10 Tips No One Tells You For Buying a House + Moving

Moving is hectic. Your life is packed up in boxes, and your mind is at full capacity. Remembering to prepare for every single thing becomes 10x more difficult, especially when no one shares all the little tips that could save you time and money while you’re buying a new house and trying to move. In honor of the life event, you will eventually, are currently, or already have embarked upon, here’s a list of 10 tips no one tells you for buying a new house and moving.

Call the utility companies–gas, electric, water–at least two weeks before your closing date and set them to change over to your name on the closing date. It’s something that, obviously, has to be done, but a lot of people don’t think about it during the moving process. Also, a great time to schedule an appointment for your internet/cable company to come out and install.

Have your realtor communicate to the sellers/sellers’ agent that you’ve already set utilities to change over to your name, so they don’t have them shut off. Otherwise, the sellers may have them shut off and cost you an extra fee to turn them back on plus the possible hassle of not being able to get them on the day you take possession of the house.

For example, our electricity company allowed us to set a date to change possession but would only allow the current owner of the house to turn off or on the electricity, meaning if the sellers had it turned off, we would have to wait until after we signed on our closing date to have it turned back on–which could easily be too late to get them turned on for the day we moved in.

If you’re getting any new furniture or appliances and want to order them beforehand, don’t forget to measure the spaces. If you don’t live close, aren’t able to do a walkthrough, or get back into the house far enough in advance, just have your realtor shoot the sellers/sellers’ agent an email to ask for measurements.

Go online to the USPS website and have your mail set to forward to your new address. It’s quick and it’s simple. Just do it while you’re thinking about it instead of risking losing some valuable piece of mail … or those awesome bills!

Update the address on any subscriptions, accounts, bills, credit cards, etc. Any place or account you can think of to call or hop online and update your address, do that, too. It’s also a good opportunity to get online and cancel some accounts or subscriptions you don’t really care to receive anymore.

Remember that everything you’re hearing is generally second or thirdhand. People’s immediate reaction is to get mad at the sellers or the buyers for whatever miscommunication or mishap is occurring, but remember the actual buyer(s) and the seller(s) almost never communicate directly during the home buying process. So, everything that’s happening is going through one or two other parties–whether that be the realtors, the bank, a repair company (for inspection items), and so on–before it actually gets back to you.

Do some research on the home and the sellers before you finalize a contract. That way you can prepare yourself ahead of time if you’re getting into any weird or obscure situation. Like, I hate to be THAT person, but a sexual predator lives next door or the house has some weird history. There are more than enough interesting situations you could possibly walk into blind if you don’t do a little research first. If you’re social enough or just end up running into a neighbor, it’s a good idea to ask them about the neighborhood, house and sellers, too.

Wear closed-toe shoes the ENTIRE time you’re packing, unpacking, and/or living in a box-filled zone. Seriously, don’t say I didn’t warn you. When we moved, I was barefoot or in flip flops 99% of the time and probably got my feet/toes smashed at least five times every hour before I gave in and started sporting tennies on the reg.

Don’t make plans for the first week or two after you’ve moved. Especially if you’re moving to an area with some friends or family, and they want to hang out as soon as you’re back; trust me, do not agree to anything yet! You’ll either end up feeling obligated to go and exhausted the whole time while your unpacked boxes are sitting at home, or you’ll end up having to back out and be the bad guy.

Change the locks. This may seem like a no-brainer, but as long as you have the keys to the house, it’s easy to put it off or not even think about it. Maybe it’s the mother in me, but not knowing who else may have a key to my house via the previous owners is very unsettling. There’s actually a simple option available now: a re-keying kit. Instead of having to purchase new locks for every door or paying someone to come out and replace your locks, it’s a much more efficient, cost-effective, and simpler option.

Published on September 6, 2015 Updated on 18 April 2022

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