Online House Hunter: Moving house
IN this digital age, one would have hoped that the stress of moving house had been largely dispensed with. The days of having to write hundreds of ‘Change of Address’ cards are surely long gone and a quick tweet or message on Facebook and all your problems are over? Well, not quite.
Today’s Independent features a pull-out guide on Moving Home, produced in association with Halifax. It contains some money-saving advice and some useful tips – much needed when moving house still ranks as one of the most stressful experiences in a person’s life.
There are online services such as iammoving.com (a free service) which offer to do most of the work for you but here’s a quick run-down of the online sites you can visit to register a change of address.
Councils and council tax. A number of councils have woken up to the fact that people move house at least once in their life and have started sections on their website specifically devoted to these ‘life events’. There’s still much that can and should be done, but check the website of the council your leaving and the one you’re moving to for a Moving House page. This DirectGov website will let you know which councils cover your new home. Your council will be responsible for council tax, registering you on the electoral roll and a number of other essential obligations.
The utilities companies will also need to know you are moving – not least to ensure you stop paying bills at your old house. It is, perhaps, a time to look again at whether you want to switch companies and save yourself some money or receive a better service. Websites such as consumerfocus.org will allow you to compare prices online. The site even has a number of templated letters prepared.
Your driving licence is one document you don’t want to be invalidated by an old address. You can amend your details online. Bear in mind also, legal obligations with regards to all your insurance policies. The TV licence is another bit of paper you can change online.
Talking of bits of paper, some folk still write letters rather than emails. Ask the Royal Mail to forward your letters for six months or so and you’ll discover those friends and organisations who didn’t pick up on your change of address.
Saying farewell to your old GP, dentist, optician or other health service provider is easy enough. Registering with a new one can be a headache but start at NHS UK website (links to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are at the bottom of the page).
Telling the tax man is a simple email. Visit the HM Revenue and Customs website for more details.
No list can be comprehensive but hopefully the above and the links set out below will make the move slightly easier. Remember to keep all those essential bits of paper somewhere handy and somewhere safe (don’t pack them in a box!). And the same goes for electronic documents you might need during or straight after the move – it’s no good unpacking the computer only to find you don’t have broadband sorted out yet. Why not upload key data to a secure website such as Google documents so you can access it at all times from work or from a cybercafe. You might wish to print off your “Passwords” file as a backup.
- Independent online property search
- Independent House and Home section
- Independent Property section
- Independent mortgages comparison
- Independent tradesmen search
- DirectGov: Moving house links
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