Checklist: Everybody You Need to Notify When You’re Moving

Don’t let anyone slip through the cracks.

When you’re preoccupied with important relocation-related tasks, it’s easy to forget about informing relevant people and institutions of your upcoming residential move and subsequent change of address.

But notifying specific organizations and individuals of your relocation is essential for ensuring a smooth moving process and preventing various hassles and troubles with your mail and accounts.

Here’s a checklist of the people and institutions you need to contact when moving.

Family and friends

Naturally, your relatives and close friends should be the first to know that you are about to move house. Informing them of your imminent relocation as early as possible will not only give you the chance to ask them help you move, but, if you’re moving far away, will also provide you with enough time to say a proper goodbye and plan for different ways to stay in touch despite the distance between you.

Current employer

Unless you’re relocating to a different branch of your current company, you should inform your employer about your decision to move and leave your job as early as a month in advance.

This way, the company will have time to find a new person for your position, and you will be able to put all the relevant paperwork in order without any hassle.

Remember that your old boss will need your new address to send you tax documents and insurance information at the end of the year.

Landlord

If you live in a rental home, you should carefully review your tenant rights and responsibilities contained in the lease agreement. You will probably be required to notify your landlord of your intentions to move out at least 30 days in advance.

You need to prepare a written notice that clearly states your move-out date and your future address. It is also a good idea to include a brief statement about the excellent condition of the rented property and to request your security deposit back.

Postal services

Changing your address with the United States Postal Service should be among your top priorities when moving to a new house, as it will help you avoid many troubles and inconveniences.

To have your mail forwarded to your new place before you’ve updated your address with individual organizations and companies, you only need to fill out a change of address request at your local post office or at the USPS official website.

Online services such as 1StopMove can also help you complete this process.

Utilities

To prevent service lapses and past-due bills you need to inform your service providers about your relocation plans. Arrange for the utilities at your old home to be disconnected on moving day, and have them reconnected at your new residence by the time you move in.

The utility companies you should contact when moving include electricity, gas, water, telephone, cable, Internet, domestic waste collection and other municipal services you may need.

DMV

When you move out of state, you’ll have to transfer your driver’s license and update your vehicle’s registration and insurance within quite a short time frame (10 to 30 days, depending on your new state).

It’s a good idea to visit the local office of the Department of Motor Vehicles at the earliest opportunity, inform them of your new address, and request all the relevant information about putting the required paperwork in order.

Government agencies

A number of government agencies should be notified when you’re moving to another state. Be sure to update your address with the local office of the Social Security Administration, the electoral register, and other relevant institutions.

The IRS

The Internal Revenue Service will need your actual home address to mail your tax return, fiscal notes, and other documents. All you need to do is print out and mail in the IRS’ Change of Address form soon after your relocation.

Financial institutions

To keep your finances in order, you must update your bank accounts and inform credit card companies, stockbrokers, and other relevant financial institutions of your new address either shortly prior to or immediately after your move.

Insurance companies

The insurance agencies that provide your life, health, and homeowners insurance policies should have your current address on file, as should any other organizations and individuals (such as your family attorney) who have dealings with you and your family.

Medical and educational facilities

When moving to a new state, you will have to enroll your children in a new school, find a new family physician, and transfer all your academic records, medical records, and prescription medicines. To successfully complete these important tasks you need to tell your doctors, dentists, vets and other healthcare providers, as well as the educational facilities your kids are attending, about your relocation and your new address.

Subscription services and clubs

Last but not least, you need to update your address with any sports, professional, or social clubs you are involved with. You should also notify the subscriber services department of any magazines or newspapers you want to receive at your new home.

You may have to personally visit some companies or institutions to notify them of your relocation, but in most cases you will be able to change your mailing address online or with a simple phone call. Postcards, e-mails, text messages, and social network announcements are also viable methods to inform people of your new address.

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Originally published December 2, 2015.

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Source: zillow.com

How We Bought a House That Wasn’t for Sale (and How You Can, Too)

While trying to buy a house this summer, I assumed our real estate options were limited to homes that were officially for sale.

Well, guess what? We ended up buying a house that wasn’t even listed—and learned that this home-buying strategy wasn’t just possible, but often preferable if you’re purchasing property in a competitive market.

Here’s how we pulled it off, and how you can, too.

How we bought an unlisted house

The backstory: My husband and I had been house hunting for months in Alabama, and had fallen in love with one particular property in the highly desirable historic district of Florence. We made an offer the same day we toured the house, only to be heartbroken upon learning that it went to another buyer (a relative of the seller).

Feeling at a loss, we scoured Florence for other options, but nothing else was for sale—which made sense, because it’s a coveted area of the Shoals region.

Disappointed and tired of waiting for listings that seemed to sell within days of their going live, we asked our real estate agent, Jody Lanier with MarMac Real Estate, if he had any ideas.

That’s when he introduced the idea of looking beyond what was available on real estate listings sites.

We were game to try it out. So our real estate agent put out feelers, and soon found a 1917-built home that was on our perfect street. My husband and I fell in love with it the moment we set foot on the front porch and felt giddy stepping inside.

Basically, the sellers had named their asking price, and if we were interested, we could put in an offer for that amount—take it or leave it. Since the price was within our budget, we went for it, signing and submitting a typical home buyer’s contract that evening.

In the morning, we had more good news: They’d accepted!

It was a thrill to know that we’d gone under contract without having to compete against other buyers, saving us a lot of worry and disappointment in the offer process.

How to buy a house that isn’t on the market

Buying an unlisted house appears to be a growing trend in heated markets. According to Pamela Ermen, president of Real Estate Guidance in Norfolk, VA, it’s called “going under the market,” which means digging into the housing inventory in a particular area to find unlisted gems where the owners might be up for selling if they receive the right offer.

It’s just smart to “introduce yourself as a buyer to [a home] before you have to compete with other people for it,” says Ermen, who specializes in such listings.

Here are a few tactics that will help make this needle-in-haystack process a success.

Find a real estate agent willing to do some digging

Buying a house that isn’t for sale takes more legwork on the agent’s end than usual. So for starters, you’ll want to make sure you have an agent willing to go the extra mile. Here are a few of the steps agents take.

  • Review expired listings: This is where your real estate agent digs through expired listings to see who once had their home on the market, checking to see if it ever sold. If it hasn’t, your agent can then reach out to the sellers and see if they’re open to selling now.
  • Check tax records: Your agent can also research tax records in a particular neighborhood to see who has a different address for tax returns than the property address. This suggests that the house is vacant or an investment property.
  • Send direct mail: This involves a real estate agent sending postcards to homeowners in the neighborhood or ZIP code you want to live in, inviting them to get in touch if they’re open to receiving offers on their home. Since part of the appeal might be that the sale could be easy and practically painless—no home staging or open houses needed—the postcard should emphasize that the agent has “fully qualified buyers” (like yourself) who are interested in a “quiet sale.”
  • Prospecting neighborhoods: This is where you and your agent drive around a particular neighborhood, writing down addresses of homes that, if they were on the market, you’d love to see. During the COVID-19 pandemic, buyers can also do this on their own, then pass the list of addresses to their agent, who can then reach out to these owners.

While a real estate agent will have to do many of the above tactics, there’s plenty home buyers can do as well to improve the odds of finding an unlisted property they’d love to purchase. Here are a few tactics we tried.

Commit to buying a house in a particular area

If a real estate agent is willing to go the extra mile to find you an off-market home, pledging your commitment to that person is a no-brainer. Stay loyal to that agent so his or her work will pay off.

In our case, our real estate agent showed us about 15 homes this summer, so we knew we’d work only with him on a sale to make it worth his time.

Be flexible

When an agent finds you an off-market home, be ready and willing to go see it at a moment’s notice. In our case, our agent urged us to go ASAP, before the sellers potentially changed their mind about selling. Ermen says she once showed an off-market home at 10 p.m.

Work out your mortgage ahead of time

Ermen says it’s a good idea to get pre-approved for a home loan, and have that letter from the bank in hand to submit with your offer. This proves you’re serious, and can put your money where your mouth is.

Decide what you’re willing to do

Get crystal-clear on your budget and what you’re willing (and not willing) to do to get a home before going the route of an off-market listing, says Ermen.

The nice part about buying a home this way means that you’ll hopefully avoid lots of back-and-forth negotiating, as in a typical sale, and the worry that you’re competing with other buyers. But that doesn’t mean you can necessarily go in with an offer far below asking. If you’re in a competitive market, you’ll need to ask yourself: What am I willing to do to buy this house?

Don’t assume your seller won’t play the field

Even if you’re the first buyer to come knocking at a homeowner’s door, don’t assume things will stay that way once you’ve piqued the seller’s interest in selling.

“You have to assume that a seller is astute enough to know that they might get more money with more competition,” explains Ermen.

You’re also going to have to be prepared to make an offer quickly, as we did. Be fair, legitimate, and direct in your offers.

“You know what they say,” Ermen says. “If you’re going to sleep on it, you won’t sleep in it.”

Source: realtor.com

9 Moving Announcements That Say ‘We Moved’ in Hilarious, Unforgettable Ways

Moving announcements are just one of those things you have to take care of—otherwise how will people know where you live? Sure, you can just do a mass email to all your friends and family. Alternatively, you can show off your wild creativity with one of the far more memorable moving announcements below. Odds are, one of them sums up your own style or sense of humor to a tee.

For people who move a ton…

It's time to break out yet another new Rolodex card.
It’s time to break out yet another new Rolodex card.

Etsy

This hilarious card ($6.50, Etsy), which comes as a printable download, lets friends and family know that yes, your entry in their address book looks like a confused jumble of crossed-out streets and cities. And that while you’re sorry about that, you’d still enjoy a holiday greeting (or a housewarming gift).

For the scent-loving and/or GPS-minded…

Burn your new coordinates into their memory.
Burn your new coordinates into their memory.

Etsy

If you want to go all out, send a moving announcement in the form of a soy candle ($16, Etsy) in a calming scent with your latitude and longitude printed on the label. Just remember, 39° N is not a USPS-approved mailing address.

For movers (and shakers)…

Dancing with boxes on your head is not recommended.
Dancing with boxes on your head is not recommended.

Minted.com

Show people all that packing and unpacking all those boxes hasn’t dulled your sense of humor, or slowed your dance moves. These cards (85 for $132, Minted) can also be custom-printed to include a family photo on the other side.

If you truly love visitors…

Let friends know they are still welcome.
Let friends know they are still welcome.

Monique Harps

When real estate agent Monique Harps moved, her priority was letting potential visitors know they still had a warm bed to stay in. Her process was simple—a friend took a photo of her new home, then she designed the template and emailed or texted the announcement. Here’s to hoping recipients call first before they come a-calling.

For punsters…

Steer people to your new location.
Steer people to your new location.

Etsy

This printable postcard ($16, Etsy) comes in colors ranging from “bumblebee” to “flamingo” (clearly, this designer loves animals). Meanwhile, this card shows off your own cornball sense of humor.

For those who enjoy a frosty one…

Let friends know you care about their fingertips staying warm.
Let friends know you care about their fingertips staying warm.

Totally Promotional

Instead of sending cards, simply order a collapsible can cooler personalized with your new address and a phrase like “Help us toast our new home!” ($3.71 each per order of 25, Totally Promotional). This lets your old friends (and new neighbors) know you care about them down to the temperature of their beverages. It also leaves no room for anyone to make excuses about losing your mailing address (not until they run out of beer, anyway).

If you’re moving out of state…

The time zones they are a changin'.
The time zones they are a changin’.

Etsy

If you’re moving between any states in the union, why not give people a visual representation of your new boundaries? This instantly downloadable PDF ($5, Etsy) can be customized with any state from Alabama to Wyoming.

For the romantics…

The keyhole cutout makes this adorable card even cuter.
The keyhole cutout makes this adorable card even cuter.

Minted.com

Give everyone a peek into your home life with this “Love Is Key” ($1.92 each, Minted) moving announcement. Each greeting is fully customizable, so if you want to show a picture of what really goes on in your not-always-picture-perfect life through the keyhole, that’s an option, too!

If you want an excuse to show off a cute baby pic…

Baby, it's time to move.
Baby, it’s time to move.

Minted.com

If you and your new baby both have a new crib, let everyone in on it with this clever card ($1.92 each, Minted). Fun fact: Calling a home a crib comes not from “MTV Cribs” but Shakespeare himself. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, crib defined as “a small dwelling” first appeared in the following lines of the famous playwright’s 1597 play “Henry VI”: “Why rather, sleep, liest thou in smoky cribs, Upon uneasy pallets stretching thee.” (Feel free to point this fact out in your moving announcement!)

Source: realtor.com