The day you move into your new home is a day few people would describe as “fun.” It’s time-consuming with all the planning, packing, moving and cleaning. Most homebuyers have a list of things they’d like to upgrade over time. While a lot of those things can be pushed off until another time, there are some that are better done before you move in. Changes to the flooring and walls, for instance, cost a lot more after you’ve moved in since you need to shift around your furniture and appliances. Better to do the smart thing and get the minor things out of the way first.

1. Flooring

Redoing the flooring is not cheap, and after the expenses of buying a home, it’s easy to understand a person’s reluctance to fork over more money so soon. But if you can foot the bill, it’s better to do it now. Redoing carpet, tiles or hardwood gets a lot more expensive when you need to move furniture. Not to mention the disruption to your daily schedule by having an entire room off limits until the work is done.

2. Painting

Same as flooring, painting is better done before you move in, no need to move anything or cover up furniture. If you’re unsure of what color to choose, go for something neutral like clean white or a pretty beige. You can always paint over it again at a later time. Allow several days for this as this type of work always takes longer than expected. Once you’ve got the major patching, priming, trim work and base coats done, getting another color scheme done later will present much less difficulty.

3. Popcorn ceilings and walls

Many old apartments tend to come with popcorn ceilings and walls. While these might have been the style before, their time has long since passed. Adding to that, popcorn ceilings often contain asbestos or other irritants so even if don’t mind the aesthetics you should still have it dealt with. This can be messy work and will require the handyman to cover all furnishings and move things around. Better to do it now before you move in and avoid the extra cost and trouble.

4. Install new locks

This is pretty standard, but a surprising number of new homeowners overlook it. It’s impossible to know how many extra keys are floating around out there for the current locks. The previous owners could have handed out spare keys to neighbors, family or workmen which could end up in the wrong hands. For peace of mind have new locks installed.

5. Get some extra closet organizers

Since the first viewing, you’ve probably already been thinking about where you’ll put what. Now that it’s time to make that reality you should start thinking about it pragmatically. Before moving day, take a tour of the apartment and note where you’ll be storing things and arranging the furniture. If there aren’t enough closets or other storage spaces, have new one’s custom fitted to accommodate everything and make moving day a lot less stressful.

6. Have all mechanical equipment cleaned and serviced

It would be wise not to assume that the previous owners got the heating and cooling systems serviced before the sale. Find a reputable contractor and have them perform a maintenance check of all the inbuilt systems in your apartment. That way you won’t have to overpay for a technician to make repairs if your heating system stops working in the depts of winter.

7. Replace batteries in smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors

Not all home inspectors check the batteries in the smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors. Even if they did, there’s still no way to know how recently they were changed. Just like changing the locks, give yourself better peace of mind and put new batteries in now.


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