A year and a half after moving into our new build home here are some of the top things I think new build homeowners need to know. From apps that make decorating your new home a breeze, to why we thought shelling out for a professional snagging report was worth the pennies. Here are 4 handy things you can do before completion to make your new build instantly feel like home.
4 things to do before moving into a new build home
Download the MagicPlan App
The number 1 app I recommend for anyone moving into a new home is MagicPlan. You simply use your camera app to scan the dimensions of each room of your home and then you can drag and drop different pieces of furniture into the plan to see what fits.
Even during the build stage, I used this app to figure out which of our old furniture could fit into our new home, and dropped in the dimensions of many (many) different items I was considering purchasing in order to figure out whether they would work before buying.
This app is particularly handy for new builds as you may be restricted to a certain number of site visits before moving in. As MagicPlan saves all the details of where windows & radiators are, for example, you don’t have to go back with a tape measure to double check what will fit around those niggly bits. It’s also great for figuring out what size rug you need!
I still have a lot of fun with this app now, several months after moving in. If you’re not a visual person, seeing how all your furniture looks on a plan can help make big purchasing decisions a lot more straightforward.
PS If you want to see how we transformed our home in the first year, check out this reel.
Get your curtains and blinds ordered early
I’d say the biggest mistake I made with our new build was waiting until we had moved in to order any window coverings. Our developer had offered to let us bring curtain and blind companies to site before completion in order to measure up but as I wasn’t sure what I wanted yet I didn’t want to waste anyone’s time by making appointments. Big mistake, huge. We ended up moving into our new home during a heatwave in August 2020 and as most of the back of the house is glass it was like living in a conservatory. I thought I might cook alive. Not to mention the lack of privacy.
Once we’d moved in, I got Hillary’s and Shutterly Fabulous around as fast as I could and it was talking to them and seeing their samples that made making the decision of what to have where a lot easier. Of course, by this time we were left with a very long lead time and due to shipping delays we eventually got our blinds fitted in November!
(Side note: I highly rate Shutterly Fabulous for plantation shutters. We didn’t go with Hillary’s as they were too pricey but I did order floor to ceiling sheer curtains for our living from Att Pynta and from Hasta Home for the dining area.)
So, the lesson I am passing onto you guys is, get the curtain and blinds company in to measure up as soon as your developer will allow you. Use that time to have appointments and make decisions and get everything on order as soon as possible. If you still end up moving in before your window coverings are installed most companies will offer temporary blinds. We also found these travel black out blinds with suction cups very handy for the bedrooms.
Get a professional snagging report
If you have any kind of building or property experience this one may not be necessary. However, for us first time buyers who know nothing about new builds and prefer to let the experts take over, we really appreciated having a professional snagging report drawn up.
We used Home Snag who spent a couple of hours on completion day going through the house with a fine-tooth comb while we were still packing up boxes at our old place. The consultant looked for things we would never have thought of, getting under and behind cabinets and all sorts. We didn’t actually have many significant snags, mostly cosmetic, but having them written up in a proper report with pictures made our life a lot easier – we simply handed it over to Legal & General and they worked their way through it.
I’d get this done again in a heartbeat. I know it’s an additional cost you may not want to spend but personally I think if there is anything you can outsource to alleviate the stress of moving – do it!
Create mood boards on Canva
And finally, the most fun part of moving into a new house – mood boarding! A really fun & visual way to make decisions about your home décor is to put it on a mood board. I use an app called Canva to pull together vision boards for different areas of the house, as well as mock up how certain furniture or soft furnishings might work in our home.
There are a couple of ways you can use Canva.
Option 1: You can one of Canva’s mood board templates. You can upload images from your camera roll ( mine are mostly inspiration images I’ve saved from Instagram and Pinterest) and put together an overall vision for your home and/or individual rooms.
Option 2: What I do most often now is use a blank page on Canva and drop in images of our home together with items I want to purchase and mock up how they will look together.
Top tips for creating mood boards on Canva:
- Use the position button when layering images on top of each other to bring different ones to the front or back.
- Use the duplicate page button to create a copy of your mood board and put different options in the second one to compare.
- If you have a Canva Pro account you can use the effects buttons to remove the background on images. Alternatively, you can use remove.bg for free to cut out individual pieces of furniture from images.
Here are a few mood boards I’ve mocked up on Canva lately!
And that’s it. All my best tips for anyone who is moving into a new build. Is there anything you’d add to the list?
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