Moving While Expecting Kids? Sort Out Your Utilities First
Water, heat, electricity, and gas are important services that keep the home safe — especially if you have a child on the way. That’s why it’s important to have everything set up before you move from one home to the next. Here’s why you need to transfer your utilities well in advance, and how to do it while saving money.
Why planning ahead is essential
If you have a new baby on the way, you already know you’ll need to be able to warm up their bottles. If you also have older children in the home, having access to electronic entertainment can be indispensable in managing your household. All of this requires having utilities set up before you arrive at your new home.
Amy Ruwe was seven weeks pregnant and raising a seven-year-old with her husband during their big move. Upon learning their closing date, she called ahead to the utility company that would be servicing their new home. The new company ran a credit check and didn’t require a deposit.
Was Amy nervous about whether everything would be turned on in time for their arrival? “Yes! I did worry about that! However, the utilities were left on, and we had made arrangements for them to be transferred into our name on a certain day,” she shares. By calling their new utility company well in advance of their move, Amy was able to check one major item off of her family’s moving to-do list.
Learn the utility companies’ policies
Every utility company has its own policy, with some requiring more notice than others. At least 30 days ahead of a move, call both the old and new companies and ask what their policies entail. Do they need written notice of service? Will you have to be in the new home to have services turned on? Is transferring simply a matter of calling ahead? Keep your house rental or purchase paperwork on hand to provide documentation of your move, if asked.
Ask about deposits
Many people fail to plan for deposits on new utility services, which can range from $50 to $500 or more. Companies may use your credit score or past payment history to determine if a deposit is warranted, while others will charge every customer. However, some companies will offer a discount for those who get their payments automatically drafted from their bank accounts each month.
You’ll also want to collect any old deposits from the services you leave behind. Those extra dollars can go a long way toward bills at the new house.
A word on proration
Many utility companies will refund you for any part of the month that you don’t use, a practice called “proration.” Some, however, won’t. In this instance, you’ll pay for an entire month, even if you move out within the first few days of a billing cycle. To ensure you don’t overpay for a month you won’t use, ask about the proration policy at both the old and new utility companies. If possible, time your move or services so that you can pay less in the end.