Moving to a new house creates a long “to do” list and no small amount of stress. If the house is in a new community, it’s just as important to get acquainted with the area and its people as it is to turn on the utilities. Here are some tips for settling into a new community.
Change your address
Two weeks before your new address becomes official, submit a change of address request to the US Postal Service at www.usps.com. This request, which requires a $1 processing fee, will be good for a year. Then begin updating your address with each vendor with whom you do business. Start with financial accounts. (One way you can obtain peace of mind that sensitive information isn’t mailed to an old address is by arranging for paperless statements via email.) Make sure to include family and friends.
Though the timing is not quite as critical, most states have a deadline for updating your driver’s license. Provide the state motor vehicles agency with the new address for registration of your cars.
Stop and start utilities
Contact the utility companies — electricity, gas, water, sewerage, trash collection, telephone, security monitoring, and the Internet — that service your new community and schedule an end to service at your former home effective the date you close. Be sure to inform these providers of your new address as well and schedule service to start effective the day you move in.
Update your voter’s registration
Your local post office or county government offices will have a card to complete, sign and mail in to register to vote in your new political jurisdiction.
Introduce yourself in the neighborhood
Take the initiative to meet your neighbors as you settle into a new community. As an icebreaker, ask for recommendations for good local restaurants, the nearest home improvement store, grocery stores, doctors, dentists, babysitters or playgroups for the kids. If new neighbors bring over cookies or a meal, accept it graciously and strike up a conversation. If neighbors are slower to warm up, host a small gathering to introduce your family to the neighborhood. Ask if the neighborhood has a private group Facebook page. You can also join Next Door, another private group site where local residents share all kinds of information about what is happening nearby, from book clubs and social events to shopping tips and service recommendations.
Get to know the broader new community
As you’re settling into a new community, take a walk or a bike ride through areas that interest you. If you’re religious, visit churches or synagogues and join one. Shop and dine at locally owned establishments. Drop-in at your nearest library. Get to know your letter carrier. Ask questions. Who knows? The nice man behind the deli counter may know the perfect person to tune your piano. For information on community events, also consider subscribing to your local newspaper or dropping by the town visitors center.