You’ve probably spent a significant amount of time searching high and low for the perfect home. Once you’ve signed on the dotted line, it’s time to enjoy your new digs and make your space your own. But before you pull up your shirt sleeves and get to work, there are some critical steps you need to take. The following are 5 duties that can prove helpful before you move into your new home.

1. Ask Your Real Estate Agent to Share Their Contacts

Your friends and family members may have some recommendations, but your trusted real estate agent is an expert in the industry and works with professionals on a day-to-day basis. Before you enlist the help of a contractor, plumber, inspector, electrician or handy man, ask your real estate agent if they will share their list of providers. When something goes wrong, you’ll have peace of mind knowing that you’re prepared to handle the problem with some trusted individuals.

2. Put Off Paining

A fresh coat of paint can brighten up your living space, but until you’ve seen where you get the most significant amount of light in each room, put off painting for a bit. Once you’ve seen your home at its dullest and sunniest moments, you’ll be able to better choose the best colors. In addition to natural light, light bulbs can also impact the color of your walls. Using the color swatches that you’ve chosen, place the sample hues in each of the rooms corners to help in your decision making. You may also opt for using faux wall paneling to completely change the feel of a room, in which case you’d hate to waste the time painting only to cover it with faux wall panels. Faux wall panels are a quick, easy update that can help to create the perfect man cave, spa-like bath, stone fireplace, wine cellar, etc. These panels can help to truly make your new home your dream home with features maybe you thought were only for the rich and famous.

3. Update Your Home’s Safety Features

To ensure your safety, you want to update important features such as your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. If your system is wired to the house, check to ensure wires are attached and in working condition. You can then change each of the systems batteries. Mark the number of detectors and change date for future reference. This is also a great time to mount fire extinguishers on each of the floors in your home. Another safety feature that protects your family and valuables is a home security system. Before you move anything in, have your dwelling wired with cameras and sound alarms.

4. Audit Your Home’s Efficiency

A simple upgrade such as additional insulation is an improvement that helps save homeowners money on future energy bills. Your local gas or electric company will be able to do a thorough audit on your home before you move in to determine your energy efficiency. They may also make cost-effective suggestions such as installing an automatic thermostat for your heating and cooling systems.

5. Plan a Housewarming Party

You’re going to want to celebrate life as a homeowner with your family, friends and neighbors. Schedule your party at least four weeks following your move. This action offers you an incentive to get on the ball and unpack your belongings and prepare your home for upcoming guests.