Moving tips: 5 things to do before your move

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Moving to a new residence is an exciting yet stressful time. Whether you have signed a lease on a new apartment or purchased your very first home, there are hundreds of little details that must be taken care of before and during the actual move.

It's hard to know where to start, but the folks at Zillow have made a moving checklist with moving tips that should help any tenant or homeowner feel at ease in their new place. Once the boxes are in the door, and before you start arranging the furniture, take care of these issues to make your new house feel like home.

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Moving Tip #1: Change the locks on the doors

This is a must-do moving tip for any homeowner or tenant's moving checklist. You will never know for certain who came and went into your new home before you arrived, or how many keys might still be out there, so it's better to be safe than sorry. New locks can go a long way toward making you and your family feel safe and secure in a new home. Renters, make sure to ask your landlord what the building policy is before calling a locksmith to re-key your entire place.

Even with new locks, there's no way to guarantee your home will never be broken into. Be prepared for the worst -- burglary, flooding or fire -- and make sure your homeowner's or renter's insurance is in order.

Moving Tip #2: Re-program the garage door opener

If you have covered garage parking with your new home or rental, this is also a wise move. It's just one more security measure on this moving checklist that may help create a sense of peace in your new home. After all, you don't want a former tenant having access to your garage, especially if you use it for storing more than just your car.

While every model differs to a certain degree, the bulk of garage door remotes have reset functionality. If you have a hard time resetting your remote, contact the manufacturer of your unit for help.

Moving Tip #3: Swap the furnace filter

If you're a homeowner, you've heard the rule of thumb: Furnace filters should be changed once a month during the winter because the unit is used more frequently than it is in the summer or spring. Since you can't know for sure when the last resident swapped the filter, it's a good idea to change it yourself.

If you're a renter, your landlord or building maintenance staff may be able to assist. Once you're settled, get into the habit of performing a monthly check for yourself.

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Moving Tip #4: Change the batteries in smoke alarm/carbon monoxide detectors

When relocating to a new home or apartment, making sure that all security and safety systems are functioning should be top priority. For the price of a few batteries, you will rest easier knowing that you and your family will be alerted in the event of a fire or gas leak. This is especially critical if your new living space sat unoccupied for any length of time prior to your move.

Also, take a page out of The Simple Dollar's book and make sure you know where your main circuit breaker is. In the event of an emergency, you'll want to know where to go to shut your power off or turn it back on.

Moving Tip #5: Switch the toilet seat covers

It's not an issue of safety or security, but a new toilet seat makes your new house feel like a home. Besides, who knows when the current seat was cleaned? It's safe to say the feeling of a clean bathroom is worth the $20 bucks - at least.

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    Ilyce R. Glink is an award-winning, nationally-syndicated columnist, best-selling book author and founder of Best Money Moves, an employee benefit program that helps reduce financial stress. She also owns ThinkGlink.com, where readers can find real estate and personal finance resources.