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New home checklist: what to do when you move into a new house

You’ve saved, you’ve sacrificed, and you’ve finally succeeded - congratulations, you’re the proud owner of a new home! 

The wait is finally over, and you have the house keys in your hands. 

After the months of anticipation and excitement, you may be wondering where you should focus your attention now.

But don’t worry, we’ve put together a new home checklist brimming with all of the essentials you’ll need to think about when moving into a new house.  

Let’s dive in. 

New home checklist: what to do when you move into a new house

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Plan your budget - and see it through  

They say there’s no better investment than bricks and mortar - and in the long term, owning a home can be very financially rewarding; but you’ll need to smartly manage your investment to really reap any rewards. 

And so, when’s a better time to get your finances in order than when you move house? 

You likely will have compiled details of your outgoings for your mortgage application, so it might be worthwhile creating a spreadsheet of your monthly costs with predicted figures agreed with utility suppliers. 

Things to include in your budgeting list: 

  • Utility bills 

  • Food 

  • Mobile, TV, broadband and landline costs 

  • TV licence fee payment 

  • Car payments, insurance and tax 

  • Buildings, contents, pet, life and health insurance costs 

  • Any other debts or loan payments 

  • Childcare costs 

Some people have a separate household account to pay money into each month for household expenses.

This makes monitoring what you spend each month much easier and enables you to adjust when needed. 

Get the essentials ready for your first night 

Before you wave goodbye to your old home, think about your first night at the new property, and get the essentials on your new home checklist. 

Make sure these particular items are easily accessible - and most should travel with you in your car rather than the removal truck.

Similarly, if there is anything especially valuable or fragile, it will also be a good idea to take it in your car too.  

Don’t forget cleaning products to give the house a quick once over before the removal trucks arrive. A clean house will be a happy house on your first night. 

Get the locks changed as soon as possible

There’s no way of knowing how many previous residents have keys to your property, and so, for added security, it’s a good idea to get a locksmith to change the locks when you first move it. You won’t want unwanted visitors after all.  

If you have them, be sure to also replace your window locks as you won’t know when these were last changed. It may be an additional cost, but the extra peace of mind will help to make your move in as smooth and as pleasant as possible. 

If your new property is in a communal building, enquire with the management company as to when the front door lock was last changed. The chances are it hasn’t been done recently and, with so many potential key holders, it’s important to get it updated as soon as possible. 

Get appropriate insurance cover 

To ensure the full value of your belongings is covered in case of theft or damage, you will need to have appropriate contents insurance.

From the date of exchange you’ll likely need some form of buildings insurance, and it’s very easy to forget to add a contents policy at completion of purchase so bear this in mind.

Also remember that, as you buy new things for your new home ahead of the move, you’ll need to add them to your policy alongside existing belongings so that they’re covered too. 

But it’s not just personal belongings and furniture that fall under this umbrella - be sure to take your curtains, carpets and white goods into account too.

If in doubt, you can see advice from your insurance company or broker. 

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Provide utility meter readings

On completion of purchasing your new home, take pictures of gas, electricity and water meter readings in your old and new home. 

As you will have alerted the utility companies about your move, give them a call to give them the relevant readings, or log into the online account you’ve already set up with the utility company following any email correspondence.

The latter option will save you a lot of waiting time too.  

File and retain legal paperwork 

There’s no better time to get the legalities of your life in order than when you move home.  

If this is the first home you’ve purchased, think about making a will to ensure your assets are distributed how you’d want them to be if something ever happens to you.  

And ahead of the move it will be worth filing paperwork associated with the purchase safely and securely away as it will need to be available promptly for reference when the time comes to sell the property.  

Additionally, if you undertake any renovations at the property, keep the paperwork related to these adjustments safely filed away too. 

Switch energy providers or banks

Moving home is the best time to switch energy providers as you may be able to find a better deal in your local area. Similarly, a lot of banks offer rewards for switching - so why not take advantage before you move to a new address? 

Change of address checklist

You’ll also need to make sure you update your address wherever it’s held on file, whether this be for identification purposes, with your local surgery with your local surgery or companies of which you’re a customer.  

Changing the address on your car insurance policy should be a top priority as the terms of the policy itself is partly determined by your address.

Similarly, updating the address on your driving licence and car ownership certificate (V5c) held by the DVLA is important - and it’s relatively straightforward to do online.

You could be fined up to £1,000 if you do not tell DVLA when you change address. 

Here's a checklist of services for which you will need to update your address when you move: 

  • Banks and insurers 

  • Car insurance 

  • Home insurance 

  • Life insurance 

  • Pet insurance 

  • Health insurance 

  • TV licence 

  • GP and health  

  • Council tax and electoral roll 

Purchasing a new home is undoubtedly a very exciting time, but it can also be a stressful too and you might feel like you have an insurmountable list of things to do to make sure it all goes smoothly.

Seeking advice from a financial adviser can help you make sure you’re prepared for the move and they will support you with planning for the future in your new home. 

Unbiased has 27,000 independent financial professionals across the country. Let us match you to your perfect financial adviser.  

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About the author
Kate has written for leading publications and blue chip companies over the last 20 years.