Monday, April 23, 2018

100 Things to Do At Your New Home

A while back on a reddit post I can't find, someone asked what they should do now that they just moved to their new home.  I can't even remember if the OP got any answers but here is a list of things that everyone should do when they move to a new home/area:

  1. Switch all utilities into your name (water, gas, sewer, electric, cable, trash, etc).
  2. Send in a change of address form and ensure you change your address on all of your accounts (bank, credit card, online services, etc).
  3. Make sure your address can be seen from the street.
  4. Put your address on your mailbox but not your name.
  5. Re-key all of the locks in your home; don't forget to reprogram the garage door openers.
  6. Reinforce the front and back doors for security (longer screws in the plate, etc).
  7. Inspect every window in your home and ensure they can be securely locked.
  8. Install a security screen door over the front (and back?) doors.
  9. Determine if there is anything around the exterior of your home which could aid a burglar (trellis or tall trees which could give access to an upstairs window, anything that could be used as a "step ladder" to access windows into your home, hiding spots where someone could lay in wait for people coming home, etc).
  10. Don't forget to secure outbuildings, sheds, gate, etc. with new locks/keys.
  11. Put up "beware of dog" signs (whether you have a dog or not).
  12. Are you on city water?  What is the municipal water source and how is it's quality?
  13. Are you on a well?  Has it been tested recently (potability, flow, pressure, yield, etc)?
  14. Are you on a septic system?  Where is the tank, where is the drain field, has the tank been pumped recently?
  15. Is your home in an HOA?  If so, read the CCRs and rules of the HOA that came when you purchased the house.
  16. If you live in an HOA find out what services to expect (keys to the gym and pool, yard maintenance, etc).
  17. If you live in an HOA attend a board meeting or two to see how the place is run and by whom.
  18. Determine if your home is in a flood plain.
  19. If you live in an area subject to earthquakes or tornadoes, make sure your home has been reinforced for such an event (water heater attached to a wall, home bolted to foundation, etc).
  20. Have a discussion with your home insurance agent and ensure you have all needed coverages (jewelry rider, flood insurance, etc.).
  21. Walk through your neighborhood during a weekday a few times and notice what is happening then.
  22. Walk through your neighborhood during a weekend day a few times and notice what is happening then.
  23. Walk through your neighborhood during the evening/night a few times and notice what is happening then.
  24. Walk around your house at night.  Can you see in the windows or are the drapes/blinds sufficient to protect your privacy?  Are there nocturnal visitors (usually raccoons and other creatures) that visit your home at night?
  25. Have your home tested for radon/lead/mold/etc. if needed.
  26. Install an exterior security system.
  27. Install an interior security system (depending on how comfortable you are with this).
  28. Install a secure router for your internet services.
  29. Check all of the smoke detectors (and change batteries).
  30. Check all CO2 monitors (and change batteries).
  31. Have all chimneys and flue cleaned.
  32. Put new/newly charged fire extinguishers around the home (usually kitchen and garage/out buildings).
  33. Determine how the family will exit from each room of the house in the event of a fire (you may need to set up a ladder system of some sort if they will need to exit from second story rooms).
  34. Install hidden safes where needed.
  35. Show the whole family where the electric box, water main shut off, and gas shut off are located; make sure there are tools near each location to shut them off in an emergency.
  36. Fill the heating oil tank/propane tank if needed.
  37. Set the hot water heater to a reasonable temperature.
  38. Change furnace filters.
  39. Have the furnace/AC units serviced if needed.
  40. Spray for bugs if needed.
  41. Visually inspect the exterior and interior of your home and make note of any needed repairs (like openings to crawl spaces which could let in pests, peeling paint that should be fixed, any water leaks, etc).
  42. Determine if exterior lighting around your home is sufficient or needs to be improved.
  43. Determine if exterior fencing around your home is sufficient or needs to be improved.
  44. Write down your utility meter readings and track them for a few months to ensure accuracy.
  45. Meet your new neighbors.
  46. Ensure that any fencing (especially if it is securing your pets) is solid and escape proof.
  47. Ensure that the landscaping is in good condition both for security and safety (ie: you don't want a dead tree falling through your roof at the first storm).
  48. Have any home improvements done before you move your stuff in (ie: have painters and carpet installers do their work before you move in your valuables/gun cabinets/other stuff you don't want strangers to see).
  49. Enroll the kids in school (and determine several routes to get to the school, not counting the main route).
  50. Determine several routes to get to work, not counting the main route.
  51. Determine several routes that can be used to evacuate your neighborhood/town/city if needed.
  52. Look at your property and neighborhood on Google maps and see what is located within a 10 mile radius of your home (rivers and lakes? industrial facilities? power plant?).
  53. Determine what transit options are available in your community (city bus, national bus, water taxi, subway, Megabus, airlines, private air fields, trains, etc), and know how to use them.
  54. Walk around your neighborhood and determine where you can find alternate sources of water
  55. Walk around your neighborhood and notice any food sources (wild apple trees, ducks on a lake, etc).
  56. Walk around your neighborhood and notice anything that could be dangerous to you or your family (a pit bull next door, a neighbor's pool, a busy intersection, etc).
  57. Determine the nearest medical center, pharmacy, fire department, etc.
  58. Determine the most convenient grocery store, bank, post office, etc.
  59. Find out about local gun laws and how to get a CCL if you intend to carry.
  60. Find out what services are offered by your local county (property tax rebates, etc).
  61. Find out what services are offered by your local utility companies (free low-flow shower heads, rebates on appliances, etc).
  62. Contact your local DEM (Department of Emergency Management) and find out what kinds of disasters are common to your area (hurricanes, floods, tornadoes, earthquakes, etc) and how to prepare for them.
  63. Buy a weather radio if weather events (hurricanes, tornadoes, tsunamis) are common in your area.
  64. Make a resource list and add to it as you identify additional resources (emergency numbers, number to local pharmacy, taxi number, lawn guy, a plumber that a neighbor recommends, etc.).
  65. Determine if there is a Neighborhood Watch group, a neighborhood Facebook group, a Next Door group, etc. that you may want to join.
  66. Install programmable plug ins for lamps and the radio and have them come on a random times to make your home look occupied even if you aren't there.
  67. Put up no soliciting/no trespassing signs if needed.
  68. Purchase security door braces for patio doors and the front door.
  69. Install a peephole in the front door if there isn't one.
  70. Install a Ring doorbell.
  71. Install window security film on all lower windows.
  72. Install motion detector lights around your home.
  73. If you live in a place where power outages are common, install a hardwired (and properly vented!) generator.
  74. See what kinds of safety classes/groups are offered in your community and participate (CERT training, first aid class at the Red Cross, swimming lessons, Search and Rescue volunteer, etc).
  75. Sign up for emergency warnings in your area (via NOAA, your local DEM, etc).
  76. Set your social media accounts to follow local agencies such as the police, sheriff, DEM, hospital, mayor's office, etc.
  77. If you live in an area subject to tornadoes make a storm kit to be kept in the basement/safe room (food, water, radio, extra batteries, work gloves, hard hats, breaker bars, etc).
  78. If you live in an area subject to flooding, consider investing in a boat/canoe/kayak for both pleasure and emergency use.
  79. Make your home kid-proof and/or elderly-proof if needed.
  80. If someone in your home is elderly or ill, work with local providers to make a safety plan (install bathroom grab bars, give them a Medic Alert alarm, discuss how to stockpile emergency meds/oxygen/etc for use during an emergency.
  81. If you are military or a vet, contact your local military/vet services (DEERs office, VA, medical clinic, etc) to change your address/switch doctors, update POLST form, etc.
  82. Update all legal documents with your new info (investment accounts, driver's license, car registration, Will and Power of Attorney, etc).
  83. Find out from the locals what steps to take if you live in an extreme environment (ie: remote start and engine block heater if you live in a very cold area, wrapping pipes to keep them from bursting in the winter, etc).
  84. After your entire home is set up, create a new home inventory video/list and store if off-site for insurance purposes.
  85. Learn what to do if you live in an area prone to electrical storms (ie: invest in good surge protectors, don't shower or do dishes during a storm, unplug appliances and other electronics, etc).
  86. Find out what your local and state DEM have planned for your area (there should be documents that include threat assessments, MCI plans for your area, evacuation plans, emergency medical plans, etc).
  87. If you live in an area which is far from medical services, consider purchasing membership with the air ambulance company that services your area).
  88. Practice fire drills/lockdown drills with the family in your new home.
  89. If you have a pool, ensure the fence is secure, that it can be securely covered, that everyone in the home knows how to swim, and that you have motion sensor alarms installed around the pool.
  90. Have secure places to lock up outdoor equipment (patio table and chairs, grill, garbage cans, etc) in the event of a windstorm or tornado.
  91. Be prepared to shovel snow (or use a snow blower), remove deep snow from your roof, and de-ice stairs and walkways if you live in an area prone to winter storms.
  92. Secure anything in your home that may tip over and injure someone during and earthquake (TVs, dressers, china cabinets, etc.
  93. Create a secure safe room if needed.
  94. Keep an emergency kit and hatchet/ax in the attic if you live in an area prone to flooding.
  95. Set up an area in your home where you stockpile water, food, an emergency medical kit, camping supplies, and other emergency supplies (rotate these supplies as needed).
  96. Create a written threat assessment for your new area (list threats as well as mitigation options).
  97. Work with your kid's schools so you know their teachers, know what the school's adverse weather policy is, what the school's active shooter policy is, what the bus policy is, what the early release policy is, etc.
  98. Layout a garden/orchard/composting area/etc. as soon as possible after you move in.
  99. Determine the history of your home (Google for previous news stories/problems at your home, if the house is old check with the county or historical society for any info they have on your home, etc).
  100. Volunteer in your community; not only will you be able to help those in need but you can gain valuable information, friends, and knowledge of your new area doing this.

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