Moving to a new home is one of the most exciting times and milestones in people’s lives. Then again, however, getting organized and packing up your entire life into boxes can be time-consuming and stressful.
With so much on your plate, setting up utilities is probably the last thing on your mind. But in order to have a smooth transition from your old home to your new home, you’ll need to cancel, transfer and/or turn on your utility services.
Luckily, we’ve put together this handy, stress-free checklist to make your moving experience a breeze.
1. Get Organized
First and foremost, make a list of all your current (and future) utility services, including but not limited to: gas and electricity, water, sewage, trash and recycling, internet and cable. In particular, you should be writing down the names of your utility providers and their contact information, as well as any relevant account information you may need.
If you own your old home, you likely know exactly which services you need to shut off or transfer. However, if you’re renting an apartment or house, utilities like water, sewage and garbage are usually included as part of your monthly rent. But with regard to cable TV, internet and electricity, you more than likely need to transfer those services to your new residence or cancel them outright.
2. Call Your Utility Service Providers
Now that you have all your utility service provider information ready to go, it’s time to give these providers a call. Find out which services need to be canceled permanently and which are eligible to be transferred to your new home. More specifically, be sure to ask your service providers the following:
- Are there any charges associated with changing services?
- Am I eligible for prorated utilities?
- Are there discounts for transferring service vs. canceling?
- How do I return existing equipment (i.e., router, cable box)?
- Does someone need to be home to shut off these services?
And if you’re keeping the same service provider, don’t forget to update your mailing address and any other contact information.
3. Pay Off Remaining Account Balances
The last thing you want to do when moving is to add more stress to your already busy life. Overdue or unpaid utility account costs can result in racking up late fees, being sent to collections or even negatively impacting your credit score. To avoid this, ensure all your utility accounts are current and all balances have been paid off.
In some cases, service providers may even owe you money, and you could be refunded for services you didn’t use if your utilities are being prorated for the last month of use. And, if you put down a deposit when opening the service account, you may be able to get the full amount or at least a portion of your money back. Whether you owe or are owed money, be sure to ask for detailed invoices from your utility providers to keep for your records.
4. Set Up Utility Services at Your New Home
By now, you have all the information you need to successfully cancel, transfer and/or set up new services. It may sound like a no-brainer, but it’s important to double-check that all utilities have already been shut off or at least are scheduled to be shut off after your move. Timing is crucial here since you don’t want to prematurely shut off the electricity while you’re still living in your old home. Once that’s taken care of, you can finally set up utility services at your new home.
Water, trash, electricity and gas should be set up first. However, these are considered public utilities and can usually be set up all at once by directly contacting your local municipality. On the other hand, internet and cable services are provided by privately-owned utility companies, meaning the options for choosing the right provider are endless.
To get started, find out which type of internet (DSL, cable, fiber) is best for your new home depending on your location. Then, choose an internet service provider in your area that provides fast and reliable connectivity. Cable or satellite TV can usually be set up last. And since various streaming services only require an internet connection, know that they have become a popular and low-cost option for watching TV and movies at home.
Make Your Move a More Seamless Process
Before moving into your new home, getting your utilities squared away should be high on your to-do list. Call your service providers, pay off any outstanding bills, and then decide whether to transfer or cancel and set up new services for your new home. Moving should be as seamless as possible, and it can be with this handy utility checklist.