Sandee Smith: ‘Must-dos’ before moving into a new place



Whether you are buying or renting, there are many tasks to complete when moving into a new home. In addition to the familiar tasks of setting-up utilities and ordering cable and Internet, these nine “must-dos” will help you optimize the process:

Change the Locks

Call the locksmith and set an appointment. You have no idea how many strangers could have keys to your new home. The locksmith will get you set up and secure and make sure all deadbolts are in good working condition.

Plug-in All Appliances

Make sure all appliances have adequate power and are working properly. If a refrigerator has been left by the previous owner or tenant, make sure it has been cleaned and is adjusted to the appropriate temperature.

Deep Clean

Even if the house looks clean on the surface, consider doing a deep clean and/or hiring professionals to do a thorough cleaning.

Test Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors

While smoke and carbon monoxide detectors should be in perfect working order, it is always a good idea to double check.

Inspect Fireplace

If you have a wood-burning fireplace, make sure the flue is clean and consider having it professionally serviced. A gas fireplace requires less maintenance, however, it is good practice to read the manual and make sure you know how to operate the system properly.

Order an Energy Audit

According to, one of the ways to make your home more energy-efficient and lower your monthly bill is to have an energy audit conducted. An audit will provide you with strategies to make your home more energy efficient (for example, adding attic insulation, installing weather-stripping on windows, and/or repairing leaks).

Update Your Insurance Policy

Whether you are renting or buying, be sure your insurance policy is updated. Review your policy carefully to ensure the coverage is adequate, and that you completely understand what is covered and what is not.

Set-up the Alarm System

According to, there are approximately 2 million home burglaries each year in the United States, and homes without security systems are up to 300 percent more likely to be burglarized. Therefore, determine your options for a home security system. If a system has already been installed by the previous owner or renter, call the provider to determine available services and costs.

Have a Fire Safety Plan

Place fire extinguishers in prominent locations throughout the house and garage, especially in areas such as the kitchen and near fireplaces. Ultimately, prepare for wildland fires by managing defensible space around your home and property, and putting together an evacuation plan.

If you need assistance finding a real estate-related professional in our area, contact the Sierra Nevada Realtors at 775-885-7200 or Sierra Nevada Realtors is the voice of real estate in Carson City and the surrounding areas. They are committed to building better communities throughout the region, and participating in the political process to protect the industry as well as private property rights.

Sandee Smith is president of the Sierra Nevada Association of Realtors and a realtor with Charles Kitchen Realty in Carson City. With more than 25 years of experience in sales, lending and home staging, her earned designations include Certified Residential Specialist, Seniors Real Estate Specialist, Accredited Buyer’s Representative, and Certified Negotiating Expert. She welcomes real estate questions and can be reached at 775-250-6672 or


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