First Day Checks
Safety First! Seriously… READ THIS and ACT..
Does each room and the hallways have smoke detectors? If yes, test every one. Do not assume they work, even if your survey said they did.
If there aren’t enough smoke detectors, go straight out and buy them. Do not hesitate, do not delay, just get it done. Safety First!
Good advice from the London Fire Brigade can be found here: London Fire Brigade Safety Advice
Same applies to Carbon monoxide detectors. You need one of these where there is any appliance which burns liquid or solid fuel. This includes gas cookers, fireplaces, gas boilers. Always have a detector in each of these locations.
You can read great advice about Carbon Monoxide, detectors and safety here: Which? guide to Carbon Monoxide Detectors
Arrange a locksmith in advance, or have new lock barrels ready if you can fit them yourself and get those locks changed! It is rare that a seller would ever try and re-enter a property after selling however it’s best to have peace of mind. You’ve spent alot of money on your new home, you should protect it.
More likely is that the previous owner may have given keys out to relatives, cleaners, workmen and who knows else! Some of them may not have been informed of their move and well, you wouldn’t want the cousin who’s been away travelling for a year walking through the front door at dinner time to see you all and get a shock (yes this has really happened!).
While you are having door locks changed, check the property throughout to see if the window locks are adequate. If some are loose or ill fitting have them corrected. Any windows without locks should be fitted with them immediately. Do you have children? If so ensure width restrictors and other safety devices are fitted now.
Before you move in ask where the meters are (they can we well hidden, especially in blocks of flats). Make a note of the readings for Electricity, Gas (if the property has gas) and Water (if there is a water meter).
Water companies have the right to convert properties that don’t have a water meter and switch them over to water meters when a new occupier arrives. Check if they will be doing this and if the meter is new, take a note of the reading.
It’s also helpful to take a picture on your smartphone or digital camera, in case you lose the readings or have a dispute with the utility companies.
If you followed the advice and called BT before you moved, you should contact them and ensure your line is now connected immediately. You can always switch to a Cable or Satellite provider like SKY or Virgin Media. Either way you will need that BT line to be in place first.
When You Have Moved In
Go back to your spreadsheet that lists all the companies and services you informed your new move to. Some of those will have left details with you, that if you want to use them again when you have moved you will need to call back.
Call any services that requested you do so on leaving your property – for example Gas, Electric and Water companies who will want to be notified of final readings.
Introduce yourself to a neighbour, or two. Whether you are in a flat or a house, the neighbours will likely be wondering who is moving in. Although London can be a City where neighbours rarely know each other and community spirit is not always residents first priority, most neighbours are lovely people.
Through saying hello to those either side of you, you can put them at ease that you are a nice new neighbour and get some quick tips on practical items aswell as an insiders guide to the building/ street/ local area. Easiest way to introduce yourself is to knock on their door, say you are new and ask which day the council collect the rubbish! Or perhaps where the local newsagent or supermarket is.. it’s that easy.
In the first few weeks when you may have more questions these neighbours could prove invaluable. It’s also true that when you have met someone they are often more respectful. This means they will turn the stereo down if you ask them, won’t leave their car in front of your driveway and will be more courteous in general. Of course they may turn out to be great new friends!
Walk around the local streets as much as possible. Locate all the key services: supermarket, 24hr shop, dry cleaners, post office, locate bus stops, train and underground stations.
Go into local shops like newsagents and ask them about their opening hours. Then mention you have just moved to the area: it’s a great way to get them talking and give you advice about the area.
Well Done – you’ve completed the process and can enjoy your new home! Give yourself some praise – it has all been worth it !