Moving Into a New House? Here Are 5 Things To Get Done Yesterday


You will be very busy as your move-in day approaches so it will be easy to procrastinate on projects. These 5 items all directly impact the safety of the people living in your new home. Make sure to cross them off your new house checklist as soon as possible. I’ve provided some amazon links (where applicable) to make the next step a little easier.

Change The Locks.

Change the locks. Period.

It’s easy to be complacent about this. Don’t be. There are a lot of weirdos out there. You will never know if the previous homeowner gave a key to their 2nd cousin’s ex-felon boyfriend to feed the cat while they were away.

Make this call a few days before you close on the house and schedule the locksmith to show up the day you move in. It’s a little more expensive to have a locksmith do a house call, but it’s a whole lot easier than bringing the lock-sets to them.

Pro Tip: Get all the locks keyed to the same key.

Approximate Cost: $175 for a house call and $10-15 per lock. About $220 total

Smoke Alarms

Did you know the average life expectancy of a smoke alarm is only 10 years?

Even if you are a really diligent homeowner that tests all your smoke alarms on a regular schedule, you are only testing the battery sensor. Not the smoke sensor. 

Many states have been passing stronger smoke alarm laws and as of 4/1/2019 New York state only sells 10 year battery smoke alarms(or hardwired alarms)

The National Fire Protection Association(NFPA) provides best practices on where to place smoke detectors in your home that is worth checking out. As a general rule a 3 bedroom home with two floors and a basement should have at least 7 detectors but follow the NFPA guidelines for your specific home.

Head over to Amazon and get them delivered to your doorstep. Be sure to purchase photoelectric smoke alarms, they are more effective than their ionizing counterparts.

Approximate total cost: $140

Carbon Monoxide Alarm

The NFPA recommends Carbon Monoxide alarms be installed at least one per floor and be placed near bedrooms on floors with them. CO detectors have a life expectancy of 5-7 years before they stop detecting CO and face the same issue as smoke alarms with regards to the battery tester.

You may also want to invest in a low level CO detector. These are pricey but detect much lower levels of CO that can still be unsafe over long periods of time. Levels of CO that are not detected by a standard CO alarm.

Approximate total cost: $60

Fire Extinguisher

Often overlooked but a fire extinguisher is an instrumental tool for a safe home. Put it in a common space and make sure everyone in the house knows where it is and how to operate it.

Approximate total cost: $40

Pool Alarm

If you bought a house with a pool and have small children go get yourself a pool alarm

Approximate total cost: $50

That covers five of the most important safety items to purchase that you should have at your disposal the first night you sleep in your new home.