting a good deal.

3. Look into a home warranty

Woman with wrench trying to fix pipes under sink
ShutterStock

Nothing takes the shine off your new home quicker than a major system or appliance breakdown. That’s why many buyers opt for a warranty — a type of protection plan that will provide discounted repair and replacement on a home’s major components.

Some homebuyers will receive a home warranty from the sellers that extends a year after the move, covering things like the HVAC, furnace, plumbing and electrical systems.

Whether you received a warranty from the seller, or purchased one yourself, make sure you review the specifics of what’s actually covered and how to file a claim.

It seems like a tricky time to get into real estate, and being a landlord isn't as passive as you think. Look at these low-stress options instead.

Read More

4. Start cleaning and painting

A man washes the ceiling using a rag. Cleaning service or activity during quarantine
Dariadd / Shutterstock

Getting a fresh coat of paint on the walls is the first step to making the space your own. And even though cleaning and painting is a chore, it can be an exciting one.

The key is to get it done before you move your belongings, if at all possible. It’s a lot faster to clean and paint an empty room.

No matter how clean the previous owners were, they’re going to leave some dirt and dust. That means your new home needs a deep clean, beginning with a good disinfecting of the kitchen and bathrooms.

One pro tip: Unlike Drake, don’t start from the bottom. Instead, clean high, then low. Fans, overhead lighting, shelving and other high features tend to be neglected. Cleaning these areas will usually lead to a mess below, so finish the job by making those floors shine.

More: If you're looking for help with cleaning, painting, furniture assembly, home repairs and more check out TaskRabbit. Use the promo code NEW10US to get $10 off your task.

5. Get to know the infrastructure

Switching an MCB (Micro Circuit Breaker) on a UK domestic electrical consumer unit or fuse box
Gary Perkin / Shutterstock

How exactly do things work in this place?

You need to learn where to find everything in your new home. If something isn’t labeled, label it, and make sure you have all the necessary documents and manuals for your appliances and home systems.

Start by familiarizing yourself with the essentials:

  • Water shut-off valve: It’s important to know how to quickly shut off your water in case a sink begins leaking — or worse.
  • Circuit box: Make sure your fuses and switches are well-labeled — or be prepared for a fun guessing game every time you blow a fuse.
  • Gas shut-off valve: You may never need to switch this off, but it’ll be critical knowledge if at some point you smell a gas leak in your home.

6. Make a maintenance plan

Man cleaning the gutter from autumn leaves
ESB Professional / Shutterstock

It’s not enough to dust, vacuum and mop. Your new home will need a lot of maintenance to run smoothly all year round. That doesn’t mean everything needs to be completed on the first day, but try to create a detailed maintenance plan, prioritizing the important things first.

Here are some items that should be on your checklist:

  • Check your dryer hose and vent at least once per year.
  • Change HVAC filters every one to three months.
  • Complete regular refrigerator maintenance as required, such as emptying ice bins and inspecting door gaskets.
  • Drain and rinse your water heater once per year.
  • Clean your gutters at least once per year.
  • If you have a fireplace, inspect and clean your chimney at least once per year.
  • Test smoke and carbon monoxide alarms monthly.

7. Introduce yourself to the neighbors

Neighbors greeting each other over fence
Altrendo Images / Shutterstock

Better to wait until the pandemic is behind us before inviting the neighborhood in for a glass of wine, but don’t be afraid to get to know your new neighbors in other ways. You can even use an app like NextDoor to keep up-to-date on events and neighborhood tips.

It’s also a good time to get to know your greater community. Find your favorite neighborhood amenities, like the closest grocery store, off-leash dog park or bus stop.

Your new neighbors could be a great resource for all your community questions.

8. Secure your essential documents

Metal lock and chain on a brown background.
Constantine Pankin / Shutterstock

Your new home will hold a lot of important things: people, possessions and documents, too.

Get a secure file box — ideally one that’s fireproof — to store all your important documentation.

This includes your birth certificate, wills, mortgage and insurance documents and anything else you need to keep safe for the long haul.

More: Looking for in-home furniture assembly and installation services? Check out TaskRabbit.

Never overpay on Amazon again

Make sure to price-check online purchases with the help of Capital One Shopping. It’s totally free to use and takes less than a minute to set up.

Last year the service saved its customers over $160 million, and with just a few clicks you can start saving, too.

Download Capital One Shopping today and stop paying more than you have to for the exact same stuff.

What's Next

About the Author

Ethan Rotberg

Ethan Rotberg

Former Reporter

Ethan Rotberg was formerly a staff reporter at MoneyWise. His background includes nearly 15 years as a writer, editor, designer and communications professional. He loves storytelling, from feature writing to narrative podcasts. His work has appeared in the Toronto Star, CPA Canada and Metro, among others.

What to Read Next

What is a mortgage?

Yes, a mortgage is a big deal, but it's probably not as complicated as you think.

Want to Earn Big Returns Without the Shaky Stock Market? Try Art

Art investment is no longer reserved for the wealthy

How to Get a Mortgage: Follow These 9 Steps

It's a lengthy, complicated process, so just keep your eyes on the prize: your new home.

With interest rates rising, should you refinance your mortgage?

The days of sub-3% loans are behind us, but a refi can still save you money in some situations.

Disclaimer

The content provided on MoneyWise is information to help users become financially literate. It is neither tax nor legal advice, is not intended to be relied upon as a forecast, research or investment advice, and is not a recommendation, offer or solicitation to buy or sell any securities or to adopt any investment strategy. Tax, investment and all other decisions should be made, as appropriate, only with guidance from a qualified professional. We make no representation or warranty of any kind, either express or implied, with respect to the data provided, the timeliness thereof, the results to be obtained by the use thereof or any other matter.