Moving This Year? Here's How to Keep Your New Home Safe

Moving into a new home is exciting, but dealing with safety concerns can ruin the experience. Keep your new home safe and secure with these expert tips.

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So you’ve followed the steps to buying a house and worked your way through the moving checklist. You’ve packed the boxes, prepared the kids for the chaos, and passed along the keys to your old place. Your new home—whether it’s brand new or just new to you—is just about perfect, but it also comes with some safety concerns you may not have been expecting.

In the rush of making an offer and selling your old place, some of the less-pleasant realities of moving into a new home may fade into the background, especially if the new house needs a few coats of paint or some new carpeting to feel fully yours. But a new home comes with new risks, especially if it’s been empty for a while, and addressing those risks head-on can make your first weeks and months in your home safe and secure.

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Kerron Stokes, a Colorado-based realtor with RE/MAX Leaders, has some tips for anyone in a new house to follow as soon as possible. With these steps at the top of your home safety checklist, you can rest easy in your new home (even if it does have a few unfamiliar noises at night).

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Change the locks

The home’s sellers may have passed their keys along to you, but they might have given spare keys to neighbors, relatives, or friends and forgotten about them. By updating the locks and any key codes, you can be sure that you know exactly who is coming and going from your property.

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Trim the landscaping

“Consider installing gravel near low-to-the-ground windows as noise protection, should someone sneak up to your home,” Stokes says. He also suggests trimming any bushes or trees that block windows or access points to your home, so entrances are always visible (and so you can see any attempts at forced entry.)

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Install a home security system

Options for modern home security systems range from cameras you monitor to service-supported alarms that will call the police for you, so you can pick whatever will work for you and your family. Focus on the features that matter most: A doorbell camera may be more helpful than a smart lock on the front door if you’re more worried about porch pirates than the kids forgetting their keys.

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Greet the neighbors

“With all the activity of previous owners moving out and you moving in, the neighbors may not think twice about strangers in or near your home,” Stokes says.

When you have a second, stop by for a friendly chat and let them know who you are and if you have kids or pets. It’s the neighborly thing to do, and it means there’s a second set of eyes on your home should anything suspicious happen.

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Update smoke and carbon monoxide detectors

Check that the alarms are functioning; replace the batteries on a day that’s memorable to you (such as daylight savings) to make a habit out of checking them regularly. If there’s no carbon monoxide detector, consider purchasing one. If anyone in the household has allergies, asthma, or other conditions that can be affected by air quality, look for an air quality monitor, as well.

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Check the dryer vent

“Laundry rooms are the leading cause of fire and water damage in U.S. homes,” Stokes says. “When moving into your home, check the end point of the dryer vent where the hot air is released outside. Make sure the vent opens to let the air out and that it’s not clogged with dryer lint.”

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