Checklist: What to Do After Moving Into a Newly Bought Home

Addressing security issues, utilities, address changes, and more.

Use the below as a handy checklist of what to take care of and who to notify after you've moved into a new home.

1. Add safety gates and secure pets.
When you get to your new place, your first step should be to secure it. If you have infants or toddlers, setting up safety gates is a must—you won't have time to watch them near stairs and doorways, and you don't want them underfoot while you're moving large furniture. Also, find a safe place for your pets to stay while the house is being unpacked. You don't want them to escape in a strange neighborhood (and possibly hoof it back to your old house)!

2. Set up utilities.
If you haven't done so already, contact utility providers in your new location and arrange for service at your new home or a transfer of the existing services into your name. These may include gas, electric, cable, DSL, phone, water, and garbage.

3. Switch schools.
Check with your children's new school about what records and transcripts they'll need. Arrange for transfer of the records—the current school may be able to send them directly.

4. Change your address.
Get a change-of-address kit from the post office, and have your mail forwarded to your new address. But beware—there may be a lag time of days or weeks before your forwarded mail starts arriving, and come people complain that the post office is inconsistent about actually forwarding the mail.

As soon as you can, send change-of-address notices to any friend, organization, or business from which you receive mail. Make sure you change your mailing address with every company from which you receive a bill (or risk a ding on your credit report when you don't pay within 30 days). Don't forget to change your mailing address for your accounts at online stores. Many organizations now allow you to change your address on the phone or online, and email is a good way to give your family and friends your new address.

And if you're not a U.S. citizen, failing to advise U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services about your new address could lead to your deportation.

5. Update your insurance.
Talk to your insurance providers (such as auto, life, health, and home) about new rates and procedures in your new location. You'll for sure need to change your homeowners' policy. You may be able to keep other existing insurance (for example, vehicle insurance and health insurance), depending on how far away from your past home you moved. If you're moving to a better neighborhood, your car insurance rates may go down!

6. Close and open safe deposit boxes.

Pick up your valuables and close your safe deposit box. When you transfer your bank account, open a new safe deposit box and deposit your valuables, such as the home ownership documents.

7. Transfer deliveries and subscriptions.
These might include newspapers, newsletters, magazines (don't forget nonprofit newsletters and alumni magazines), or even your favorite catalogs, and, for some, diapers and laundry.

8. Transfer memberships.
Transfer (or cancel and start anew) any memberships in health or sports clubs and local religious or civic organizations.

9. Obtain medical records.
If you're moving far enough away to switch doctors, get copies of your medical records, X-rays, and prescription histories. You have a right to these records. If you have an ongoing medical condition, line up new doctors in advance.

10. Deal with car permits and licensing.

If your new neighborhood requires a permit in order to park on the street, put in your application quickly, before you start racking up fines. And if you've moved to a new state, delaying in getting a new driver’s license and plates could lead to penalties.

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