Moving into a new house? Here are 5 things you should have 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.

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 Detectors

Did you know the average life expectancy of a smoke detector 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. 

Replace them now and you know they were last replaced when you moved in. UPDATE: Many states have been passing stronger smoke alarm laws and as of 4/1/2019 New York state requires that when a home is sold the seller upgrade the smoke alarms to a hardwired system or to sealed, 10 year battery smoke 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. 

Approximate total cost: $140

Carbon Monoxide Detector

The NFPA recommends Carbon Monoxide detectors 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 detectors with regards to the battery tester.

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.