When Buying a Home Don’t Forget Setting Up Utilities

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Seasonal freezing weather makes us appreciate our heat and utilities more than usual. The importance is magnified when you consider that without heat, you’re opening yourself to burst pipes and health risks. It’s why setting up new service for new homeowners is so important.

Setting up utilities can take a bit of time and juggling to ensure that your lights, heat and other services are still functioning while you’re packing up your old home and are running when you arrive and settle into your new space.

Who Will be Your New Provider?

Depending on where you’re moving to, your current provider may not service your new neighborhood.

Or you may be moving to another area of the country which may have different regulations and set-up processes for utility services. Many city and state websites will provide information for newcomers, including utility company and service provider details.

The best thing to do is to Google utilities in your new city. Most cities provide local services such as garbage pickup, sewer, water services and recycling as well.

Editor’s Note: In our Central Maryland home market our electric distributor is Baltimore Gas & Electric (known as BGE), and Excelon company. 

How Early Should You Be Setting Up Utility Services?

To be safe, it’s best to contact the new provider at least two weeks before your actual move-in date. While many utility companies can do a three to five-day turnaround, some will need at least a week to ten days in order to get things set up.

It all depends on when you move – during peak moving season, such as summer months, the wait-time for services will be longer.

Similarly, some companies will require at least two weeks notice for disconnection, too. Before you call, make sure you have firm move-out and move-in dates. And remember when booking service connection and disconnection, it’s important to ask what time the service will be completed.

To be safe, book the service for the day before our arrival, just to make sure the lights and heat are working for our move-in. You don’t want to find out a day before settlement that the power will be turned off the next day… And it’ll take a week to restart.

How Do You Apply for Utility Service?

Every utility company has their own policy and process when it comes to signing you up for new services.  If you’re moving to a new state or to another country, such as from Canada to the US. You might have to provide a deposit for most of your services, only because the companies can’t always guarantee a solid credit check.  This may require that you pay a higher fee up front. But once the company knows you’ll pay your bills, you’ll receive your deposit back.

If you are moving across the country or to a new city its worth starting early. The usual steps in setting up utilities include the completion of an application (usually online) plus a credit check.

Don’t Forget to Check For Discounts

Again, if you don’t have a good credit rating or are just moving into your first home and haven’t had services before, the company will probably ask for a deposit.  Remember that the security deposit can be, in some cases, quite substantive. Depending on the amount of usage that your property may consume. Call the company or log onto their website for more details.

Also, keep in mind that many times companies will offer incentives for first-time consumers. So use your negotiating skills to get a better deal or to have the security deposit waived.

Ask the provider what you can do to lower your bills and whether they provide any support for first time home owners.

Finally, once you’ve had your utilities set up, remember to keep track of your billing dates and payment options so you’re not left in the dark.

Alexander’s Note: You can find out more about stopping, starting or moving your utility services at BGE.com.

BGE is a regulated utility company, that provides the power. However is the state of Maryland consumers have the ability to select their energy provider. You can learn more at BGE.com.

Anything thing that you can do is look through their options for energy savings. From high frequency days energy savings days, to PEAK Rewards and gas conversion, our local utility gives consumers lots of options to lower that dreaded utility bill. 

Also, fun fact, if you are interested in a home you can call up BGE. They will tell you what the average monthly utility bill was for the prior year. Unless the home has been vacant you’ll get a good idea of what your utility bill could look like. IF you do that, be sure to ask the current homeowner what kind of utility user they are. Some people run their house like a morgue while others keep it tropical. Don’t expect your usage patterns are going to be the same. 

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The professionals at Wissel Homes know the Central Maryland market because it’s our home too. We live and breathe the local neighborhoods in Howard County, Carroll County, Baltimore County, Anne Arundel County and more. We understand what it takes to get the job done right. Contact us today to set up an appointment to list your home or to start the home buying process. Let our experience help move you into your dream home.