FIVE ESSENTIALS WHEN MOVING INTO A NEW HOME

1. Change the locks. Take control over who has access to your home. Install them yourself at a cost of about ten dollars per lock, or have a locksmith handle it for you. Most will charge around $30 per lock for the installation.

2. Steam-clean the carpets If you’re not replacing your flooring outright, then you should be deep-cleaning your floors before you move your things inside. Anyone can rent a quality steam-cleaner for about $30 per day, or, if you’re not up to the task yourself, you can hire a professional cleaning service to do it for you at the cost of about $50 per room.

3. Clean the cabinets. Again, this is a must-do before you move in. Use a non-toxic cleaner to wipe them inside and out. Replace the contact paper.

4. Check for plumbing leaks. Yes, this should have been done during the inspection process, but buying a home will almost always give you a few surprises. Look for signs of leakage in faucets and toilets. Test the shower. Now is a good time to replace that nasty shower head. Cycle the softener and run the hot water, watching for signs of leakage in the water heater. Look at the gauge on your water meter and then check it again after two hours of NOT running any water. If the gauge says something other than what you saw before, you have a leak somewhere. Also, now is a good time to trip your sump pump and see that it is properly working.

5. Get to know your fuse/circuit box intimately. Now is the time to identify and label what each of your breakers controls. You’ll need a friend or a loved one to help you with this step. While you trip the fuse, they can tell you what it shut off. Also, find out where your main water valve is and make sure it’s not frozen open by rust or corrosion. You won’t want to find this out during an emergency situation.