With so much to sort out when you move house, ticking everything off your ‘To do’ list can be a challenge. So here’s a reminder of ten useful things to do when you move:
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1. Record your energy use
Before you move, take accurate meter readings at your old property so that you only pay for the gas and electricity that you actually use. Unless you send in accurate readings, suppliers will estimate your last reading. An accurate reading means you can claim a refund if your account is in credit. And of course, take a meter reading as soon as you move into your new home too.
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2. Sign up for cashback
Sign up to a website that will pay you to shop for insurance and home entertainment such as satellite television and broadband. Cashback websites such as Quidco and Topcashback have a list of partner retailers that pay commission when you click on their links and, in turn, the cashback website passes on the commission to you. Some retailers pay a fixed sum, while others pay a percentage of your spend.
Using the sites is easy – all you do is register with the site and provide your bank details. Then, every time you buy online or switch your household bills, visit the retailer via your chosen cashback operator rather than directly, so they can record your visit and what you’ve spent.
Membership costs about £5 a year – although you won’t be charged if you don’t earn any cashback – so you really have nothing to lose.
What are cashback websites?
3. Test your broadband speed
Faster broadband has enabled millions of us go online to watch TV and films, listen to music, shop, sell and work – often all at the same time. But research reveals that 46% of us have never tested the strength of our broadband signal.
There are many free-to-use services that analyse your broadband speed in seconds. Ofcom, the communications regulator, has one available on its website or as smart phone app. It can measure speeds on a range of broadband connection types, and it’s worth running several tests during a single week, in peak usage time (5pm-11pm) and during off-peak times.
The speed test should be run on a desktop or laptop computer, as results on a mobile phone or tablet may not be 100% accurate. For the most accurate results, you should consider connecting your PC to your router via a network cable before running the test.
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4. Bridge the internet gap
If you’ve moved in and found yourself suddenly without internet access, then mobile broadband is a good stopgap until you get your fixed line service up and running.
First, check coverage at the new property using the Ofcom website to find out which provider offers at least a 3G signal.
There are some good value pre-pay offers which give you a dongle (a small device that connects to your computer for internet access) and a bundle of credit to get started. Provided you don’t use it for big downloads or hours of streaming video, a gigabyte or two should be more than sufficient, even if your fixed line takes several weeks to activate.
5. Look at alternatives to a Sky TV bundle
If you’re fed up with forking out for channels that you never watch, why not stream your favourite television programmmes instead? Now TV, for example, offers a way for people to try Sky without getting tied into a long contract. You pick which channels you want, whether its movies, sports or television channels such as Sky Atlantic and Sky Living. It’s available online, or through one of the Now TV or Apple TV set top boxes, which also give users access to other catch-up TV services and various apps, making their TVs much smarter. Prices start at £6.99 a month, though vouchers for a month’s worth of viewing can be found on eBay for a fraction of the cost.
Amazon Prime Instant Video provides unlimited streaming for a monthly fee of £5.99, Amazon Prime customers get it as part of their package. This has an upfront annual cost of £79 and enables viewers to watch Amazon Original content, Netflix and a selection of terrestrial channels’ on-demand offerings.
Digital TV guide
6. Get in touch with your car insurer
You must let your motor insurance provider know that you've moved house. If you don’t, you could find yourself with a policy that won’t pay out.
Insurers take your postcode into account when they set the premiums for car insurance. There’s a chance that your premium could fall or rise, especially if your new postcode is deemed riskier.
And where you park at the new property could also make a difference. If you’ve always parked on the street, but will now be parking on a drive, there’s a good chance you’ll end up paying less. But if you’re losing off-street parking because of the move, your premium could suffer as a result.
7. Offload unwanted furniture before the move
Rather than lug unwanted household items to your new place, why not arrange for the local council to come out and remove them for you? They may charge for this service depending on your council and the type of items, but if you leave them behind you could face a bill from your buyer's solicitor to cover the disposal costs.
Alternatively, sell or donate them – try Gumtree for selling old furniture, check out your local Freecycle group if you’re happy to give away your unwanted items for free, or some charity shops specialise in bigger items and may even collect them too.
8. Change the locks
Changing locks is easily overlooked in the whirlwind of moving house, but it’s frightening to think how many people could have duplicate keys to your new home. According to Home Office statistics, you’re almost twice as likely to be burgled in the 12 months after moving house compared with the average burglary rate. What’s more, you’re nearly three times as likely to be burgled compared with people who have occupied their property for 10 years or more. But figures from Ocean Finance have found that 70 per cent of movers fail to change locks on all external doors. So contact a locksmith to meet you on the day you take ownership of the property.
How to secure your home
9. Register with a GP and dentist
When you move somewhere new, it’s sensible to register with a local GP and dentist as soon as possible – don’t wait until you need medical attention. You can find a healthcare provider near your new home by visiting the individual sites for England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
Bear in mind that all GP practices in England are free to register new patients who live outside their practice boundary area, but it’s up to the practice to decide at the time of registration whether it’s clinically appropriate and practical to register individual patients like this. However it’s not reasonable to refuse registration just because you don’t have proof of address or personal identification with you.
How to cut the cost of a trip to the dentist
10. Have the boiler serviced
Once you get the keys, it makes sense to get your boiler serviced to make sure it’s working properly. A faulty boiler could waste money on energy and could even start leaking poisonous carbon monoxide. Because the gas is colourless and odourless, it’s hard to tell if one of your appliances starts leaking carbon monoxide – so you should get them serviced by a Gas Safe Registered engineer once a year. To find one in your local area, visit gassaferegister.co.uk.
This is also a good time to either upgrade the existing smoke and carbon monoxide detectors or, at the very least, change the batteries.
How to choose a new boiler
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