10 Tips for Settling Into Your New Home
By Shannon Petrie, FrontDoor.com Published: 11/17/2009

Shortly after buying a new home, you may feel too overwhelmed with moving boxes and bubble wrap to focus on anything other than getting your stuff from point A to point B. Besides ensuring a smooth moving process, there are several other things you need to take care of as you’re getting settled into your home. While you’re unpacking, make sure you handle these post-purchase musts:

1. Fill out a change of address form. Visit the local post office or go to the United States Postal Service website to complete an official change of address form. For banks and financial companies, contact them directly to let them know you’ve moved.

2. Transfer your utilities and services. Change electricity, gas, water, cable, phone and Internet to your new address. Most utilities let you sign up for service or change your existing service online, or you can use websites that let you hook up all of your utilities online, such as WhiteFence.com.

3. Secure your home. The previous homeowner’s friends and family could have copies of your home’s keys, so call a locksmith and have all the outside door locks changed. Also, change the garage door opener codes.

4. Check safety features. Make sure the home’s smoke and carbon monoxide detectors have batteries, check the expiration dates on fire extinguishers and make sure all safety devices are in working order.

5. Get to know your home. Find the home’s main circuit breaker and make sure it’s clearly labeled so you know which breaker turns off which area. Also, find the home’s water shutoffs.

6. Map out the area. Take a drive or a walk around the neighborhood to find the nearest grocery store, gas station, bank, hospital and post office.

7. Make it your own. Create a vision for how you’d like to turn your new house into your home. You can start by making simple repairs, painting and adding decorative accessories. Read 5 Fast Ways to Make Your New House a Home for ideas. Also, get a basic set of tools and stock up on cleaning supplies.

8. Review HOA rules. We hope you already did this before you bought your home, but it never hurts to refresh your memory. Homeowners associations often have very strict rules on what changes you can and cannot make to your property, so brush up on them to avoid fines. If your community provides trash or recycling pickup, learn the schedule for these services.

9. Meet the neighbors. Your neighbors can keep an eye on your home when you’re away, so introduce yourself to establish a good rapport.

10. Relax. You’ve survived the home-buying process, so the hardest part is over. Store your closing documents in a safe place. Take a deep breath, and enjoy the feeling of being a new homeowner!

From www.FrontDoor.com