14 jobs for the first 24 hours in a new home

Whether you’re buying or renting, moving into your new home can be both daunting and exciting. Many of us get so caught up in organising removal vans, shopping for new furniture and daydreaming about colour schemes that it’s easy to forget the all-important but often mundane administrative, health, safety and hygiene tasks that need doing.
But with a little forward planning and preparation, you’ll be popping the cork on that champagne bottle to celebrate in no time, knowing everything is done.

Simply follow this essential new home checklist to turn a new house into a home that feels your own.
Before completion…

It can be tricky to know the exact date you will be moving into your new home, especially when you’re buying property, but there are plenty of things you can do to get ahead of the game.

1. Set up home insurance
Homeowners will need buildings and contents insurance, and tenants are advised to take out contents insurance. You can easily do this in advance, even if it’s just getting a quote and confirming the start date nearer completion. Any policy must reflect your new address.

2. Notify utilities & service providers
Contact your existing providers (if applicable) and use this opportunity to shop around for the best gas, electric, TV, phone and broadband deals. Also remember to check your council tax band and notify your local authority that you will be the new owner or occupier. The same goes for your local water supplier.

The moment you get the keys…

The removal van has gone and you’re desperate to start unpacking, but before you do, familiarise yourself with the property and carry out a mini inspection.

3. Check keys
Make sure you have all house keys including doors, windows, any outbuildings and garages. Check that there are no cupboards or closets inside that you can’t access without the right keys too.

4. Locate supply points
Make sure you know how to turn off the water, gas and electric supply in an emergency. Locate the stop cock, internal fuse boxes, any gas and electric meters, and the boiler.

5. Find any instruction manuals
Some homes will come with built-in appliances and if you’re lucky, the previous owners may have left behind any free-standing appliances. You need to know how to use them and if there is any warranty left.

6. Inspect the house
Now that the property is empty and free of furniture, take a thorough look around for signs of damage and dampness. Problems will be easier to rectify if spotted early! Also check you have any fixtures and fittings promised by the landlord or previous owner and inspect their condition.

7. Clean the house
Give everything a once over with the duster, mop, hoover and cloth before you start unpacking your worldly goods.

8. Check smoke & carbon monoxide alarms
Locate each alarm, test and change the batteries if necessary. If you’re a tenant, your landlord is responsible for installing smoke alarms but you are responsible for checking the batteries.

9. Take meter readings
This will ensure you’re not paying for the previous occupant’s energy and water usage. Find the meters, note down the numbers and send them to the suppliers within 24 hours of moving in.

When you’ve finished unpacking…

If you still have the energy at the end of moving day, order yourself a takeaway and start working through the final list of essential tasks.

10. Check bin day
You may have a pile of rubbish to dispose of after you move in, so it’s good to know when the next collection of general waste and recycling items is due. Also check what you can recycle as it can differ from one local authority to the next.

11. Order replacement bathroom items
New toilet seats and shower curtains are definitely a good idea and fairly inexpensive items to replace.

12. Change your address
Nowadays, you can easily change your address online with many providers, from banks and insurers to the DVLA and mobile phone providers.

13. Register for local services
If you’ve moved to a new area, you’ll need to register your details with the local GP surgery and dentist and of course, register to vote.

14. Organise a locksmith
It’s good practice to change the locks as you never know who had access to the property before you.

When all the boring essentials are done, there’s just one more thing to do before you can really start to enjoy your new home and all of its possibilities – introduce yourself to the neighbours!