If you’ve just bought a new home, or you’re changing rentals, congratulations! A new house is a wonderful opportunity to change up your decor, and swap out old, tired furniture for exciting new pieces. Before you jump into your redesign, however, there’s a few housekeeping must-dos. Hold on to that list of new paints, wallpapers and kitchen fittings and make sure you complete these all-important tasks.

First, make sure you change the locks. You don’t know how many previous tenants or owners may have a key to the current lock, and with burglars stealing an average $2,251 on each raid, avoiding the relatively small charge for a locksmith to replace your locks just isn’t worth the risk.

Whether it’s a brand-new home or a historical character cottage, take the opportunity to get an exterminator in to check for pests. This should especially be the case if you’re moving to a humid climate, such as Puerto Rico or San Juan. Pest control San Juan have a long history in the industry, and can not only rid you of your unwanted guests but offer advice on stopping any future infestations. The same goes for other urban areas – look for providers with good online reviews and a proven track record. An empty house is a good opportunity to take care of insects, rodents and other pests lurking under the floorboards or between the walls, giving you a fresh start in your new home.

Start things off on the right foot in your new home and give everything a thorough clean. Like pest control, this is best done in an empty house. You’ll be able to see every spot on the floor and scuff on the wall, and it may be harder to reach areas of your home once you’ve filled it with your belongings. It’s also a good time to polish, buff or seal floors that need it.

Next, you should change all the filters. This includes aeration filters in kitchen and bathroom spigots, air filters in heating and air conditioning units and the vent over the stove. Sediments, dust and other particles can accumulate in filters over the years, which can affect water pressure and is a health and fire hazard.

Checking the smoke detectors can save your life. A house fire is twice as likely to be fatal in a home without working smoke alarms, so start things off right and test all the detectors in your home. If you don’t feel like there’s enough to satisfy your peace of mind, then install more as soon as you can.

Make sure you update your legal details as soon as possible. This includes government services, like your driver’s licence, car registration and voter registration, and private companies, like banks, insurance agents and lawyers. You don’t want to miss an all-important bill and get a late payment, or have financially and personally sensitive information sent to strangers living in your former home.

Finally, take the opportunity to update your contact information to friends and family. Send out a mass email or even a postcard with a photo of your new home and details. It’s a great way to touch base with a lot of people and keep acquaintances in the loop with the goings-on in your life.

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