1. Consider changing all the locks in the home, front door, back door, door to the garage, anything that locks your home from the outside world. You don't know who may have a key to this property: the previous owner, a boyfriend, girlfriend, son, daughter, or a maintenance guy? Who did they give access to this home while they owned it? For that, you should change every lock in the home to make sure that you and your items are safe.
2. Consider giving it a deep cleaning. This will be your first and probably last time that you will have to clean the carpets, the flooring, the baseboards, and things that get covered up by furniture. Things that get covered up by you living your life in the home. Consider spending an afternoon, or depending upon the home, a day deep-cleaning the home. If you don't have time, consider hiring a service to come in and get the job completed for you.
3. While the home is still empty, now's a good time to paint the walls and the ceilings. Make it your own. Add your own color palette or your own spin on things to cover up some of the defects in the paint or the walls. Make it look new for you.
4. Change worn accessories, such as outlet covers and switch covers. Now is a great time to make the home brand new for you.
5. Many times your realtor may have set up to get the utilities changed, but make sure that you've changed all the utilities into your name, such as water, gas, electricity, and trash services (the one a lot of people forget about). I know in my neighborhood, trash services are done through independent contractors instead of the city. Make sure that you have all of that set up and transferred to your name so that you can go on without a hiccup.
6. One thing a lot of people forget is to clean and service the HVAC filters for the air conditioning and the heating. Go ahead and pull the old ones. I know if you had a home inspection done, the inspector looked to make sure that there was a filter there. Now's a good time to pull it out, measure it, and maybe purchase one ahead of time so that whenever you do decide to change it in three months, you're not having to go look for it. Also don't forget the filters inside of a refrigerator if you have a water or ice maker and also the filter underneath the stove or in the overhead microwave. A lot of times we forget about those filters. Go ahead while you're moving in. Get everything cleaned and ready to go.
7. Now is also a great time to go ahead and consider setting up a pest service. You don't know what pest or animals may be problematic in your new area. This is a great time to call an exterminator or a pest service and say, “Hey, what's common around here? What should I be treated for?” Go ahead and set up a plan for monthly, bimonthly, or every quarter service. Just speak to a professional in the area that will know what you may encounter in your new home.
8. One thing a lot of people forget until the last minute is to change your address. Leave a forwarding address from your old place. That includes going to the DMV to change it on all your IDs and change it with everyone who needs to know: your banks, your creditors, and anyone that needs your new address. Now is a good time to sit down and get it all done as soon as you move in. This way, it has not been forgotten a month from now when you are running into issues.
9. All the paperwork that you receive from your closing should be bundled up and put in a great safe place where you can find it later. That includes not only your closing documents, but also any home warranty information that you received. Anything that you receive, such as an appraisal, or anything that you may need to find later should be put together in one nice bundle that says “Home Purchase.” That way, if you ever need that information later down the road, you know where it is and that it is all secured in one place.
10. I know you sat down before you purchased this home, you did a budget. That budget was to determine whether you could afford to live there. Now that you've moved in, prepare another budget. Start thinking about what your utilities might run here. This might not happen the day you move in, but within the first month or two, sit down, review your budget, and make sure you have everything in order the way you need it so that you can go on enjoying life and living in this dream home that you have purchased today.