Set up your utilities: electricity, cable, and telephone
Before you begin carting all your belongings to your new apartment, make arrangements to have the utilities turned on — otherwise you’ll be in the dark, literally. You may decide to skip a landline and just get by with your cell phone, but you’ll still need cable, an internet provider, gas, and electricity hook-ups. Your landlord or super should be able to tell you who to contact.
Even if you don’t have a lot of furniture you should still look into getting renters insurance, making sure it kicks in the day you move in to give you the liability coverage in case of any mishap. You may not think you have enough valuables to warrant insurance, but when you add up your clothing, laptop, iPod, DVDs, books, CDs, and all the other accoutrements you’ve hoarded over the years, it’ll quickly run to thousands of dollars in possessions vulnerable to fire, theft, flooding from a burst water pipe, or any number of Murphy’s Law-type scenarios.
Usually renters insurance won’t cost you an arm and a leg. In New York City, for example, a bare bones policy from State Farm covering $5,000 of property and $100,000 liability, with a $500 deductible, costs $115 a year for rental in a large apartment building; up to $5,000 of jewelry coverage can be added for $50 a year.
If you’re bringing any kind of sizeable furniture into a large apartment building, you’ll most likely have to deal with some kind of moving regulation. Some buildings only allow union movers, which can be really expensive. Others require moves to be done on certain days and times, especially if the freight elevator has to be reserved. Find out if you need to give the super an advance notice. As usual, it helps to tip generously — $50-$100 for the building super and $20 to the doorman is not out of line — if the building staff is helping with your move. You never know when you’ll need their help in the future, and this is your chance to make a good first impression. Plus, a well-timed palm greasing might encourage them to overlook the noise complaints from your house-warming party.