The keys to your new house rest in your hands. First of all, congratulations buying a new house! You’re probably itching to move in, start putting dishes away and generally make the place feel like it’s truly yours. However, you’ll benefit from slowing down. Take the time – maybe a month or so – to prepare your house before you move in. This might be the last time your new home is completely empty. Use this opportunity to do some deep cleaning and perfect prepping before you and your family occupy the house. Here are 7 steps to preparing your house for a successful move-in.

1. Change the Locks

The realtor, former homeowners and you all have keys to this house. That doesn’t necessarily mean one of them will use the keys to get in, but changing the locks will grant you some peace of mind. Call a locksmith to swap out all of the locks in the house, including the back door and garage entrance. Choose deadbolts for each of these doors. Once that minor repair is done, you and your family will be the only ones with keys to your new home.

2. Clean Everything Well

Right now there are no furniture pieces to vacuum under or toys to pick up. Before you move into your new home, clean it top to bottom. You can do this yourself or hire a cleaning company. If you do it yourself, create a station with all of your cleaning supplies. Don’t forget to scrub the baseboards and clear dust from the cabinets. Once you put your dishes away, you most likely won’t remove them to clean that back corner. Clean your appliances, including the stove, oven, refrigerator and freezer. Run a phantom load in the dishwasher to clean it out. Replace the cabinet paper if need be. When you – or the cleaners – are done, your new home should be sparkling.

3. Paint the Interior Walls

Pick your paint colors before you move into your new house so that you can get that out of the way. Right now, there are no pictures to remove from the walls or furniture to scoot out of the way. Give every room – and the ceilings – a fresh coat of paint in your chosen color. Lay out painter sheets so that the floor doesn’t get dripped on. Repair any damage to the walls or ceiling before you paint. This may include cracks, chips, holes and more. Hire professionals, as they can mend walls and paint quickly.

4. Install a Home Security System

Install your home security systems before you move in so that you’ll spend your first night in the new place knowing you’re safe. You should have a motion sensor on every entry point, including windows. Furthermore, be sure you have a smoke detector and carbon monoxide detector. The former should be present on every level of your home so that the alarm can be heard no matter where you are. Accidents can happen in the first few days of living in your home, so don’t move in unprepared.

5. Set Up Wiring

Decide where you’ll place tech items, such as your home computer or television. Once you’ve made up your mind, set up wiring. Your hanging flat-screen TV will need the proper wires, as will your Internet modem. Take care of the cables before you move in so that installing your gadgets will be easy. Call the Internet or cable company to come install wires if the home isn’t already connected to their network. Chances are, they will have to come set things up for you.

6. Organize Your Closets

Purchase and install closet-organizing systems. Having them in place when you move in will make unpacking go much smoother. Don’t just look at the bedrooms. Hall and storage closets will also benefit from extra shelves or baskets. Consider adding a set of hooks for your coats or racks for shoes. Think about how you want to store your objects and how you interact with your home on a daily basis.

7. Service Mechanical Equipment

Call on neighbors to find out what local companies are reliable, then have your temperature equipment serviced. The furnace, air conditioning and water heater should all be working properly and efficiently. You don’t want to settle in on moving day just do discover the water heater is leaking. Get the fireplace cleaned if your new home has one.

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