Hello and welcome to my post about How to Set Up Your New Home! This isn’t about all the fun stuff like decor and chosing a sofa- this is all about the grown up stuff, sorting out utilities etc and making sure you’ve sorted everything you need to be all good to go in your new home! All of this is relevant if you own your home but most of this is also relevant if you’re renting! Don’t forget to subscribe to my newsletter while you’re here – have a look at the very bottom of this page for sign up details!
When you buy a house or start renting it, the agent or previous occupier should read the meters with you there on the day you take over. If you are not there, that isn’t a problem, but make sure you know where the meters are and as soon as you get your foot in the door- check the readings you have been given are correct. You need them to be right or it can cause a lot of confusion and potential cost further down the line- you don’t want to end up accidentally having to pay for something you didn’t use or there being problems on your account further down the line.
Gas & Electric
Gas and electric are attached to the property. This means that you have to start off with the provider that the previous occupants had. This doesn’t mean you can’t switch – it just means you have to start off with them. Always ask the estate agent or previous occupier who their account was with so you can contact them and let them know that you are now responsible for the property. In this initial contact you can also give the provider your opening meter readings and confirm they match up with the ones that the previous occupier or estate agent gave to them. You’d be surprised at the amount of human error in giving meter readings to companies!
Don’t panic if you’ve moved in and you have no idea who the current providers are and you don’t know how to find out – they will write to you! They want their money! Usually it will look like junk mail, addressed to ‘The Occupier’ or ‘The New Occupier’ so don’t through the post away to hastily if you are waiting on some info!
Once you are set up, you can look for a better deal. Usually providers start you off on a bad deal, so make sure you find a good one for you! Have a look at Money Saving Expert and comparison sites like Compare the Market.
Some properties don’t have gas, not all places are connected to gas by pipeline. These properties are usually fuelled by oil which lives in a tank outside, although sometimes people have tanks of gas, but these are not as common. If you have an oil tank, hopefully the previous occupants left you some! There is usually a dipper or level at the top of the tank which will let you know how much is in there. If you need more oil you just need to ring round a few local oil companies and ask for a quote for (however much you need of) heating oil. Often then more you buy the better rate you get. Also, a lot of companies offer a direct debit scheme so you can pay monthly to save up for a tank to help you budget, read more about budgeting your house costs here.
Like with gas and elect water is stuck to the house and you need to check the meter readings for this as well. Unlike gas and elec there is only one provider in your area for water, so you are stuck with who they are and their charges. You don’t usually pay for water very often unless you have a direct debit. Where we live the provider is Severn Trent Water. If the previous occupier / estate agent hasn’t told you, you should be able to find your provider on a postcode search online.
Phone & Internet
The most important one- get yourself online! Unlike utilities, phone and elec accounts are not attached to the property, they are attached to the person. You don’t need to worry about who the previous occupant had an account with, you can just start your own. Be aware that starting these accounts can take 2-6 weeks from ordering them and maybe longer if you’re upgrading to fibre, so if you’re able, set these up in plenty of time before you move in. I’ve definitely been in the situation with no wifi for weeks and you just end up spending SO MUCH on mobile data. Not fun!
If you have a phone line for a landline phone, the number is unique to you and not the house, so don’t worry about getting calls for the old occupants, although you may still get an occasional call for the person with the previous number!
As ever, try to get something as competitive as you can, I like to use compare sites, my fave is Compare the Market.
Very important that you have the correct amount of house insurance. If you own the property you will need house and contents and if you rent you will just need contents. Again, you can have a look on sites like Compare the Market to find a good deal. I would always advise that you get cover for accidental damage as a lot of stuff may not be covered by the basics of the insurance and accidental cover is always the thing you wish you had!
This leads nicely on to changing your addresses, but ensure you change your address on other insurances such as your car insurance asap as having incorrect information on insurance can render it invalid and no one wants that!
Change your addresses
Here’s a brief list of things that you need to change your address on:
- Driving licence- free online (you don’t have to change your address on your passport)
- Credit cards
- Mobile phone
- Police if you have guns or firearms
- Student loan company
- Insurance providers
- TV licence- you can keep your licence if you have one and just amend the address to your new one online
- Any subscription magazines or services
- Any companies that post to you- i.e. supermarket vouchers, catalogues
- TV subscriptions such as NOW TV or Netflix
TV Aerial & Licence
This may sound random, but check before you move in that the house has a terrestrial aerial. In our current house, the last people had sky, so when the digital switch over happened they didn’t upgrade the aerial, so we didn’t have normal TV until we bought a new TV aerial. These actually aren’t that expensive and there are usually local firms who will pop out and do it in an afternoon. One to check though so you can book it in early so you aren’t without a TV!
If you already have a TV licence you can just go online and change your address to your new place, if you don’t have one, make sure you get one to avoid a fine!
Hope you’ve enjoyed this post, I certainly wish I had something like this when we bought our first house! Have a look at my other posts about Budgeting and Saving here!
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