How to Organize a Long Distance Move

Moving across town is difficult enough, but when you are faced with a move that takes you out of the city in which you live, or even to another state, you can become overwhelmed very quickly.  There are some key things to help when organizing an effective, efficient long-distance move, including:

Switching of Utilities.  It is critical that you look into your new service providers, including electric, gas, phone, water, and sewage before you do anything else.  Many will need a lead time of 1-3 weeks in order to get your new services put into your name.  You may also have to provide a monetary deposit, especially if you are moving to a new state, to establish credibility with the new utilities providers.

Remember to have service started in your name only after you have closed on and taken possession of your new home.  It is equally as important to call your current utility providers and cancel your service at your existing residence.  Again, make sure you leave the utilities in your name until the date of closing or when the new owners take possession, whichever is first.  This will ensure that you are responsible only for the services used by you and your family, and will avoid any conflict with the new owners and their use (or potential misuse) of utilities.

Switching your Phone Service.  Try to call 3 weeks in advance of moving to give the phone provider enough time to run lines to your new home if applicable.  Also, you will want to give the phone company an exact date in which you want the service put into your name.  Make sure when moving, you keep a phone out and ready to plug into the outlet to test the day the phone service is scheduled to be turned on.  Many service providers require deposits for new phone service, so be prepared to either pay in advance, or have it billed to your new number over a period of 2-3 months to pay for the deposit.

When disconnecting your existing phone service, follow a similar model.  Give at least 2-3 weeks notice that you will be moving.  The phone company will ask if you want your phone number forwarded (where applicable)—this is a decision you must make in advance of the call.  If you are moving out of state, many phone companies do not provide that service.

Switching your Cable/Dish/Internet Providers.  Most cable and satellite providers require the homeowner to be at the residence on the day of installation.  This is done to ensure the service you have purchased is working well and has outlets where you want them to be.  If you have DSL or Cable Modem for your computer, you will likewise be required to be present when the service person comes to take care of setting up your new service.

To disconnect services, it is much simpler, as the cable/satellite companies do not have to come out to disconnect your service.  Satellite companies will ask you to leave the dish behind (in order to market to the new owner), and will encourage you to stay with their company.  They will often bring out a new dish at your new residence as well.  Make sure you give ample notice (again, 2-3 weeks) to ensure all is disconnected when you want it to be, and you are not providing the new owners with "free" TV or Internet service!

Rent a Moving Van.  You never know how busy a moving van company is going to be on the weekend in which you want to move, so the more advanced notice you can give, the better your chances for renting the size and type van you need.  Be realistic, too.  If you have a large home, you will likely need more than one van to move, which may mean hiring a moving company to move you.  Regardless of how you do it, you will want to give 6 weeks notice of your intent to either rent a van yourself, or enlist the services of a moving company.

A word of warning—do not use Internet moving companies unless you have 4 or 5 good references of their quality and expertise.  Many of the Internet moving companies that offer great "deals" do not have actual movers that work for them directly.  They contract out that service, which mean that if they have agreed to provide you with moving service on a given day---they should have people to actually pack the truck and drive it.  However, since it is contracted out, you may find that you have a truck with no driver or movers.  As much as possible, stay away from Internet moving deals, unless you can verify their authenticity.

Pack Valuables In Advance.  If you have certain items that you want to be sure are packed well and are out of the way while you move on to bigger items, it would be wise to pack those first.  For a longer trip, make sure your valuable items are packed well and are given a special, secure place to ride.  Otherwise, you may arrive at your new home with your treasured possessions broken or shattered due to negligence on your part.  Even if you hire professional movers to pack and move your things, it is highly recommended that you pack key valuable possessions yourself, and move them separately from the other items.

Home Inspections (on both ends).  While you are working on switching all kinds of providers, don't forget the home inspections on your new home.  You want to make sure your new home is ready for you, and that there is nothing that needs resolution before you move in.  If so, it is the current owner's responsibility to take care of it.

Likewise, make sure that you take care of anything that the inspector of your current residence finds as quickly as possible.  The sooner you resolve any potential issues with your current home, the quicker you will be able to move to close on your existing home and move on to your new one.

Mail Forwarding.  Don't forget the mailman!  You want to make sure all of your creditors know of your change in address.  The easiest way to do this is to fill out the "change of address" form on the back of your billing statement; however, some credit card companies do not pay attention to that statement.  Therefore, play it safe by calling your creditors to let them know of your new address and number.  This will ensure all your bills, magazines, etc, move with you to your new address.

Let Friends/Family Know your New Address/Phone Number.  While your friends/family may know you are moving, it is really important that they know WHERE.  Don't forget to send out a note informing your loved ones of the change in your address and phone number.  This will help them remember to send you a Christmas card when the season rolls around!

Moving is most definitely an arduous task; however, taking a few of these tips and instituting them as part of your moving plan will help your move go more smoothly and efficiently than it might otherwise.  Good luck!


Information is for educational and informational purposes only and is not be interpreted as financial or legal advice. This does not represent a recommendation to buy, sell, or hold any security. Please consult your financial advisor.