Buying Guide

New Home Checklist

Safety and Security


  • Determine where your heating system is located and whether it uses natural gas or another type of fuel.
  • Locate the emergency shutoff valve. 


  • When doing electrical inspections of any kind as part of your new house checklist, first turn off the power by switching off the circuit breaker in the main service panel. Test wires before you touch them to ensure that there is no electrical current still running through them.
  • Your home's main lever or breaker shutoff cuts off the supply of electricity to the entire house. The individual unit shutoff is found in multi-unit buildings and cuts off electricity to the separate units. Take the time to find out where the main electrical shutoff switch and circuit breaker box are located.
  • Prevent electric shocks and shortages by replacing any missing or cracked cover plates on switches or receptacles. 
  • Check for any ungrounded receptacles using an outlet tester, with the power on but all items plugged into the receptacle.
  • Add a 3-prong adapter to 2-hole receptacles and ensure that the metal tab is connected to the screw.
  • Consider moving or at least capping any receptacles placed in damp areas such as beside sinks or in an exposed area outdoors. 


  • Water can do a significant amount of damage to structures, furnishings and appliances if it pools on floors and saturates surroundings. Water can also cause electrocution if it is energized by electrical wires. Know where the shutoff valve is located and remember that the inside water shutoff also cuts off the supply to the home except for the supply of water to fire sprinklers. 

Fire Safety 

  • Locate all smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms and check their battery levels. If you are unsure of the battery levels, buy new batteries and replace the old ones.
  • If moving into a new house with existing fire extinguishers, check their expiration dates. If expired, replace immediately.
  • If buying a previously owned home, be sure to flush the dryer vent. Lint buildup can unexpectedly ignite
  • Check for any loose, damaged or scorched wall outlets and replace accordingly. Locate and inspect the circuit breaker in your home.


  • Change the locks on the doors. Consider adding additional locks to your home as well and changing out existing locks for smart door locks. 
  • Reprogram all garage door openers and remote access devices. 
  • If the previous owners used a security system, call the security company to ensure that the system has been properly deactivated. If you chose to use the same company for your security needs, make sure you are able to program your own code. 
  • If you are often out of town, consider installing security cameras, security lighting or motion detectors
  • Make sure you make multiple copies of your new keys to help prevent unwanted lockouts.
New Home Necessities
  • Before you move all of your things, clean the house (If you need to rent a cleaner, check out our list of carpet cleaners)
  • Bathroom and kitchens tend to be the dirtiest areas of a house. Be sure to load up on plenty of bathroom cleaners and kitchen cleaners
  • Don’t forget a new trash can 
  • Swap traditional energy inefficient light bulbs for eco-friendly LED and Smart light bulbs.
  • Check the caulking in the bathroom and kitchen areas. If caulking is damaged, missing, or extremely dirty, make sure you have some extra caulk on hand for repairs. 
  • Any unwanted holes in the drywall? Did you accidentally scuff the walls while moving in your furniture? Make sure to have a drywall repair kit handy for such occasions.
  • See our New Home Essentials page for more new home upgrade ideas.
Get Familiar with the Neighborhood
  • Update address on driver’s license, credit cards companies and banks. 
  • Make sure all of the utilities (water, electricity, natural gas, garbage pickup) are in your name. 
  • Know when your local garbage pickup is scheduled to make sure you don’t miss a pickup 
  • File a change of address with your local post office 
  • Locate the nearest police stations, fire stations and hospitals 
  • Get familiar with HOA regulations
  • Find out if your neighborhood has a Neighborhood Watch program and get involved 
  • Check for local recreation centers for fun activities 
  • Download the Home Depot app to find your new neighborhood Home Depot. Get to know the unique services offered at that location