Moving Checklist for the First-Time Homebuyer

Getting ready for your first big move? Here’s a moving checklist to help you on your way to homeownership.

Happy young couple laying on floor surrounded by packed moving boxes

We’ve all moved before, whether it be from our parents’ place to a college dorm room or an apartment. We’ve packed our bags, grabbed our essentials, maybe gone on a little IKEA shopping spree and hit the road without looking back.

But when it comes to moving into your very first place as a homeowner, you might actually be looking back about now. It kind of sounds tempting to move back in with mom and dad, right?

No! Resist! Homeownership is one of life’s secret pleasures. So before you pack up to feel that feeling for yourself, take a look at our checklist for moving. See the graphic below? Save it, print it out and mark off each step along the way to your very first home.

Step #1: Find a Mover

Before you lock in a moving company, the first thing you should do is research. Search online to find reviews for local movers. Find out which have the best ratings and then visit their websites.

Once you have your top companies narrowed down, it’s time to start asking questions. Get quotes and compare damage and insurance policies. Find one you trust? Share with them your moving date and lock it down.

To avoid hidden fees and other complications that come along with last-minute bookings, it’s always a good idea to lock in a moving company well before your move. To be extra careful, locking in your company six weeks prior to your moving date is a good goal, but aim for no less than two weeks.

Step #2: Start Packing

Once you get that taken care of, here comes the fun part: packing.

Why, yes, that was sarcasm. But with a good plan in place, packing doesn’t have to be as bad as everyone thinks.

Start by packing your decorative items first, that way you can put them away first and not have to worry about where they are until later. Then go room by room, marking boxes accordingly along the way to make it easier when it’s time to unpack. At the same time, start taking inventory of what you’re packing to keep; make a copy for yourself and your mover in case anything gets lost along the way. Finally, decide what you plan on donating and trashing — or hold a garage sale.

When it gets closer to moving day, pack up a bag of essentials that you might need on the first day or two in your new home — think toiletries, a few outfits and important documents. Be sure to take these documents with you; don’t leave them in boxes for the movers so they don’t get misplaced.

Step #3: Plan for Home Changes

While you’re going through all your things, it’s also a great time to consider how everything will look and fit into your new home.

Here are a few things to consider:
• Will you need new furniture to fill the space?
• Will your décor match your new home?
• Your builder will hold an “orientation” to introduce you to your new home’s systems and appliances, so where will you store manuals and other important information? Did you understand how to operate everything?
• Will you have adequate storage space?
• Will landscaping be included or will you need to provide that yourself?
No one wants to feel lost in their new home, so make double sure it’s all taken care of before move-in day.

Step #4: Prep for Moving Day

It will come before you know it! So let’s get prepared.

To make that busy day a little easier, start by developing a plan for your kids and pets. Before that day arrives, devise a plan of where they will stay or how they might help out by moving their own boxes.

Now is also the ideal time to start updating your address everywhere you can think: family and friends, banks, lenders, magazine subscriptions, cable and Internet providers, the post office … the list goes on. A month before you move, make a list of all the mail you receive and a list of bills you pay, so that you can be sure change your address with all necessary parties.

Prior to move-in day, you’ll also want to make sure all closing matters are finalized. Here are just a few to refresh your mind: final loan papers, settlement documents, title, sales contract review, insurances, tax matters, etc.

Now reward yourself by stocking up on snacks, treats and other refreshments for moving day, because it’s finally here.

Step #5: Settle In

You’ve paid the movers, unpacked, signed all the papers and are officially moved in … congratulations! You’re officially a homeowner.

Now what? Let’s settle in.

Once you’ve had the time to relax, there’s still a little more work to be done. You can start by taking a few moments to review the rules and regulations in your new community. Check and see if there’s a homeowner’s association (HOA) in the neighborhood to ensure you understand its covenants.

Then take the time to get acquainted with your new area. Explore the community, meet the neighbors and try out those amenities.

Finally, once you’ve fully had the time to relax and settle in, the last thing to do is throw a house-warming party. Welcome to homeownership! How does it feel?

Infographic of Moving Checklist for the First-Time Homebuyer

Drew Knight is a freelance writer for Builders Digital Experience (BDX). You can find him online at LinkedIn.

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