Making preparations for that first day and night in your new home

Washington Post
Published: 4/11/2017 3:44:53 PM

Moving from an apartment into your first home can be stressful. But proper planning can make the transition much smoother.

“When moving from a smaller property like a one-bedroom apartment to a larger home, worry about the necessities first and all other items last,” said Elysia Casaday, part of the Casaday Allison Group of Wydler Brothers Real Estate in Chevy Chase, Md. “Focus on the areas you’ll be living in the most. Once you’re in your new home, you’ll be able to analyze what’s needed, where and in what size.”

Some items you may need right away are extra lamps for dark rooms, said Mary Roberge, a real estate agent with McEnearney Associates in Leesburg, Va.

“Don’t forget shower curtains for each bath, with rings and rods, and the all-important bathmat so no one slips and falls,” said Roberge. “The additional toiletry essentials like shampoos and towels for each bath are often overlooked but are very comforting to have early on.”

People tend to forget some of the basic things, said Katharine Delo Gregg, a real estate agent with McEnearney Associates in Washington, D.C.

“Some things don’t cross your mind until you wake up in the morning after your first night’s sleep in your new home, like coffee and milk!” she said. “I recommend scheduling a small Peapod order with just the basics, delivered at the end of your move-in day.”

Another basic that first-time buyers often forget they will need is something to cover their windows.

“Window treatments can be a surprise cost for many buyers, especially since custom blinds can be pricey,” said Steven Centrella, a real estate agent with Redfin. “But there are many different options available at a variety of price points, once you have time to research the issue. If you can’t get blinds up before you move in, some stick-up blinds from the hardware store can be helpful to make sure your neighbors don’t get to know you too well!”

While many sellers will clean a property before settlement, D.C. regulations require only that the home transfer “broom-clean,” said Centrella. “You may want it a little cleaner before you start moving everything in, which takes time that some buyers don’t budget for,” he said.

Even if the previous owners left the home clean or you’re the first person to live in a new place, Gregg suggests that you have a broom easily accessible on moving day. “Your floors are going to be filthy after a day of movers hauling furniture in and out of your front door,” she said.

Brittany Allison, also part of the Casaday Allison Group, said a few of the absolute necessities to make you feel at home on your first day include toiletries, toilet paper, paper towels, towels and linens.

“You’ll need furniture for your master bedroom and other bedrooms, depending on the size of your family, plus some living room furniture, maybe even just a couch before you start putting the room together,” said Allison. “You need a place to eat, so even just bar stools for your island or breakfast bar are fine to start. Don’t forget to set up your cable and Internet so you’re connected on the first day.”

If you’re moving into a brand-new unit, there are some extra steps you can take before your move that will have long-lasting impact.

“Upgrade to devices that add efficiency to your home and save you money in the long term,” said Timur Loynab, a vice president of McWilliams Ballard in D.C. “Consider programmable thermostats, like Nest, and look into renewable sources of energy for power, such as solar panels and solar battery packs.”

Charilyn Wells Cowan, an associate broker with McEnearney Associates in McLean, Va., suggests that people think about which features are “infrastructure” and which are decorative and can be easily changed over time.

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