Planning to move into a new home? While you’re already juggling the tasks of moving your belongings, setting up utilities, and generally settling into your new space, there’s also one important item to check off your to-do list: notifying the right people and organizations about your change of address.
Here’s your essential change of address checklist to help make your transition to a new home much easier.
The U.S. Postal Service is the very first party you should notify regarding your move. Why should this be the first item on your change of address checklist? Notifying the post office will ensure any mail that’s sent to your old place is forwarded to your new one for one year. It’s easy to update your address online and set the switch for a specific start date.
All you must do is fill out essential information like who’s moving, your old address, and your new address, as well as identifying whether the move is temporary or permanent. To prevent fraud, the USPS charges a nominal $1.10 fee to verify your identity.
If you wish to update your address in person, you can head to the post office and pick up a Mover’s Guide packet. The packet includes a change of address form and coupons for nearby moving-related services. You should complete your change of address at least a week before you move if you’re submitting online and at least a few weeks in advance if you’re doing it in person or via mail — just another reason to put this one at the top of your list.
The second party on the change of address checklist is just as important as the first — you need to notify tax agencies immediately regarding your move. Start by notifying the IRS over the phone or sending a written statement with your personal information and your new address. You also have the option of changing it on your next tax return.
It’s best to ask your tax preparer which method of notifying tax agencies is best for you. You should also notify state tax agencies of your change of address. This can usually be handled online, but at the very least, you can download the forms you need to complete and send to the appropriate agency.
Moving to a new state? One of the first things you should do is change your address on your driver’s license and vehicle registration. The process varies from state to state, so stop by your nearest DMV office or find your state’s relevant website online for instructions.
No one wants to move in the dark. As soon as you know your new address and the day you’re moving, reach out to the applicable gas and electric companies to inform them of your move. You shouldn’t risk a day or more without heating, air conditioning, or electricity. If you currently have utilities in your own name for your current property, arrange for shutoff to occur at the end of moving day and for service to start at your new location the day before you move in, just in case.
If you plan on using a phone, cable, or internet in your new home, call these services and determine whether you need to terminate them with your current provider or if they can transfer their services to your new home. Often, if you’re moving to a new state or away from your current providers’ service areas, your Realtor or property manager can assist by providing accurate information regarding local providers that service your new home.
Discover what utilities you’ll be responsible for at your new home before moving in — it may be all of them, or it could be a select few like water and sewer or garbage and recycling. Your Realtor or property manager can help you determine what utilities you’re responsible for and direct you to the applicable companies to start service before you move in.
If you currently own a home, you’ll need to reach out to your homeowners insurance provider to request a transfer of policy. If you’re moving into your first home, find a reputable homeowners insurance provider and sign up for a policy that begins on your move-in day. While you have your provider on the phone, make sure to ask if your belongings are covered during the moving process. If they aren’t, it might be wise to invest in moving insurance for your peace of mind.
Regardless of whether you’re paid by direct deposit or not, you’ll still want to notify your employer (if applicable) of your change of address. Many employers still send pay stubs, tax forms, and other collateral in the mail, and it all needs to go to the right place. Notifying your employer of a change of address can also assist with contacting loved ones in case of an emergency.
You need to make sure any outstanding loan providers are notified about your move. You can do this several ways, such as by going to the loan provider’s website and updating your address. You can also call them directly. For homeowners with a Sallie Mae or Freddie Mac loan, you can take care of the process online by logging into the online portal and editing your address.
If you have any form of insurance, including car, dental, health, life, or even pet insurance, you need to reach out to each provider to update your address. While most providers will offer options to get this done online, you can always visit your closest local branch or reach out to customer service over the phone.
Keep in mind that your insurance rates — particularly your car insurance — can increase or decrease based on your new address and the driving conditions in that area. While it may seem easy — and may appear to save you money — to skip this step, it could turn out to be a costly mistake. Failure to report a change of address can often cause claims to be denied, and you could even face possible fraud charges for the mistake.
If you receive Social Security benefits, your change of address checklist is only complete once you’ve notified the agency of your move. You can do this online by logging into your SSA account, clicking on your profile, and following the link to “Update Contact Information.” You could also do this over the phone by calling the SSA at (800) 772-1213.
Doctors, dentists, veterinarians, and other local service providers need to know about your change of address. By notifying these parties early, you can ensure you get reminders for appointments, special events, and other news through the mail.
Even the simplest of moves can be overwhelming — there’s a lot that goes into a successful move, aside from packing, transporting, and doing some heavy lifting. You also need to follow this change of address checklist to make sure all relevant parties know you’ll be living in a new location. If you have questions, ask your agent for tips or chat with friends who have moved recently. And don’t forget to tell your friends, either — otherwise, they won’t know where to show up for the house-warming.
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