Making the move: The ultimate checklist for buying and moving into a new home

So you’ve thought about it, talked a lot about it and finally decided to move forward in putting down roots somewhere? Congrats! And with approximately 1.3 million new homes expected to be built in the US in 2018, you’ll likely have more than just a few options from which to choose.
While looking at potential homes may seem like the only fun part, taking a holistic look at what you will need to do – from start to finish – that will help make what can seem like a daunting process feel much more manageable and really, not so bad.
We know there’s a lot to think about when you’re preparing to move, so while you focus on the details around which neighborhoods you like and how many bedrooms you need, let us take on the nitty-gritty. Here’s a handy checklist covering everything we think you’ll need to consider.

The cost

Budget, budget, budget. If you set a budget from the get-go that takes into account all of the real costs associated with buying a home – and let’s just face it, there are a bunch of additional costs beyond the price of the home itself –  it will take some of the anxiety out of the buying process and help keep you from biting off more than you can chew financially.
You’ll have to budget for:
  • A down payment – it depends on what you can afford and what is advised (or even required in some cases) but usually you’re looking at about 20%.
  • Inspection costs – before signing that deposit check, it’s a good idea to pay the few hundred dollars it typically costs to ensure the home is in good condition and find out if there are any serious issues upfront.
  • Closing costs – these cover the transfer of the legal title of the property from one party to another as well as appraiser and lender expenses, often coming in at around 2-5% of the total purchase price of the home.
  • Property insurance and private mortgage insurance (PMI) – the former protects you as the homeowner from potential disasters such as a fire or theft; the latter protects the mortgage lender in the event you default on the mortgage and is typically required if more than 80% of the home purchase price is covered by the mortgage.
  • Repayment of any prepaid taxes or homeowners association (HOA) dues already paid by the seller of the home.
  • Life insurance – a life insurance policy can help protect your family if the breadwinner is no longer there to cover ongoing mortgage payments. It’s hard to think about, but it’s important to consider. 

We also recommend setting up an emergency savings account with at least six months of expenses – if you need to do any sudden but expensive repairs like replace a water heater or fix a roof leak, you won’t be pulling from your day-to-day budget.


Arrange your move

Next steps cover the logistics of the move itself:
  • Hire movers – it can be a little too easy to overpay for movers, so make sure to get quotes from a few options before picking one. Referrals from friends can often be the best bet.
  • Start packing non-essentials to get ahead – your future self will thank you when you’re not trying to figure out how to safely pack forgotten oversized serving plates or a closet full of winter coats the night before the movers come.
  • Hire a locksmith to install new locks in your new home ahead of your arrival.
  • Settle any outstanding bills related to your current property.
  • Confirm that your utilities and property insurance are in place for day one at your new home.


Who to tell

With the flurry of activity around buying and moving into your new home, it can be easy to forget – but certain people need to know where you’re headed! Below is a list of contacts to update with your new address:

  • Doctor
  • Dentist
  • Optician
  • Vet
Services and utilities
  • Water
  • Gas
  • Electricity
  • Telephone (mobile and or landline)
  • Post office for mail forwarding 
  • Cable/satellite and internet service providers
  • Banks
  • Credit card companies
  • Your employer
  • Insurance companies – that’s home, auto, life – the whole gamut!
  • Pension companies
  • Friends and relatives
  • Subscriptions
  • Sports club or gym
  • Library
  • Schools/colleges


Once you've moved in

Ongoing monthly costs will include:
  • Mortgage payments
  • Property insurance
  • Property taxes in your State 
  • Any home improvements you’ve planned
…and that should get you into a good spot! Just remember, as with any big change, it’s both scary and exciting, and it will take some time to get all the details in order. With the help of our checklist above, you can take a step-by-step approach to the home buying process and before you know it, you’ll have all those little details squared away and get to enjoy being in your new home sweet home.