Moving can be a stressful experience. Finding a new apartment or home, changing utility services, transferring accounts and getting settled in are all challenges on their own. But there are a few steps you can take to help ensure that you stay in good financial standing, and don’t end up with a pile of past-due bills and fines.
Check your credit score
Planning or preparing for a move is a great time to check up on your credit score. “Whether you’re applying for a home loan or your credit is being checked by a potential landlord, it’s important to present yourself well,” Grace Keister of First Team Real Estate explains. “That means checking your credit score and improving it if you can. Dispute inaccuracies, stay on top of your payments, stay away from new credit cards and pay off what you can.”
Inquire about a lease termination provision
Does your job require you to move often? You might want to consider requesting a lease termination provision. “Consider requesting a lease termination provision that allows you to terminate the lease as a result of an employment-related relocation,” Diane Ayres, founder and President of PorchLight, recommends. “Such a provision allows you the flexibility to consider another relocation while relieving you of the requirement to fulfill what’s left of your lease term. Standard lease termination clauses allow a 30-day notice and two-month penalty fee. The other standard option is a 60-day notice and one-month penalty fee.”
Make sure mail forwarding is in place
Don’t let a delayed bill cost you. “Set up mail forwarding to ensure that no bills, statements or documents get lost during your move,” Brian Berson, founder of FileThis, suggests.
Use this as an opportunity to switch to electronic billing
If you’re concerned about mail forwarding, or are sick of facing a pile of bills, use your move as an opportunity to switch to electronic billing. “Register your accounts for e-statements and save/organize everything electronically,” Berson recommends. Using a service or program like FileThis can make the organization step even easier.
Keep an archive of your previous bills and statements
Even though you’re no longer paying utilities for your previous property, hold on to those bills. “Archive statements and bills from previous apartment online; ensure you aren’t paying for someone else to live in your apartment by archiving all final bills/notices online,” Berson recommends.
Document your possessions prior to moving
Although it may seem like an unnecessary step, documenting your belongings before bringing a moving company on board can help in the long run. “By documenting your possessions prior to putting them in a U-Haul or utilizing a moving company, you can have a record of the item and the condition it was in prior to being packed and moved,” Elizabeth Dodson of HomeZada explains. “This will help to determine where your items are and assess their condition when they’re delivered.”