1. Change locks. Don’t assume the keys you’re holding make up the only existing set. Play it safe and have all of your locks changed.
2. Reprogram the garage door opener. Again, it’s better to be safe than sorry when it comes to security. Most remotes have a reset button, but if you need more instructions, contact the manufacturer to walk you through the steps for your make and model.
3. Locate the water shutoffs. Find the main water shutoff as well as all outside water spigots. Ask the previous homeowner if you cannot find them.
4. Locate the main circuit breaker. Check it out and make sure you fully understand the labeling. If it’s a new home and unlabeled, identify the circuits and make your own labels.
5. Test the smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors. For smoke detectors, you need one in each bedroom and on every floor. Carbon monoxide detectors are needed on each floor. Also, place a fire extinguisher on every level and learn how to use it.
6. Figure out a strategy to use if you get locked out of your home. Hide a key? Leave a copy with a neighbor? (This is a great time to meet the neighbors and exchange phone numbers.) Share the key solution with family members.
7. Establish a MyLowe’s account. You can store valuable information there, such as paint colors, room sizes, furnace filter sizes, and purchase history. Lowe’s can even send you a reminder to change the furnace filter. For more info on starting an account, go to Lowes.com.
8. Read up on your HVAC system to feel confident about using the furnace and air conditioner. No instructions? Go online to find them. Put in a new filter and keep the information in your MyLowe’s account.
9. Make a list of all your lightbulbs, and buy energy efficient replacements. Don’t forget the halogen lights! Check all outdoor fixtures, too.
10. Replace all toilet seats. Enough said.
11. Make an exit plan for emergencies. Be sure even small children know how to call 911.