Whether you’re relocating across town or to a new state, moving your home can be a stressful and distracting experience. Between packing, hiring a moving company and tying up loose ends at your current residence, it’s easy to let simple tasks like transferring your home services slip through the cracks.
Stay on top of your move and reduce your home service bills by following these four simple tips for streamlining your utilities transfer and finding the best internet, home security, television and home phone providers in your new neighborhood.
1. Get A Head Start
Don’t wait until the last minute to transfer your home services. Call your providers at least two weeks before your move-out date to arrange a shut off or transfer, and to make sure you can still access comparable service in your new home. Unfortunately, your current provider will not always be able to offer you service in the area where you are relocating, and it’s best to know this well in advance so you can choose a new provider wisely.
Check to make sure your new residence is wired correctly for your preferred services – you may need to install additional wiring. Also, think about whether you’ll need to install a new home security system or upgrade the existing security system for better protection. Installation for these types of services often has to be scheduled over a week in advance.
Cost-Saving Bonus: Try a one-stop-shop moving website that allows you to transfer all of your home services at once.
2. Do Your Research
Try to kindle a friendly relationship with the person who is moving out of your new home and make sure to chat with your new neighbors. Most homeowners and renters will be more than happy to tell you what service providers they have had positive experiences with in the area, and which have been unreliable or over-priced. This is very valuable information, and could help you avoid getting stuck in a contract with a provider who doesn’t offer the quality of service you require.
Cost-Saving Bonus: Are you a student, senior or veteran? Ask for a discount. Some companies even offer discounted pricing for new residents. Also, make sure you comparison shop before you call and ask if they can offer competitive pricing if another provider in the area has a significantly lower rate for comparable service.
3. Make A List & Call
When you call to transfer services, it’s extremely helpful to have all of the information you need in front of you in one well-organized document for quick reference. Make a list of all of your current utilities, your current rate, the rates offered by similar providers at your new address and your stop and start dates. Also, note your current account numbers, and leave space to add new account and confirmation numbers that you may need later.
Remember to write down a list of important questions that you’d like answered and take detailed notes. This is especially important if you are going to start new services. Write down the price you are quoted over the phone, the first and last name of sales associate who entered your order into the system and the time your call started and ended. It may seem silly to be so thorough, but the more information you have, the easier it will be to mediate any discrepancies you find in your first bill.
Cost-Saving Bonus: For better customer service, call at 9 A.M. This is the best time of day because sales associates are just starting their day and will be fresh, and likely in a better mood to offer you a discount. If you run into a sales associate who refuses to help you lower your bill, don’t be afraid to hang up and call back for another associate who might be more helpful. Avoid calling right after you get off work, since this is a peak call time and you’ll have to wait much longer to speak with someone.
4. Don’t Forget the Details
When you set up service, confirm if you will need to be present for any installations, if there are additional charges for these installations or equipment you’ll need and if there is a required deposit that will be added to your first bill. Many companies will try to charge you for simple installations you can do yourself for free, like setting up a wireless router.
Also, make absolutely sure that you give your utility and home service providers a forwarding address where they can send you your last bill and any refunds or deposits. You should also fill out an online change of address form so that any mail delivered to your old address will be forwarded to your new home. You don’t want to end up paying late fees or get sent to collections for forgetting to pay and you’ll want to keep final account statements for your records.
Cost-Saving Bonus: Re-negotiate your bill at the end of your first year of service, especially if you lowered your rate with a year-long promotional offer. Oftentimes, your bill will dramatically increase at the end of this promotion, so you should call at least a month before the end of your contract to review your options and lock in a similar price. Customer service agents are usually very helpful in keeping you at your current rate, or even helping you reduce your monthly bill.
Moving to a new home is an exciting and joyful time, so don’t let the stress of transferring your home services rain on your parade. Follow these four simple tips, and the process will be faster, easier and much more affordable. Just think how much packing (or planning your next home improvement project) you can squeeze into the time you’ll save!
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