Animal Crossing: New Horizons – Isabelle & Resident Services Building upgrade guide

The Town Hall has long been the administrative centre of village life in the Animal Crossing series, and it’s been home to one of, if not the most iconic and beloved characters: Isabelle! But heading to a deserted island for Animal Crossing: New Horizons, there’s no town hall and no Isabelle, just Tom Nook in a tent.

What’s going on? How do you get Isabelle to move to your island retreat? How can this tent be turned from makeshift beachhead to a proper beacon of red tape and town management?

For this guide, we’re all about tents, buildings and Isabelle, but we’ve got plenty of other walkthroughs and tips for Animal Crossing: New Horizons, and more on the way. Visit our game hub to check those out.

The Resident Services Tent

The Resident Services tent is all things to island life when you start off. You’ve got Tom Nook there to guide your first few days on the island, a workbench with which to make your first DIY tools and items, the Nook Stop terminal for essential shopping, Nook Miles trades and banking, a recycling box, and the Nooklings are there to buy and sell wares. Best of all, it’s open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Things quickly change though, and all of those things become bigger and splinter off as your island village grows. The Nooklings set up Nook’s Cranny, for example, to sell a wider range of goods and start offering Hot Item trades and the turnip-based Stalk Market.

Eventually, the tent will become a building to offer more options for managing the island.

How to upgrade to the Resident Serivces Building

This happens automatically once you’ve completed a sequence of early tasks. You must have:

  • Had Blathers move to the island and helped him set up the Museum
  • Help the Nooklings open Nook’s Cranny
  • Build a bridge
  • Helped three new villagers move to your town*

Once all of these things have happened, Tom Nook will announce in the next daily broadcast that the Resident Services tent will close, and it will re-open in two days time.

*We are seeing other guides say that you just need three villagers in general, but the upgrade only triggered for us after all three new villagers moved in.


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The grand opening (and Isabelle!)

Two days later and the Resident Services Building is now ready, with Tom Nook proudly presenting it in his daily update. He’ll also introduce a long time friend and familiar face to the island: Isabelle is finally here!

From now on, Tom tells you, Isabelle will handle the daily broadcasts.

The Resident Services Building – what’s new?

The Resident Services Building is everything the Resident Services Tent was and more. Tom Nook is still there, but he’s stepped over to more of an infrastructure role, while Isabelle will help deal with more social matters.

You still have the recycling box in one corner and the Nook Stop terminal in the other – don’t worry about your daily bonus, you will be given 500 Miles as an apology and restored to a 7+ day bonus from here on, even if you didn’t have on before. Where’s the workbench gone, though? It’s now on the dividing table, just to the left of Tom Nook’s new area.

Tom Nook’s Counter

Toom Nook now has more things to offer you. Here’s what you can now do:

  • Home upgrades – “About my home…”
  • Move you home to a new location – “Let’s talk infrastructure.”
  • Move other residents’ homes and shops – “Let’s talk infrastructure.”
  • Set up Public Works Projects for bridges and inclines – “Let’s talk infrastructure.”
  • Demolish things! – “Let’s talk infrastructure.”
  • Hold ceremonies for project and store openings –  – “Let’s hold a ceremony!”

Oh, and there’s also a secret “Project K” that he’d like your help with, starting with setting up the Campsite.

Isabelle’s Counter

Isabelle is on hand for more of the social aspects of island life. She will help you with the following:

  • Change the island tune
  • Change the island flag
  • Discuss a resident – complain about a villager’s speech, dress and more…
  • Take an island evaluation

The last part is a five star rating of your island, with the happiness of your residents, how pretty the island is and more taken into account.

The Resident Services Building is a pretty big upgrade over the Resident Services Tent, I’m sure you’ll agree, and really helps make the island feel like the old Animal Crossing games once more.


Don’t forget to visit our Animal Crossing: New Horizons game hub for everything Animal Crossing, from news and the review to our plethora of guides.

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