Dream Home Finished and Ready to Occupy? Here’s How to Make Your Move as Smooth as Possible
Moving into a newly built home is exciting, and your expectation is that everything should be perfect. No one has lived there, and everything is brand new and freshly installed and painted.
What could go wrong?
Are you ready to enjoy summer breezes on the front porch of your two-story country Farmhouse-style house plan? Then get set to make your move as smoothly as possible (Plan # 109-1093).
Moving is always a bit stressful, especially with children and/or pets. And moving into a newly built house has some things to be aware of in order for all to go smoothly. To have the best experience with your newly constructed home, you may need to be vigilant prior to the move in. So before the builder walks away, make sure the home meets your expectations. Here's how.
In a newly built house, so many elements are being brought together that even an experienced, quality builder may never have had your specific elements come together in the same way. After all, you chose certain bath and kitchen fixtures, appliances, flooring, climate systems, and more that are unique in combination. It behooves you to take the time to do a final walk through inspection, to check that all is in order before moving.
Some homeowners hire a professional inspector at this point, before they do a walk-through with the builder. An inspector—a must when buying an older home—knows what to look for in the structural integrity and functionality of a brand-new home and may spot things that would have passed you by.
Most homeowners hire a professional inspector before the final walk-through with the builder to ensure that all specific elements are in order.
When you walk through the house with the builder, plan on at least an hour—and probably more. If you didn’t hire a professional inspector you may want to have someone else with you as another pair of eyes for things you may miss. The purpose of a walk-through will also be educational—for example how to work the new heating system—in addition to serving as an inspection where you create a "punch list" of outstanding unfinished items that need to be addressed by the builder. Click here for more about inspections, punch lists, and working with contractors.
A punch list is made after the home is “substantially complete:” it’s usable for living but a tile may be broken or a fixture not working right or custom element may not have arrived—these are the things that should be minor but fixable that go on a punch list.
If you decide not to hire a professional inspector for the walk-through, block in plenty of time for a thorough inspection; and have a list of items to check off as you do the walk-through.
Do not close on the property until all of the repairs are done or it is in writing that they will be fixed in a specific time frame. Some things, of course, you may decide that you can fix or live with.
Once you’re done with the final walk-through and have been given a thorough understanding of how to use the systems in your new home—the water, heating/cooling, all the warranties, etc.—it is time to plan your move.
Before You Move
Get rid of as much unwanted, old or broken items/furniture as possible. This will save you time and money—fewer items to move and unpack in your new home.
You don’t have to throw away excess furniture and other household pieces—there are charitable organizations that will accept “old” unwanted items.
Print out, write, or use an app for a moving checklist to keep track of the multiple elements you will be juggling. Click here for a helpful moving checklist.
Keep a list of each room in the new house and what specific items and furniture it should contain. You can mark this off as you go along.
Clearly label all of your boxes (using tape so you can reuse boxes again if you like). Or use color-coded stickers—green for bedroom, yellow for kitchen, and so on. And have a color or a letter designation for important boxes that you will need right away on arrival at the new house.
Pack up your bedding separately in an easy-to-find box. When you are exhausted at the end of moving day, you can make up your bed easily without hunting through piles of boxes.
Pack heavy items in smaller boxes and light items in bigger boxes—a key tip that you'll appreciate once you are lifting.
Try to go to the new house before the big day arrives if possible and place heavy-duty building paper to cover the walking paths over hardwood and carpet to avoid damage during the abuse of the move in.
Take the stress out of moving into a new home by having a plan and a checklist so you can get the most out of the experience!
Move in all of the larger items first and get them in place. You can finesse the finer decorating and smaller items later.
Have a plan for children and pets on moving day. Perhaps you can put a friend or family member in charge of the kids for a few hours.
Move any pets last if possible. Especially nervous or sensitive ones, even if they are kept isolated (which they should be), the noise and new smells of the move will be stressful for them. To avoid that, complete the move before bringing in pets, and then isolate them in one space set up just for them. Click here for more on dog and cat moving information.
Pack all valuable items separately and ideally tucked away safely in a designated location.
After Your Move
Expect that you will notice other minor things—a loose showerhead, a sticking or binding door, etc. Most things are still under warranty if it is something major.
If your move took you to an entirely new neighborhood or location, then start to get to know the area and neighbors by joining a group or association. And of course if you have kids, that naturally pulls you into the community of parents.
Give yourself time to unpack and settle in. Remember that it's a process! Enjoy your beautiful custom home and get to know it over time. You may find that in a few weeks you decide to shift furniture around to take better advantage of a great view or the light in the morning. That's part of the pleasure of a new home created just for your needs.
Savor these early days after your move and maybe take pictures so you can look back on the process once you are happily settled in your Dream Home!
Footnote: The lead image (upper) in this article is a delightful two-story, three-bedroom home with front porch, BBQ porch, and open floor plan. For details, go to: (Plan # 117-1107)