Moving In: A Checklist

Moving into a house is a big job, but with some planning, the process of creating a new home can be made easier and less stressful.


    • Re-read the home inspection report before closing.
    • Schedule repair work as needed. Prioritize the work to be completed. Some jobs are ideally done in vacant homes--schedule those for the time just before you move in.
    • Select and schedule contractors and subcontractors early. Most good companies have busy schedules.
    • Coordinate work for maximum efficiency. For example, electrical wiring is best done before plaster repair and painting. Have the ducts cleaned after the dirty jobs are finished.

  • Below is a list of project which are ideally completed in an empty house:

    • Removal of old furnaces and chimneys, and the installation of a new heating system
    • Asbestos removal
    • Electrical and plumbing work
    • New phone lines as needed
    • Demolition and remodeling work
    • Security system installation
    • Plaster repair and interior painting
    • Fumigation for fleas
    • Remodeling of an only bathroom
    • Hardwood floor refinishing (allow a minimum of 4-7 days drying time)
    • New floor coverings and carpet cleaning
    • Furnace servicing and duct cleaning
    • Re-keying of all the locks; addition of deadbolts, alarm systems and other security devices

    • All purpose (ABC) fire extinguisher for every floor or wing of the house + one "automotive type" extinguisher for the garage.
    • Flashlights, utility candles and matches.
    • Extra 9 volt batteries for the smoke detector and extra flashlight batteries.
    • Furnace filters. Be sure the check the correct size for your furnace. If your furnace uses disposable filters, buy a whole box.
    • Light bulbs of various shapes and sizes, and fuses (if your house uses them).
    • Smoke detectors.
    • Carbon Monoxide detector - a good idea in homes with gas or propane.
    • A crescent wrench for emergency gas shutoffs.
    • A good quality home improvement encyclopedia. Please see George's Pics for the Handy Homeowner in the Bookstore.

  • My father, Max Guttmann, was definitely not a superstitious person. But, at about 11:00 p.m. on the day my wife, my daughter, and I moved into our first home in Seattle, my dad called to find out if we had "bread and salt" in the house.

    Let me explain. My parents came from Czechoslovakia - The Czech Republic. It seems that in that part of the world, one had to have some bread and salt in a home for good luck! This seems to be of special importance when you move into a home, or are welcoming special guests.

    My protests had no impact on my father. While it might have been okay for my wife and I to spend the first night in a home without bread and salt, it was not possible for his granddaughter. And so, about 20 minutes later, my father drove up to the house. In his pajamas, he handed us a nice loaf of crusty bread (it must be good bread) and some salt.

  • If the 12 year old water heater dies just as you are about to take your shower and rest for a bit--DON'T PANIC! Remember, this is one of those times when the laws of nature dictate that something must go wrong! However, just remember that there are people available to answer your questions and help you solve those problems. Take some time to get some good information. Don't rush into repair contracts uninformed.

    See also Topics: A Field Guide to Bad Home Repair and Remodeling Contracts