All the tedious, time-consuming paperwork has been signed, sealed, and delivered. Your belongings are packed into what seems like a million boxes and you have a solid plan to haul all your existing furniture to the new place.
Just as your boxes and furniture need to be accounted for, so do the service providers and utilities in your new home.
You should plan ahead and allow a couple of weeks for the provider to process the request and set up the new account.
Plus, forgetting to transfer, cancel, or set up utilities can cause a big headache, or possibly a past-due bill down the road.
Here’s everything you need to know to set up your new utilities and take care of the old ones.
The Basics of Utilities
The utilities of a home generally include:
- Water and Sewer
- Trash and Recycling Removal
- Cable and Internet
- Home Security System
Most of these services are essential to daily life and an enjoyable living space.
Research Service Providers in Your Area
You’ll need to research and find the local service providers in the area you’re moving to.
If you’re staying in the same city or county, you already know which providers to use and can skip this step.
Typically, there is only one option for electric, gas, water, sewage, and trash collection. You can find these companies through your real estate agent, the previous homeowner, or online.
As for cable, internet, and home security, there should be a few options to choose from. Try asking your new neighbors for their recommendations. A certain internet provider, for example, may have better service than others in this specific area.
Make a Checklist
The best way to keep track of all your utilities, whether they need to be cancelled, transferred, or set up, is to make a thorough checklist.
Compile a list of the utility name, the provider available in your area, contact information, and what task needs to be completed.
Here’s an example:
- Utility: Electric
- Provider: PSEG
- Contact Information: 000-000-000
- Task: Set Up
Make sure your checklist includes the must-haves first, like electric, water and heat. Things like cable and internet can wait until after move-in day.
Setting Up New Utilities
Step 1: Identify Your Providers
At this step in the process, it should be clear which primary service providers are located in your area. Certain cities, counties, neighborhoods, and management companies will have utility prerequisites. Similarly, the provider may only service certain areas.
Check your city or county’s website for information on the utility companies used in your neighborhood. The previous homeowners and new neighbors are also good resources to reach out to.
Step 2: Contact the Providers
You’ll need to contact each provider separately to create an account and step up the utility. This should be done a few weeks ahead of your move-in date.
If you’re a first-time homebuyer, you’ll be starting from scratch. For those selling a current home, the existing utilities will need to be either transferred or cancelled.
Here’s some information they might ask you to provide:
- New home address
- Old home address (if cancelling or transferring)
- Social security number
- Preferred payment method
- Move-in or out date
Here are some questions you should ask them:
- Are there any setup fees or cancellation charges?
- When will the utility be turned on/off?
- Do I have any outstanding bills?
- What’s the timeline for installation?
- How can I return old equipment?
Step 3: Make Sure the Service Is Working Properly
The final step is to make sure the utilities in your new home are set up, turned on, and functioning correctly. This is fairly easy to figure out.
Turn the lights on, check to see if you have running water, flush the toilet, turn on the heat/ac, and try connecting to the internet.
If there is any sort of issue, contact your provider immediately. They will likely send a technician to your house to resolve the problem.
It’s important to take care of a faulty utility right away. The last thing you want is something like no heat in the middle of winter. Not only will it be super cold, but your pipes could freeze, which may lead to something much worse.
Utility bills are often based on the usage of the service. For example, how much water you used that month, or the amount of fuel burned. Things like internet, cable, and home security more commonly have a fixed rate.
These charges are usually due on a monthly basis. To avoid a late payment, you can likely set up auto-pay.
While auto-payments are helpful, you should still check the details of the bill each month to ensure you’re being charged correctly.