The Ultimate Moving Guide: How to Easily Transfer Your Services to Your New Home

Transferring services when relocating can be a real chore. Planning ahead of time and doing some research can help people in the middle of relocating to get their essential services transferred while saving money and reducing the amount of stress that often accompanies short and long distance moves.

Anyone who has ever moved house knows that relocation can be one of the most stressful experiences a person can have. In fact, surveys often rank moving with divorce when it comes to stress-causing experiences.

Why is moving so stressful? For many, even a move that is welcome involves displacement from one's current home, and in some cases, community. In addition, there are a lot of administrative and logistical hassles that come with moving. These include transferring services, such as cable, Internet, utilities, and mail deliveries, to your new home.

Preparing for Your Move

Before you begin changing and forwarding your services, take some time to understand the changes you need to make, research your options, and gather documentation needed to make the process go smoothly.

List Your Accounts

Make a list of all of the businesses or organizations that you work or have an account with:

1. Postal service

2. Current and recent employers, particularly if you are still owed a paycheck or have retirement accounts with them

3. Utility companies

4. Broadband Internet, Cable, Phone service

5. Mobile phone service

6. Financial services, including banks, credit card companies, and investment brokerages

7. Insurance companies (health, automobile, business, homeowner, renters)

Find Out if You Can Transfer Service

Next, begin the process of determining whether you will be able to transfer these services to your new residence. Some businesses, such as broadband providers and insurance companies, may not operate in the area to which you are moving. Many service providers have relocation services available on their websites: You can enter your new zip code to find out whether you can get service at your new home. If an online check doesn't clarify the situation, call the provider and ask a customer service representative to check for you.

There are two other considerations at this stage of relocation preparation:

1. Do you want to stick with your current service providers? Even if your cable or broadband Internet provider has a presence in your new town, you may be able to find a better deal with a competitor. Most telecom companies offer introductory specials, which could be significantly less than what you are currently paying.

2. Your building management company, homeowners association (HOA), or condo association may have pre-negotiated contracts with local providers. Check to see if this is the case.

Gather Your Documentation

Prepare a list of companies along with account numbers and contact information. While you may be able to handle most of these issues online, having the details that you need in one place can help prevent the possibility of missing an account.

One way to make sure that you have a list of all of your services and accounts is to review your monthly bank or credit card statement. You'll be able to see to whom you've been making payments regularly, and that can be a good way to double check your list. Account numbers can be found on your billing statements, as well as through online account portals.

Making the Changes

At this point, you may be pleasantly surprised to know that making changes to accounts can be very straight forward through online concierge services. Many service providers now allow you to transfer services completely online, without having to speak with a customer service representative on the phone.

The one exception to those may be canceling services. Some port service providers, particularly broadband and cable companies, require a phone conversation with a representative. In many cases, this is an attempt to get you to stay with the service, so expect a sales pitch unless the company doesn't operate in your new community.

Below is a list of common account types that require a transfer of service if you relocate:

Change of Address

One of the first things you should do is contact the United States Postal Service to arrange for mail forwarding. This helps to ensure that you get your mail. USPS prefers it if you file your change of address online, but it may also be possible to pick up a form at your local post office and arrange for a change of address there. The Postal Service also provides change of address filers with coupons and other special discounts, which many people feel are quite helpful and a good value.

If your move is a temporary one, the Postal Service has a special premium service that will gather all of your mail and send it to you weekly in one package. While there is a charge for this service, it may be a good option if you plan to return to your home within a few months.

Utility Companies

Utility companies can also provide online transfer of service options. Be aware that you may be expected to settle your final bill at this time. If you have a history of late payments, you may be expected to make a deposit on service at your new address. In most cases, you won't need to schedule a technician visit, but you may have to if the place where you are moving has been disconnected from utilities for a significant period of time. If you suspect that you may have to make additional deposits or are concerned about connections to your new home, it may be wiser to call the utility company and talk to a customer service representative.

Broadband Internet, Landline & Cable Services

Transferring Internet, cable and landline phone service those through most telecom providers, such as Comcast or Cox, can be accomplished online providing that the company serves your new community. As noted earlier, the downside to this kind of transfer is that you may not be able to take advantage of introductory offers that can be significantly less than what you are currently paying. On the other hand, setting up new service through a new provider can take time, and you may not want to be without Internet, phone, or cable service for more than a day or two.

Many broadband providers canal send you a self installation kit, eliminating the need to wait around for a technician to install your service. One thing to be aware of, however, is that self installation can be impossible if the previous occupant of your new home used a different provider. Ask your real estate agent or the current occupants of your new home for the name of their current provider. If it is different from yours, you may have to schedule a technician installation.

If you decide to cancel your service, or must cancel because your current provider doesn't operate in your new community, you'll need to make arrangements to return any equipment to the provider. In some cases, you can take the equipment personally to a retail location or the providers office. In some cases, a provider will send someone out to pick up the equipment for an additional fee, or will provide you with a postage paid label to mail the equipment back to the provider.

Keep in mind, however, that the return of equipment to providers has been a sticky issue for many people. In some cases, providers will claim that the equipment was not returned and bill you for it. If you are returning equipment to the company directly or through a courier service, make sure that you get a receipt and that the receipt shows every item that you have returned. If you are mailing the equipment back, take a picture of the mailing label and tracking number. You can then track the return of the equipment online through the delivery service.

Mobile Phone

Most mobile phone companies, such as Verizon or T-Mobile, operate throughout the United States. As a result, you will likely only have to change your address to continue your service. However, if you find that your company doesn't offer good coverage in your new area, you may need to switch companies. Again, this is something that you can do online, but you may wish to speak to a customer service agent if you owe your current provider for past due billing or a phone or device that you have not yet fully paid for.

Subscription Services

If you subscribe to magazines or newspapers, you'll want to contact the publishers as soon as possible. This is because it can take a while for their systems to update address records. Again, online options are usually best, but it is possible to update via phone or even postal mail.

If you participate in subscription box promotions, you'll want to update your information or even pause deliveries until your are settled in your new home. Keep in mind that packages are often not forwarded as regular mail is, which means you could lose money on an undeliverable package.

Banking & Financial Products

Ensure that your banks, brokerages and insurance providers have your updated information. It may not be possible for you to make these changes online, or at least entirely online, due to security concerns. This may require a speaking to a bank representative, brokerage representative or insurance agent personally or over the phone to update your information.

Moving is a challenge, but you can make it easier on yourself by beginning the transfer process at least one month before your move. Make lists, ensure that you have necessary information and try to schedule your transfers so that you don't feel overwhelmed.

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