How to Transfer Utilities When Moving: Steps & Checklist

March 10, 2023|

When it comes to moving, what usually comes to mind first are all the physical items we have at home and need to transfer to the new place. However, there is another very important part of the moving process, which implies transferring all the utilities. Normally, this is not paid enough attention, and ends up with people at their new homes without some of the essentials until they can eventually get things sorted. For this reason, we are here to make sure that your move goes as smoothly as possible, by helping you out with how to transfer your utilities and all you need to pay attention to.

1. Steps To Switch Utilities Smoothly When Moving

A woman with brown hair and a long cardigan receiving a envelope packet from a man with a blue shirt and a cap
A woman with brown hair and a long cardigan receiving a envelope packet from a man with a blue shirt and a cap

1.1 Research & Planning

Planning is an underrated habit. Ideally, you should plan before making anything in life. This way, you ensure that whatever you are doing goes the best way possible. In this case, it is very important that you plan in advance before transferring your utilities. At the end of the day, you don’t want to forget about anything, do you? It is recommended that you make a list, featuring all the utilities to be transferred, as well as how much time it could possibly take to get each of them done. Make sure to make this list at least a month before your move. This way, once you have everything organized, you can start, little by little, making all the transfers in no hurry. Bear in mind that you will have to transfer your old place’s utilities to the new owner, and make sure that your new place has everything to your name. More on this later.

1.2 Notifying (preferably 2-3 weeks before moving)

As mentioned, transferring utilities is not a thing that can be done from one day to another. It requires work from your side and collaboration from the other party involved in the move and from the supplier’s side to get everything done. Usually, getting all the documentation can take its time, so make sure you let the other party know what you will need a few weeks in advance, so that they have time to get the paperwork done. Regarding the supply companies, they can take up to a few weeks to make the switches, as they have a lot of these cases to handle. For this reason, make sure you start notifying every part involved at least 2 weeks prior to your move, so that they can get things underway as soon as possible and ideally have everything done for the day of your move.

1.3 Pay overdue bills (before moving!)

It is very important if you are eyeing a move, that you have all your bills paid to date. If this is not the case, whenever you request a switch of a service to the new owner, it will be denied until all the bills are paid. So, in order to avoid this potentially stressful situation, make sure to check a few weeks prior to your move, when you make the list of utilities to be transferred, that all payments to date are done. This way, the transfer is more likely to be smooth.

1.4 Organize when to switch on and off your utilities 

Everything related to moving requires neat organization. In this specific area of transferring utilities, it is key that you organize when to switch them on and off. You can mark the dates in your list, to have them in mind. When you talk to the providers, it is very important that you give them these specific dates, so that once you move out, the bills start coming to the new owners and you don’t end up having to pay bills that don’t belong to you anymore. Also, with some of the utilities, it is very important that you plan in advance, so that once you move into the new place, you already have the essentials and don’t have to wait for them to be installed, as it could happen with Internet service for example.

2. Don’t forget! Utility checklist

A blank checklist with one marked square with a pink check and a pink highlighter
A blank checklist with one marked square with a pink check and a pink highlighter

2.1 Cable / Satellite

Most of us enjoy watching some TV before going to bed, or having the news while we do the house chores. Ideally, you will want to have cable service as soon as you move. For this to happen, you might want to call your supplier and book an appointment at your new place the very same day you are moving in. It won’t take too long to get done, as the installation is usually very quick, and it will be one less thing to worry about during the next few days. Also, make sure to cancel your service at the old place before you move.

2.2 Internet

Very similarly, the same happens with Internet connection. In this case, if you have the router at home, it might even work if you take it to the new place and plug it in there. You might still want to notify the supplier in advance, to make sure there is no issue with that, and in any other case, to make sure that they are at your new place the moment you move in, so that you have that “essential” ready. This installation, as well as the cable service installation, are two things that could even be done a few days prior to the move, when you cancel the service on the other house.

2.3 Gas

This is more of an essential (not that the Internet isn’t, but, you know…), especially if your kitchen and thermotank are not electric. By the time prior to your move, you will have most likely checked that the house has the gas installation, so the only thing needed would be to activate it, or get it transferred to your name, which should be done by the previous owner. Make sure this is done before you move, so that you don’t end up without gas for a few days. Also, remember to transfer your old house’s gas service to the new owners.

2.4 Electricity

Even more essential is electricity, even if your kitchen and thermotank work with gas. With no electricity, you will not be able to charge your portable devices nor use any of the larger ones. Your new house will most likely have all the installation done, so again, the only necessary thing would be to transfer the service from your old house to the new owners, and make sure that you have the electricity bill to your name at your new house at the time of moving. At the end of the day, you don’t want to be stuck without electricity.

2.5 Landline Telephone

If you are one of those who still have the landline telephone at home, this is another service you better make sure to transfer. In most cases, it won’t be necessary to make any changes to the number itself, and it should work if you just plug it in at your new place. Nowadays, these technologies usually don’t require any kind of installation. Anyway, just to make sure everything works, give your supplier a call beforehand.

2.6 Water

People usually underestimate the importance of water in our everyday lives. But just think of going to the toilet, without water service… I guess that’s enough to understand how important it is. This being said, make sure everything is alright with the water bills at your new place before you move. You literally won’t be able to live there if there is no water. Also, as with the other utilities, make sure you transfer the water bills at your old place to the new owners.

2.7 Home Security (alarm)

Another utility that you must not forget about is your home security service. It is a bit different to the other ones, so make sure you have it in mind. This will probably require a desinstallation at your old place and an installation at the new one, so make sure that you book appointments in advance to get the job done by the technicians. Ultimately, having the alarm ready when you move in will make you feel safer at your new house.

2.8 Lawn Care

There are some services that don’t require to be transferred, but rather be notified about your move. An example of this is the lawn care team. You must let them know that you will no longer be living at your address, and share with them your new one, so that as from the following week, they take care of your garden at your new location.

2.9 Home Cleaning

Something similar happens with home cleaning. It is not a service that needs to be transferred, but your employee must be notified about your move, so that he or she can start working at the new place. Also, it would be a good idea to hire him or her for a day prior to the move, so that the new house is clean and ready for the move.

2.10 Waste & Recycling Management

In case you as a homeowner hire a company to take care of your trash and recycling, you must not forget to notify them as well about your move. Firstly, you must let them know that you will no longer be inhabiting your old place, so that they don’t keep going there. Once that is done, give them your new address, to make sure that their service is available at your new location. Once you receive confirmation and agree with the new price of the service (it might vary according to location change), all you have to do is to hire them again, usually throughout the supplier’s website.

3. FAQs

3.1 How to transfer utilities from seller to buyer?

  1. Start with time. This process can take up to a few weeks.
  2. Make a list of all the services that will need to be transferred.
  3. Call the providers to make the switches. Ask for any documentation that might be necessary.
  4. Once you have all the documents ready, discharge yourself from the house and provide the information of the buyer.

3.2 Does buyer or seller transfer utilities?

Usually, when it comes to house utilities, it is the seller who transfers them. This way, you make sure that you don’t end up paying for supplies that you are not making use of anymore.

3.3 How much does it cost to switch utilities over?

Costs vary depending on the utility and service provider. Some companies will charge a transfer or reconnect fee, so make sure you ask about this when calling to start the switch/set up. It might happen that some of the utilities are completely shut off, and in those cases, you’ll most likely have to pay a fee to get them back to service.

3.4 Can you transfer utilities with a balance?

No. All the bills must be up to date. Utilities can’t be transferred with due balances.

3.5 How long does it take to transfer utilities?

Transferring utilities usually takes 2-3 weeks to complete. The transfer itself can usually be done within 48 hours. However, you must start a few weeks in advance to make sure that everything is fine for the moment of your move.

3.6 Can you have utilities at two places?

Yes, you can have utilities to your name at two different places as long as the addresses in the bills are different. You can’t have the same utility duplicated under the same address.

3.7 How to transfer utilities to my name?

Contact the providers and request the change. Make sure that you have all the documents and paperwork ready, as they will probably request it.

3.8 Can you transfer utilities to another person?

You can, but it usually requires a lot of documentation. It depends on where you live. In the United States, some states will allow transferring utilities, while others will not. It is very dependent on the provider’s policies on how to do this, and it usually requires a lot of paperwork.

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