This blog is a direct transcript from the video below. This comes in 3 versions: You are able to watch the video, read the blog for your convenience or listen to the audio experience (which is linked under the video below).
Alright, so the time has come and you have just received notice about the move in day for your new home. There truly is no better feeling than successfully getting through the process (especially in today’s insane market). The thoughts of furniture, TV size, and endless visits to Home Goods start to fill your mind. As exciting as all that seems, there’s definitely a hint of an overwhelming amount of purchases and things to get done around the house, but before you empty the rest of your bank account, let me break down the essentials you need for your new home to keep you on track for not only your quality of life, but for you wallet as well.
Before we jump into the move in day purchases, let me take a step back to inform you that the process begins 2 or so months before you get word of a move in day. The last thing you’d want to do is pack everything up in less than a week and have zero organization to any of your belongings. If you’re looking to have a seamless moving process, be sure to check out a YouTube video I made a little while ago called 8 tips to make your move go smoother. I will link that HERE.
A lot of homeowners, especially new ones, think that everything starts when you get the keys to the home, but in reality, it starts a month or so before you move in. At this point, you want to make initial contact with your utility companies, Waste management companies, cable company, and any other subscription based service you plan on utilizing.
Why is it beneficial to begin this process early?
The two main reasons are: You aren’t waiting until the last minute and you could potentially save a lot of money. If you give yourself time to get numerous quotes for some of your utilities, it allows you to weigh the pros and cons, see what plans are best for your living situation, and of course reduce the stress of procrastinating the process.
Some of the companies you’ll want to contact are: Water and sewage providers, gas and electricity providers, internet and phone providers, healthcare providers, magazine or newspaper subscriptions, Cable provider, Insurance providers, Local banks, Lawn care companies, home security providers, and of course your place of employment. As I mentioned before, a lot of these utilities have numerous providers in the field, so it would be a great financial decision to get a few quotes before you sign the fine line.
Fast forward to move in day, you unlock the door to your new home, take a step in and begin analyzing every single inch of every room to quickly create a grocery list in your head of everything you need to even make the place livable.
Before you start calculating the endless swipes of your credit card, there’s a few things that need immediate attention or purchasing before you buy that bean bag chair that’s perfectly level with the TV on your entertainment center.
You’ll want to get to know your home a little bit first by making yourself aware of the main water shut off, circuit box, gas shut off valve, sump pump (if you have one), your septic or sewer system, along with your furnace and what furnace filter you need to purchase.
As far as other immediate purchases, your exterior door knobs and locks need to be replaced or re-keyed. As much as we’d like to think that everyone has good intentions in this world, you need to assume that someone somewhere has another set of keys to your new home, so make that a priority. That goes for your garage codes and locks as well.
Take a look at your smoke alarms, as well as your carbon monoxide detectors to see if they are still functioning properly. They are supposed to have a 10 year lifespan, but when it comes to anything in your home, don’t assume everything is working as it should unless you prove it.
Some homes don’t have these alarms in the best places, so be sure you have one on each level to maximize your safety. And before you say nothing will happen to you, that’s what every other homeowner says when they are standing in front of a news station in disbelief that their house burned down. Better safe than sorry.
On top of that, you’ll want access to an up-to-date fire extinguisher as well. Have it located in a place where fires are more prone to happen, such as the kitchen or near the fireplace. Another household item that tends to be very much overlooked until you need it is a first aid kit. Make it part of your first grocery list. One box cutter accident can definitely make you regret not getting a first aid kit.
You’ll also want to invest in a fireproof lockbox or safe to store all your valuable documents, birth certificates, vehicle titles, real estate documents, or photos. It will give you a little relief knowing that if a series of unfortunate events occurred, your most valuable items are in a safe and secure place.
It wouldn’t be move-in day without cleaning supplies. There truly is no reason to go light on these items because you’ll need them the whole duration of homeownership whether you like it or not. Don’t forget the essentials, such as: Broom and dust pan, vacuum, paper towels, cleaning rags, trash bags, Swiffer or duster, disinfectant wipes, Windex, and all purpose cleaner. Of course there’s a lot more to tack onto that list, but just understand that a deep clean of your home is a necessity before you start placing all your furniture and décor all over the house.
Jumping to kitchen supplies. If you’ve ever flipped through a kitchen catalogue or scrolled through DIY Pinterest ideas, you know there’s endless options for your kitchen, but if you’re a new homeowner trying to stay on a budget, it’s probably not the best thing to be looking at right now.
Don’t hesitate to take a drive over to Dollar General or the Dollar Tree to get the items to fill your shelves. They have plates, bowls, cups and glasses, towels, silverware, Tupperware containers, measuring cups, drying racks, seasonings and other utensils. You may want to consider investing a little money into silverware, as cheaper sets tend to be flimsy and have a metal taste to them. Same thing with pans, it would be beneficial to invest a little money into better pans so you don’t burn through their $1 ones every month.
For your living room and dining room, you’ll want to get your hands on a dining room table and chairs. You can find budget friendly options on Facebook marketplace, offer up or craigslist, but if you aren’t finding anything you want or like for the time being, there’s nothing wrong with getting a few TV trays to open up while you’re sitting on the couch until you find the one you want. You’ll of course want living room seating, blankets, pillows, side tables, and an entertainment center or TV mount.
As a new homeowner it’s very common to want to invest some money into your bedroom by putting a nice dresser or entertainment center in, TV, sound system, shelves, etc. but understand that the life you once had with all your belongings being consolidated into one room at your parents house is over. The whole house is yours, so don’t think you need to have all those things together.
If you have an additional room in your home, consider making it an office or a study of some kind where you can include a desk, office chair, computer or laptop, filing cabinet, book shelf, and an additional shelf for trophies from your high school sports team when you used to be athletic. This floorplan is oftentimes consolidated into a room before living on your own, so don’t be afraid to space all these things out, because the last thing you’d want to do is be making store visits just to buy something to fill an empty space.
As a new homeowner, the bathroom tends to be often neglected, as the realization to purchasing a shower rod and curtain, shower mats, towels, toiletries, soap/shampoo, shower caddy, garbage can, toilet brush, and plunger is never something you’ve purchased unless you spent time in a college dorm or an apartment.
Now taking a step outside, some of the essentials you’ll need are: lawn mower, rake, shovel, weed whacker, broom, garden hose, snow blower, maintenance toolkit, and a sprinkler. The list is endless for outdoor supplies, but for the most part it’s about looks rather than an immediate purchase (aside from the lawnmower of course). So you can spend a little while in your home before you start buying items you think you need, but will never use.
Then you’ll want to think if you want any smart technology in your home such as a ring doorbell, smart thermostat, motion sensing light fixtures or security cameras.
When it comes to buying a home most people have tunnel vision about how much money they are going to put down on the house along with what the closing cost total comes out to be, but they never think about all the things they want or need to buy after closing day is over.
I know I didn’t list every little thing you need to purchase when moving into your new home, so I have included a new home grocery list created by yours truly, that is linked HERE so you can stay on top of everything you need in your new home without going thousands of dollars over what you wanted to spend. This list goes over every item you should purchase for each room of the house, so do yourself a favor and download so you don’t spend more than you need to.
Andrew McManamon is a Michigan REALTOR® with Signature Sotheby’s International Realty and provides real estate services to Buyers, Sellers and Investors throughout SE Michigan including Livingston County, Oakland County, Washtenaw County, Genesee County & beyond. Andrew has become one of the rising stars of Michigan real estate agents. Prior to his real estate career Andrew was responsible for managing a senior living facility in Brighton, Michigan as a dining supervisor and an activities assistant. Andrew’s passion to help people is unlike any other, and he continues to strive to be best resource he can be. Andrew graduated from Cleary University in Howell, Michigan with a double major and currently resides in White Lake, Michigan.