Must-Have Phone Numbers for Your New Home

Moving is largely about looking back and looking forward. We make meticulous lists of everything before the move: from what has to be packed up or tossed out from the old house, to the utilities turn-off dates and the moving van’s pickup time. Likewise, we do our best to make sure that everything in the new home is ready to go so that we can seamlessly start our new life.

And an important part of that post-move plan is to be prepared. Sure, you’ll probably have a good idea of what you want to put in each room as you unpack. But what if you suddenly need a dentist? Or your son gets sick? Or a pipe bursts in your basement? Would you be prepared for any of these situations?

You should make a list of of important phone numbers before you move (or, at worst, soon after you move in), and make sure to share it and its location with everyone in your household. Here are some ideas for what numbers to put on your list.

Police department/Fire department.
If you have an emergency, you should call 911. However, it’s always helpful to have the local phone numbers of these personnel handy as well, in case you have a question about ordinances, need to report something, or need other non-emergency help.

Be sure to have the phone number of your physician in your new town (as well as the physicians for everybody else in your family) in case there’s a sudden illness and you need a same-day appointment, or if you just need some medical advice.

People don’t usually think of needing a dentist’s number right away, but if a dental disaster occurs—such as a chipped tooth—trust us, you’ll be glad you have it. If your kids have braces, make sure to have the contact info for their orthodontist as well.

Poison control.
Hopefully you won’t be one of the approximately 24 million people who call poison control each year. But with harmful chemicals common in households, it’s a good idea to have the number at the ready, just in case.

We can’t speak with our pets, but we can speak with their vets. Keep your local veterinarian’s contact information easily accessible in the event of your four-legged friend needing some expert help—especially since that possibility is enhanced as they explore their new surroundings.

New school district, new school, new friends. All reasons to have the school’s phone number readily available as you and your family adjust to a new area. The school will have your phone number in case they need to contact you; you should do the same.

Researching for a plumber can save you from a ton of headaches, especially if your new home’s in a different area of the state or country. Look at reviews online, ask around, and keep in mind the plumber’s proximity to your new home. Once you decide on one, add his or her number to your list.

Utilities company.
You likely already have the contact information for your new utility company on your new bill or service agreement. Jot it down on your list in case you have an issue such as a blackout.

This one is almost second nature for parents. Because of the important role the babysitter plays, you very well may have to plan ahead to find a reliable, trustworthy one in your new neighborhood. When you do, you don’t want to have to root around for her number.

Pizza place.
Yes, this is important, especially when you first move and may not have everything unpacked and set up at your new place (including pots, pans, or silverware). Fortunately, many restaurants send complimentary mailings to the new family on the block, so you can easily transfer the number onto your list.

Click below to get this handy list of important phone numbers, and put it on your fridge or near your phone—any place where you or anyone else in your household can easily access it at any time.

How to Be a Mindful Homeowner

Use this checklist to make sure you’re keeping up with all home and community matters, from home maintenance tips and money savers to being good to the environment and your neighbors.

Energy Savers

  • Invest in a drying rack and a clothesline so you can skip the dryer year-round.
  • Lower the temperature on your hot water heater to 120ºF, and toss a hot water heater blanket over top of it for extra insulation.
  • Replace incandescent light bulbs with CFL and LED light bulbs for a 75 percent and 85 percent energy savings, respectively.
  • Check the amount of insulation in your home, and install more where needed. Let the home’s design and the climate you live in be your guides for the proper amount.
  • Plant mature trees on the east- and west-facing sides of your home to keep it cool in the summer and to block the cold wind in the winter.

Home Improvers

  • When making home improvements, be sure to check for national and state tax benefits.
  • Improve indoor air quality by maintaining your air filtration systems and decorating your home with houseplants.
  • Make sure all home electronics have proper surge protection, and consider a smart power strip, which will cut the power to auxiliary electronics when not in use, for electronics such as your TV.
  • Clean indoor and outdoor vents of dust and obstructions on a semi-annual basis.
  • Regularly check carbon monoxide and smoke detectors to see if they are in working order, and your fire extinguisher to see if it is fully charged and free of leakage, corrosion, damage, and defects.

Community Matters

  • Make sure that you know and review your community and homeowner association (HOA) rules often. Rules are typically more applicable during the change in seasons.
  • Set boundaries with your children and pets to make sure they have good manners. Dog owners should be especially considerate of noise levels and designated bathroom spots.
  • Develop relationships with your neighbors, whether they are young, old, community locals, or new residents.
  • Be good to your neighbors by reporting suspicious activity, lending a hand with weather-related problems, or offering to help with a tedious home maintenance task.
  • Take pride in your community by helping to maintain the whole neighborhood, not just your own yard.

New to the neighborhood? Download this contact sheet to organize important phone numbers for easy access.

Stuck in the Renting Rut

If you’ve been renting an apartment for longer than you’ve had a Facebook, don’t worry—you’re not the only one. But if you’ve been teetering on the fence of buying or renting, going over the pros and cons, all whilst watching your friends settle into their own place, it might be time to say goodbye to the landlord.

It’s normal to be afraid to take the plunge into home-buying territory, but with the help of a great agent and a little research, you can determine if the time is right for you.

If you have a healthy savings account.
Perhaps the scariest part about buying a home is making the financial commitment, but if you’ve managed to save enough (and then some) to put a down payment of at least 10 percent, you should feel confident in your ability to make the purchase.

If you’re ready to commit.
Another common qualm about buying a home is the uncertainty of where you will be a year or two from now. However, if you have a steady job and are happy with the location, there’s really no reason for concern.

If the price is right.
An agent can help you determine whether or not the price you are looking to pay is reasonable for your specifications and needs in a home, but ultimately, if the market is favorable and you’ve found the right deal, there’s no better time than the present.

If you’re sick of pouring money into someone else’s pocket.
It sounds harsh, but if you’ve been renting for three, five, or even ten years, you have been spending thousands of dollars on something that doesn’t even truly belong to you when all is said and done. Sure, a mortgage is likely more than your current rent, but you’ll have a place to really call your own.

Why A Home Inspection is Essential for Home Buyers

Like anything else in life, what you see when you look at a home is not always what you get. What might look like a charming Colonial on the outside can be riddled with problems on the inside—leaving you, the buyer, with a big mess.

Luckily, there’s something that can prevent this problem from plaguing you long after the “for sale” sign comes down: a home inspection.

Home inspections are a critical piece of the home buying puzzle because not only can they help you uncover potential problems, but can help you address them in a timely and efficient manner so you can get to settling in your dream home.

General inspection

Above all else, you should have a standard inspection conducted, which checks the overall structure of the home, including the roof, electric, plumbing, and insulation—among other areas. The inspector should be able to detect any necessary repairs you may want to have the seller address before the purchase.

Radon inspection

While you should make sure the home is equipped with a radon detector, it’s also a good idea to have an inspector look for any areas of the home that may have increased levels of this colorless and odorless (but harmful) gas.

Water/sewer inspection

If the home you’re looking at purchasing has a water or septic tank, have both evaluated. Problems with water or sewage can lead to extremely costly repairs, which can be easily avoided with a simple inspection.

Quick Tips:

  • Try and be present for your home inspection. This can give insight into the process and the opportunity to ask questions on the spot.
  • Be prepared for bad news. It’s important to be realistic and understand that problems, big and small, are likely.
  • Do ask questions of the inspector, including what repairs he or she recommend before purchase, and what repairs may be able to wait until later.

Adding Value to your Home with Solar Panels

Deciding to invest in solar panels might be something you’ve considered before, but never followed through on. Debating whether the time and money are worth it can become exhausting, but given a newfound convenience and lowered cost, the choice is easier than ever before. Solar panels have become a great way to not only reduce your carbon footprint but also significantly cut costs on your electricity bill with immediate results.

Environmental Impact

Having solar panels installed is a great way to invest in an eco-friendly energy source. Solar power is extremely reliable and while there’s not an unlimited supply, it’s safe to say the Sun won’t be running out of steam any time in the near future. If you decide to install solar panels, you may also encourage your neighbors to follow suit.

Cost Effective

A lot of the time, it seems we’re forced to decide between making an environmentally conscious decision and saving money. Solar panels, however, will save you money and mother nature will thank you, too. The recent plummet of prices in the solar panel industry has turned what was once a good investment into a great one. It’s entirely possible that the cost of installing the panels is the last of the electricity bills. Many solar panel owners have a total of $0 per month for electricity, not to mention the folks in some states who are actually compensated by their electric provider for the power they contribute to the grid.

Expedited Selling Process

Solar panels let you increase your asking price right off the bat, and they’ll also help your property sell a whole lot quicker. Solar panels are becoming increasingly popular, but homes on the market with pre-installed panels are still at a premium. By putting the house on the market with the panels already installed, all of the work and headache is removed. It’s entirely possible that your home will be the only one in the area that is on the market with solar panels, a guaranteed way to drive up competition and close a deal quickly.

Numbers Breakdown

So, you may be wondering what you need to spend until the investment is worth it. Yes, the more you spend up front, the more you’ll save. Still, any sized investment is worth the effort. The national average for a solar panel system to power an entire house is 5 kilowatts. Given that each watt of solar adds about $3–4 of savings to your bill, expect to see at least a $15,000-20,000 increase in home value after the panels are installed. When going through the process of selling your house, make sure potential buyers are fully aware of the full benefits of a solar powered home.

Solar panels, whether you’re planning on selling your house within 6 months or 6 years, will undoubtedly pay dividends in the long run. If it’s a boost in your savings you need, or perhaps some more disposable income, it’s hard to turn down the profits you’ll see. Just by installing the panels and letting them do the rest of the work.