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The fine print of moving houses

While packing and unpacking boxes may be a large part of moving homes, it is not the only aspect that new homeowners need to consider when changing their address, says Adrian Goslett, CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa.

He notes that there may be some legal matters that will need to be attended to before the move. “For example,” says Goslett, “in the situation where a new homebuyer was previously renting and is leaving before the lease agreement has expired, they should read through their contract to see whether they will be able to transfer the agreement to another tenant or sub-let the home until the term of the contract ends.”

There are a number of legal and technical details buyers need to keep in mind when they are moving.  Goslett offers some advice and aspects for new homebuyers to consider:

Ensure you are covered for the move

According to Goslett, it is important that when the homebuyer makes arrangements with a moving company that they check that any mishaps are covered by insurance. He notes that the homebuyer should carefully review the contract with the moving company to see what falls under their insurance coverage during the move and what doesn’t. The moving company will provide some insurance, but in some cases it might be worthwhile to take out additional coverage.

Send change of address to the relevant parties

Goslett says that the new address should be sent to all creditors and changed on bank accounts so that the homebuyer does not miss any payments or important notices that could affect their credit record in the future. He notes that as a precaution the homebuyer should also ask the post office to forward all post to the new address.  “The change of address should also be sent to any publications that the homebuyer has subscriptions with, and to family and friends,” says Goslett.

Disconnect utilities

Disconnect utilities or services that are no longer required or transfer them to the new address. These would include items such as water and electricity services, newspaper delivery, a telephone landline, DSTV subscription or a private security company. Goslett says that in some cases there may be deposits that can be refunded from the various service providers. He notes that homebuyers should also advise service providers where final bills are to be sent.

Obtain all the necessary records

Goslett says that obtaining all records is particularly important if the buyer will be relocating to a home in another city or area. He notes that medical records should be collected from the family doctor and any medical prescriptions should either be refilled or transferred to a pharmacy in the buyer’s new area. For family buyers, school records such as copies of report cards and transfer cards will need to be collected.  Other records would include birth documents for all family members and any legal records.

“Although moving can be a rather tedious exercise, if the homebuyer has a checklist and systematically deals with all the necessary aspects involved it will be a far more manageable experience,” Goslett concludes.


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