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

Addressing security issues, utilities, address changes, and more after a house move.

By , J.D.

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

1. Add safety gates and secure pets.
Your first step should be to secure your new place. 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 might include gas, electric, cable, DSL, phone, water, and garbage. Hopefully the seller won't have turned them off, but it's not an unknown eventuality.

3. Switch schools.
Check with your children's new school about what records and transcripts they'll need, and arrange for transfer of the records.

4. Change your address.
Contact the U.S. Postal Service to advise it of your new address, and to have your mail forwarded to your new one. You won't be allowed to do this more than 30 days prior to the forwarding start date, or more than three months from after it. Also, beware—people complain that the post office often takes a few weeks to start forwarding, and is inconsistent about actually doing so.

As soon as you can, also notify any friend, organization, or business from which you receive snail 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).

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 might 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 could 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 your new homeownership 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 service.

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, arrange for transfer 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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