Fixer-upper: $41k Victorian in Ryegate, VT
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6 Things to Do Before You Move Into an Old House

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Congratulations! You found the perfect fixer-upper that you can turn into a home. It’s important to find out if the home is safe and has passed all inspections before moving. You may also want to add some additions, like a stair lift, to your old home to make it more appealing.

Moving can be a chore. The last thing you want to do is to add more tasks to your to-do list. If you put off these tasks, it’ll make it harder to enjoy your house in the long run. Do each of these tips before moving in, and you'll be able to enjoy your home.

Change the Locks

First thing is first. If you’re moving into a fixer-upper, you need to get the locks changed. It’s important for you and your family to stay safe in your new surroundings. You don’t want the former homeowner or some other stranger with access to your front door.

Changing the locks on your exterior doors is the first task that you need to complete. As soon as closing is complete and you got the keys to your home, install new locks or have a locksmith change them out for you. Do this as soon as you move in and you'll prevent yourself from staying up and worrying late at night.

Clean the House

While most homeowners leave the house clean for you, that’s not always the case. Even if they claim they do, you'll want to clean everything down yourself. You can hire a housekeeper or cleaning service to do the work for you. If money or time is tight, you can do it yourself. When you do it yourself, you’ll feel better about moving into an old house.

Set up your area with a few cleaning tools to get the job done: brooms, buckets, mops, vacuum cleaner, and cleaning products for each type of surface. Don't forget to use a pair of rubber gloves. Wash down your kitchen cabinets, countertops, plumbing fixtures, toilet, and clean the flooring and carpeting. Taking this extra step will make you feel better about the house.

Check for Leaks

Your home inspector may have said your new home doesn’t have any leaks. But with a second check, you can give yourself greater peace of mind. Check the water meter before using the water. Wait two hours and check the water meter once again. Make sure your family doesn’t use the water during this time.

The water meter should read the same within these two hours. If it doesn’t, it means you have a leak. While you may not want to deal with it right away, this will keep you aware of the condition of your pipes. It’s easy to check your water meter when everyone’s out of the house or busy packing.

Change the Toilet Seats

This is a must if you’re moving into an old house. Changing all of the toilet seats will make your house feel like a home. It’ll prevent you from worrying about what happened to the toilet before you moved in.

Get a detachable toilet if you want greater peace of mind. No matter how many times you scrub your toilet seat hinges, you’ll feel that they’re never really clean, making for an uncomfortable situation. A detachable toilet seat allows you to remove the entire thing and clean every part.

Install Switch Places and Other Devices

Many older houses have dirt or discolored switch plates and electrical outlets. Replacing these creates uniformity in your home and makes your home feel newer and cleaner. While replacing switch places only requires a screwdriver, keep in mind that replacing electrical devices shouldn't be considered a DIY project. It’s always best to hire an electrician for these small tasks.

Have the Mechanical Equipment Cleaned and Serviced

You should get this done as soon as you purchase the house. Getting your heating and cooling system cleaned and maintained is an important part of the move-in journey. Get a service contract if your system stops working in the dead of winter, so you don’t have to worry about paying to have a technician visit your home. Ask your friends, family, or neighbors for references if you’re not sure which company to choose.

Paint the Walls and Ceilings

Sometimes this job can be more time consuming than moving process itself. You may want to hire painters to come to your home. This is also a desirable option if you never painted a house before.

If your walls and ceilings have holes and cracks in them, a new slab of paint isn’t going to do them any good. Unless you have a friend or relative who can help, save yourself time by having the professionals do it. If you're short on time or money, opt for neutral colors. This will give your home a much-needed update and make it more cohesive.

Once you get some of these tasks out of the way, it’s time to move into your home. That old house you bought will feel like a new home once you’re settled.

guest post • cc-licensed image by Michael

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