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Avoiding Post-Move Pitfalls: What to Tackle First

Your spouse arrives home one day with the news that he or she has been offered a job transfer. The opportunity is too good to pass up, and within a short period, you're headed across the country to begin a new life in a new city. You barely have time to select a new home, let alone consider where you're going to enroll your child in preschool. Which school would be best for your child? Which one is closest to your new home? You figure you'll explore your options after you move into your new home.

Unfortunately, plumbing problems greet you when you arrive in your "new" residence, and you're tied up for a couple of days. When you finally make some phone calls, locate the preschool and head there for registration, you're asked to produce your child's medical records. In which box were those packed? By the time you head home, find the records and return to the school, what are your chances of landing your child in the preschool of your choice?

Moving into a new residence is one of the most exciting events in anyone's life, particularly if you're a first-time homebuyer. The amount of preparations required to successfully pull off a move is exhausting. When you're moving, you're so busy during the period leading up to the move that you're likely to give no thought to what needs to be done just as soon as the boxes hit the floor in your new home. Unpacking just might be the least of your priorities 'and yet, it's what we tackle first because we want life to resume some sense of normalcy.

If you've got school-aged children, enroll your children in their new schools before you even move, if you can help it. Registration can be a stressful event, and it will take a load off your mind as well as your children's to know that arrangements have been made for the school year. If you're planning on enrolling your children in school after you arrive in your new home, pack their medical records in a safe, accessible place so you won't have to search your entire home top to bottom to locate them.

Another thing you should do well before you move is to fill out a change of address form. Otherwise, you're going to have some unhappy creditors slapping you with late charges; when, in fact, your bills either failed to make it to your new home, or the buyers of your old home decided to forward them to you three weeks after they arrived. Your local post office makes it extremely easy to change your address. You'll want to fill out a change of address card approximately one month in advance of your move, in order to allow time for the transition to take place. If you wait until the last minute, you'll experience a "lag time" for the receipt of your mail.

Relocating families who don't plan ahead often find themselves without phone service for the first couple of days or more after their arrival. You wouldn't dream of forgetting to arrange for your utilities to connected, so don't forget the phone 'unless you plan to rely on a cell phone for a couple of days. If you're particularly organized, you can arrange for the "perks" such as newspaper delivery and cable television prior to your arrival. Many cities and metropolitan areas have local Web sites on the Internet that inform newcomers about local service providers.

Another chore you'll have to complete immediately upon your arrival is the transition of your driver's license and auto registration, which will change if you're moving to a different state. While you're at it, change your voter's registration, as well; depending upon your city, you may be able to modify your voter's registration at the local department of motor vehicles, enabling you to kill three birds with one stone, so to speak.

For security reasons more than aesthetic ones, find adequate window coverings immediately upon your arrival. They don't have to look as if they belong in the pages of House Beautiful; you just need something temporary that will give you privacy and prevent a prospective burglar from checking out what your home has to offer. Speaking of security, have the locks throughout your home changed immediately. You have no idea if the previous owners distributed copies of your house key.

You'll also want to organize all paperwork related to your new home. In the event of any unforeseen problems with your home, you may need to consult your insurance information or warranty documents. And when tax time comes, you'll be glad you kept an organized file of your paperwork.

Unless you're expecting guests soon upon your arrival, don't sweat the decorative details of your new digs until you've taken care of such critical responsibilities as these. You'll have as much time as you want to arrange the furniture and accessorize your home, but checklist items such as registration, change of address and most important, safety, can't wait.

About the Author
Since 1989 dan the roommate man has helped 1000's of people find roommates. Need help? Contact him at 800-487-8050 or

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