Moving In? Make These Home Improvements First

home improvements you can make before moving in
Bridget and Alan Kolb purchased their home in Mooresville, N.C. because of its proximity to the race shops of NASCAR (their favorite hobby) and because of its beautiful lakefront views. Inside, though, the place needed significant home improvements. The Kolbs decided to tackle the home improvements before moving in, to reduce the inconvenience of living within a renovation zone.

It often makes sense to complete home improvements before moving in. Here are some home improvements that are particularly important to take care of before move-in day.

1. Replace exterior locks

No matter how amicable the transfer of ownership was for your home, you should always change the locks as soon as you close on the property and before moving in. You never know who might have a spare key and it just isn't worth taking the risk. If the locksets are of high quality, you might simply hire a locksmith to re-key them. If they aren't, new sets can be found at Home Depot or Lowe's and and are very easy to install yourself before you move in.

2. Improve bathrooms and kitchens

The Kolbs didn't want to remodel their kitchen and baths, but they did want to update them before moving in, so they swapped out their dated Corian countertops with beautiful new quartz counters, new sinks and new faucets. Doing these home improvements before moving in allows the remodeling mess to be out before all your furnishings move in. It also saves you the inconvenience of having no running water while upgrades are made.

3. Remove old wallpaper

While not a difficult job to complete, it is an extremely messy home improvement, and a much easier task if completed before moving in. Whether you choose to rent a steamer or use a wallpaper removal product, you will have less to worry about if the rooms are empty.

4. Paint

This home improvement is strongly recommend to be done before you move in. Painting can always be done after moving in, but just like wallpaper removal, is much easier without children, pets, furniture or boxes in the way.

5. Replace flooring

If your carpet, vinyl or tile floors are in bad shape, you should try to replace them before you move in. It is certainly possible to do this after, but you will be able to negotiate a better price with the flooring company if they don't have the hassle of moving furniture around in order to complete the installation.

6. Install closet systems

Now that your walls and closets are freshly painted, think about installing closet organizing systems to make the most efficient use of available space. You can take this on as a do-it-yourself project or hire a professional closet-organizing company such as Closets by Design or California Closets. Improving your storage before moving in will make unpacking less stressful.

7. Childproof

More than 8,100 children under the age of 14 are injured at home every day. Before moving in and putting them at risk, check out the guidelines at to find childproofing tips for all ages.

8. Paint garage floor

Painting the garage floor will help reduce staining and improve its wear. It is easy to do before moving in, but proper preparations can be time-consuming. You can choose from a variety of epoxy paints designed specifically for garage floors and which come in several colors and finishes.

9. Create storage in garage

Just as it's easier to organize your closets before unpacking, the same holds true for the garage. An organizing system can be as simple as purchasing some heavy duty shelving, or you can have a garage organization company come out and create a garage that will be the envy of the neighborhood.

10. Refinish wood floors

This is the last interior project you want to do before moving in. After all your other home improvements are completed, let the sanding begin! It is important to allow enough drying time for several coats of polyurethane, to make sure that your refinished floors stay looking like new for years to come. Drying time will vary, depending upon the humidity, but you should let the finish cure at least two days after applying a water-based polyurethane, and up to a week if using an oil-based product, before moving in your furniture. Your refinishing professional can advise you on the correct length of time for your specific situation.

Because Bridget and Alan got these tasks done before moving in, they were able to transition into their new home without the inconvenience of living among the renovations. Shortly after their move-in they were completely settled and able to focus on enjoying their beautiful new home.

Barbara Green is The Design Diva and owner of Sensibly Chic Interior Design. Follow her on Twitter @thedesigndiva.


Want to learn more about home buying and home finance? If so, you won't want to miss
our online discussion with industry experts,
"What Works Now: Smart Moves When Buying a Home,"
created by AOL Real Estate in participation with Bank of America Home Loans.

Watch it now on AOL Real Estate.
Read Full Story

Find a home

Powered by Zillow