Whether you’re moving to the capital city for the first time, or just moving to a new neighborhood within Austin, there are five critical things you should have on your Austin moving to-do-list. Making sure these items get crossed off will help your transition go smoother.
1. Update Your Address
To ensure mail gets delivered to your new address, file a change of address form with the U.S. Postal Service. This may be done in person at your local branch, or you can skip the line and submit the form online. If you submit your change of address far enough in advance, you can designate the date you’d like your mail forwarding to begin.
Additionally, you’ll need to update your address with your employer, your bank and credit card companies, insurance providers, utility providers, your child’s school, subscription publications, plus friends and family.
2. Transfer or Set-up Your Austin Utilities
Nothing is worse than moving into a house without lights and running water. Before your move, make sure you’ve scheduled turn-on dates for essential utilities like electricity, water, and gas. There’s only one provider for each of these Austin utilities, which means you won’t have to spend time shopping around:
- Electricity: Austin Energy serves not only all of Austin and Travis County, but provides power to part of Williamson County as well. Rates for this public utility are set on an annual basis by the Austin City Council. To set up your electric service, call the Austin Energy customer service line at 512-494-9400. Alternatively, you may register online with the City of Austin Utilities, where you can manage both your electric and water service in one easy place.
- Water: Austin Water, a department of the City of Austin, has been providing its customers with clean water for over 100 years. This progressive water utility has come a long way in the last century; today they even have an app available so users can easily track their water usage. As previously mentioned, the easiest way to start water service is through the City of Austin utilities site.
- Gas: For natural gas service, give Texas Gas Service a call at 1-800-700-2443, or create an online account here to request new service.
3. Find an Austin Cable and Internet Provider
These days WiFi is almost as important as water or electricity. After all, how are you supposed to get your Netflix fix without it? There are four main providers of internet and cable services in the Austin area. Most of them require a week’s notice or longer to get your service switched on, so make sure to schedule in advance. Here are your main options:
- Google Fiber: Austin was one of the first cities to get tapped for the revolutionary Google Fiber, a fiber optic cable that delivers unparalleled internet speeds. The initial Google Fiber networks were built in South Austin and East Austin, but sign-ups are now available across most of the Austin area. You can quickly check availability in your area and sign up for this lightning fast internet service online. Depending on the package you choose, you may also opt to get up to 220 TV channels and avoid using a traditional cable provider. If you’re still hooked on using a landline, Google Fiber does that too.
- AT&T UVerse: In the Austin area, AT&T offers a variety of home services, including high speed internet, cable, cell phone service, home security, and home phone service. AT&T offers lots of great bundles so you can sign-up for exactly what you need. If you’re already an AT&T customer, you can easily transfer your service to your new address.
- Time Warner Cable/Spectrum: Communications magnate Charter Communications recently completed a merger with Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks. The plan is to eventually rebrand as Spectrum, but in the meantime, Austin area service still goes by Time Warner Cable. With TWC, users may select from internet, TV, and phone service. Check service in your area and shop for services here.
- Grande Communications: Like TWC and AT&T, Grande Communications also offers phone, internet, and TV services in Austin. Find out more about Grande’s services in Austin.
4. Transfer School Records
If you have school-aged children, make sure you have their academic records transferred to their new district or school so there aren’t any hiccups getting them enrolled. Here’s more information on transfers in the three of the main Austin-area school districts:
- Austin Independent School District (AISD): AISD serves most of the neighborhoods in Austin. Generally, the district begins accepting transfer requests in January of the preceding school year. You may download a transfer form here, or obtain a paper copy from a school or the Office of Student Services. Submit the form in person at the Office of Student Services or mail it in. Parents must attach proof of residence and a copy of a photo ID; students new to the district will also need to provide a birth certificate.
- Round Rock Independent School District (RRISD): RRISD primarily serves Round Rock, a community just north of Austin, though some Austin addresses are zoned for this district. Transfer applications may be submitted online or directly through the district; do not submit applications to individual schools.
- Eanes Independent School District (EISD): A small district serving the West Lake Hills area of Austin, Eanes has a total enrollment of 8,000 students at 9 campuses. Though not a large district, Eanes is known for its academic excellence. Find out more information on transferring to Eanes ISD.
5. Update Your Information with the DMV
The state of Texas gives residents a grace period to update the address on their licenses after a move. If you get pulled over without an updated address or license plate after the grace period ends, you could be subject to fines or penalties. What you need to change and the applicable window depends on where you’re moving from.
If you’re moving within Texas, you’ll need to request a replacement license with your new home address within 30-days of your move. There are three ways to update your license:
- Fill out a form online
- Mail-in your form
- In-person at your local Texas Department of Public Safety location
Out of State
If you are new to Texas, you have 90 days after your move to request a new license. This must be done in-person at a Texas DPS location.
Additionally, your vehicle must be inspected and registered within 30 days of your move to the Lone Star State. There are several inspection stations in the Austin area. Once your vehicle passes inspection, you must register your vehicle in person at the Travis County tax office. Make sure to take your insurance card, proof of vehicle inspection, and proof of ownership with you. Once your car is registered, you’ll receive new TX license plates.