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How to survive moving house

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File photoMoving day: Before you step foot in your new home, there are a few important things you should take care of

Dear Heather: We have signed off on the sales contract of our new house and met all the conditions. We have six weeks until it closes, do you have any moving tips? — Moving House

Dear Moving House: You’re finally achieving your dream of buying a house and starting to pack up your belongings. Your excitement, and that of your family, is palpable. But before you step foot in your new home, there are a few important things you should take care of:

1. Change your address

You’ll have to stop into the post office to change your address at some point. Doing it early ensures that your mail will make as smooth a transition as you do.

2. Update your contact information

Change your address online with creditors, financial institutions, schools, publications and anyone else that is important. Your change of address form from the post office will forward your mail, but going right to the source will ensure your new address is on file.

3. Tell your mailman and say “thank you”

A little consideration goes a long way when it comes to forwarding mail.

4. Change the locks

How many of us have moved into a new place and used the same locks and keys that were provided to us? You really don’t know who else has keys to your home. Changing locks ensures you’re the only person who has access. Install new deadbolts yourself or call a locksmith. If you invest in new locks, the cost is far outweighed by the peace of mind that security brings you.

5. Get the house deep-cleaned

The previous occupants probably cleaned the house or had it cleaned when they left. But is it up to your standards? Get a crew in there before you move in. It’ll be money well spent. Make sure the crew also gets inside the closets, cabinets, and drawers. You don’t want to start your new life with someone else’s crumbs and dust bunnies. This is also a good time to get any painting done.

6. Clean the carpets

More and more people have wooden floors or tile, but if there are carpets, either change them or clean them to be on the safe side.

7. Call pest control

Nothing ruins your first night in a new house like some “unwanted crawling tenants” scurrying across the floor. If you have it done whilst empty, not only can pest control make sure they check every nook and cranny, but you don’t have to worry about any fumes.

8. Research utilities

Your current providers might be the best (or only) options ... but they may not be. Deregulation in some areas means competitive rates for services that can pay off for you. Be sure to ask about any new user discounts for cable, cellphone or internet and also for bundling packages that might be available.

9. Shut off the utilities on the house you’re moving from

Sounds like a given but it’s one of the most common errors people make when moving — an error that can turn out to be costly when you’re paying double.

10. Alert your service providers

Let your gardener and anyone else that services your home regularly know you are moving early on. Details like this can be easily overlooked during a move, and giving ample notice will allow them time to try to replace the business if you’re moving out of their service area.

11. Pare down your stuff

The only thing worse than having boxes of stuff you don’t use and don’t need crowding your space is carting them from house to house. Days disappear quickly when you’re packing and preparing to move. Try to do something every day — enlist the help of family or friends. Allow time to do a garage sale or deliver unwanted items in good condition to a local charity shop. Make sure your boxes are marked by room (for the movers) and by content (for you).

12. Homeowners’ insurance

Remember to get homeowners’ insurance. It will be a requisite if you get a mortgage but can be overlooked if you didn’t need one.

13. Children and pets

It’s easier to work without children and pets underfoot, particularly as emotional and excitement levels tend to run high at this time. Book a sitter so you can use your time more efficiently with less upset to the rest of your family.

14. Truckers

Set up truckers well in advance and confirm the week before, so as to avoid disappointment.

15. Food

Get takeout or have a supply of easy-to-prepare, nutritious food and snacks. Keep mealtimes quick and simple.

Congratulations and enjoy your new home!

Heather Chilvers is among Coldwell Banker Bermuda Realty’s leading sales representatives. She has been working in real estate for 25 years. If you have a question for Heather, please contact her at hchilvers@brcl.bm or 332-1793.