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GlassyMcPete

join:2012-11-01

Buying a new home but not going to move in right away

Early next week I close on a new home. It is about an hour drive away and I don't plan to move in until probably 4-6 weeks later. What should I do about utilities? Turn them on? Wait? I don't' want to pay for stuff since I won't be there but I'll obviously need them enabled when I get there since I that will be my only home at that point (and my dog does *not* like to be cold so i need heat)

This is my first home so I don't know what is normal. Do the previous owners turn everything off regarding the power, gas, water, sewer company and I have to get them turned back on? If not, what bill issues are there (I'm guessing that would be a nightmare).

Should I just turn on/start paying utilities when I close or when a move in a month or two later?

If something like the power company is left on and I dont' have a contract with them, can they charge me for the time between when I move in and request service and the time I actually close (take ownership of the townhome)?


Warzau
Premium
join:2000-10-26
Naperville, IL
kudos:1
Where is it located? Depending on the weather keep them all off, BUT make sure you make appointments at least 2 weeks ahead so you're not moved in and can't have them come out for a week or so.

GlassyMcPete

join:2012-11-01
Cool, I didn't know if there could be issues with leaving utils off but it is a temperate climate, not warm in Nov/Dec and some freezing lows but not super hard freezes either.

It is quite inconvenient for me to go to the house/area just to sign something or be at the location since we have newborn triplets and my job requires me to be away alot (the new house is on the other side of town from the airport )

Thanks Warzau. Other future input from all much appreciated.


Zupper
Premium
join:2002-12-28
Novelty, OH
reply to GlassyMcPete
You might not have much of a choice but to transfer the utilities. It may be harder and/or more costly to let them get disconnected and then re-connected.

I would go ahead and just get them transferred. If you keep the lights off and heat down while you are not there, you won't have too much cost invested for the 4-6 weeks.


alkizmo

join:2007-06-25
Pierrefonds, QC
kudos:1

1 recommendation

reply to GlassyMcPete
A bit like when you move from apartment to apartment, for the utility, you get a read out of the meter when you move in.... HOWEVER, in this case, the timing would be when the previous owners move out or when you purchase the property (whichever is the later date). Do the same thing for water and gas (if present or metered)

Then you can either turn off the main breaker so nothing uses power, or if it is freezing outside, leave the breaker on for heating, but set the thermostat to 10-15 degrees above the freezing point. (Turn off the water heater though.)
Turn off the water main valve as well, for precautions in case a pipe still ends up freezing.

The utility company wouldn't come and cut off power and turn it back on for free. It would be cheaper to just pay the daily subscription fee + whatever little power is used for the heating during your absence.

When you move in, just turn back on the breakers (or the heat up).

Others might give their input regarding the water heater, since I know water heaters need to be set to a minimal temperature otherwise bacterias can grow. However I don't know if those bacterias would grow if the water heater is completely off (Because it's not warm enough for growth).

I think the most important part is to make sure the previous owners leave the house no more than a couple of days after the purchase. Don't let them squat for weeks just because you don't need the house yet.


jack b
Gone Fishing
Premium,MVM
join:2000-09-08
Cape Cod
kudos:1

1 recommendation

reply to GlassyMcPete
Typically on a home sale, the gas/electric/water utilities take a final reading for the seller and those then become the start readings for the buyer.

It's 1000% simpler to just leave them all on and just lower the thermostat or shut off the switch for the heat and close the main water supply valve at the service entrance if you're worried about leaks.

If you do have the utilities physically disconnected and need service restored, you will have to make appointments and may have to pay a service charge for the visit, or you may need to have a plumber or other contractor present to accept water/gas/electric utility service. There are too many things that can go wrong.

Do yourself a favor, just leave everything on.
--
~Help Find a Cure for Cancer~
~Proud Member of Team Discovery ~

averagedude

join:2002-01-30
San Diego, CA
Reviews:
·Cox HSI
said by jack b:

Typically on a home sale, the gas/electric/water utilities take a final reading for the seller and those then become the start readings for the buyer.

It's 1000% simpler to just leave them all on and just lower the thermostat or shut off the switch for the heat and close the main water supply valve at the service entrance if you're worried about leaks.

If you do have the utilities physically disconnected and need service restored, you will have to make appointments and may have to pay a service charge for the visit, or you may need to have a plumber or other contractor present to accept water/gas/electric utility service. There are too many things that can go wrong.

Do yourself a favor, just leave everything on.

^^2nd^^


Pacrat
Old and Cranky
Premium,MVM
join:2001-03-10
Cortland, OH
kudos:2
Reviews:
·Time Warner Cable
reply to GlassyMcPete
I agree with leaving the utilities on, but turning things off at the service entrance, yourself. You're not planning to move in for some time, but I guarantee that you'll be visiting the property and it'd be a real pain if you didn't have power or heat available to you immediately. Maintaining minimal service wont be that costly, compared to having everything turned off and then have to have everything turned back on. You're only talking about a month or so. Hell, I might even think of leaving a light or two on, on a timer, so that the home appears to be occupied during you absence.
--
Keep your eye on the ball, your shoulder to the wheel, your nose to the grindstone, and your ear to the ground. Now, try to work in that position!!!


Jon
Premium
join:2001-01-20
Lisle, IL
reply to GlassyMcPete
Don't most utilities offer some kind of (don't know what it's called) vacation thing like for snowbirds, where you can suspend service so there's no usage but they're not actually disconnected? Thought they did but I could be wrong.


alkizmo

join:2007-06-25
Pierrefonds, QC
kudos:1
said by Jon:

Don't most utilities offer some kind of (don't know what it's called) vacation thing like for snowbirds, where you can suspend service so there's no usage but they're not actually disconnected? Thought they did but I could be wrong.

I think they do, but that's only to save the monthly subscription fee, which would run higher than the disconnect/reconnect fee if calculated over 6 months.

For a month, it's not worth it.

robbin
Premium,MVM
join:2000-09-21
Leander, TX
kudos:1
reply to GlassyMcPete
If it were mine, I would have the utilities transferred into my name as of closing. Call the utilities ahead of time and have it scheduled for that date. It is cheaper to have them transferred than to have them turned back on. Additionally, the gas company doesn't have to relight pilots so you don't have to be there. Then, if the house has any photocell operated outside lights, leave one on so the house doesn't look so unoccupied.


nunya
LXI 483
Premium,MVM
join:2000-12-23
O Fallon, MO
kudos:12
Reviews:
·Charter
·voip.ms
reply to GlassyMcPete
I 3rd what Jack says. Leave them on, or you could create a major hassle which will far outweigh the costs of keeping them on. Sometimes if you transfer the service the utility won't charge a recon fee (although they still might charge a deposit).

Also, it always seems when you turn services off, even for a brief time, something goes wrong - like Murphy's law. When you go to turn it back on a pipe breaks, or the power company doesn't like condition / location of the meter, or the gas company forces a re-inspection before turn on. I've seen all of these happen.
--
If someone refers to herself / himself as a "guru", they probably aren't.

Tig

join:2006-06-29
Carrying Place, ON
Reviews:
·voip.ms
reply to GlassyMcPete
Agree with the comments about the accounts being transferred to your name as part of the closing of the sale. Consult your lawyer for details. They usually reconcile all utilities before the sellers are paid out. Eg: they pay their bills up to date, if any home heating fuel is involved (propane/oil) the tank is filled and you buy the full tank from the seller at current rates.
I would go into the house upon closing of the sale and turn off non essential circuits. eg heaters, well pumps etc. Anything that could mess up and cause mayhem in an unoccupied home.
One final thought is to consider your home insurance. An unoccupied home may or may not be covered. Perhaps weekend occupancy would be sufficient. Either way, it's best to be aware of your situation.


voided

@tmodns.net
reply to GlassyMcPete
other items not mentioned

leaving the power n water on is most convenient for you.
but responsibility liability begins for you at closing.

for the money either
get a written transfer of billings from the seller.
or arrange to pay seller prorated daily rate

more important is insurance which is often voided if vacant

so u might consider letting seller stay there til u ready or putting someine of your own in temporarily

closings often fail or are delayed

more important is to check w insurance. often insurance is voided if not occ


SANTYATWORK

@comcastbusiness.net
reply to GlassyMcPete
Another thing to consider is some loan companies require you to be fully moved in before 30 days are up.

When I bought my house it was a condition of the loan that I would be fully moved in and living in the new house within 30 days. Considering I was moving things after work and on weekends it took me almost that long to move in. New house was 32 miles from the one I moved out of.

guppy_fish
Premium
join:2003-12-09
Lakeland, FL
kudos:3
reply to GlassyMcPete
Homes don't like not being keep in a small temperature range, if you let the home get cold, you can get wood shrinkage, drywall can pop nails or screw, wall can crack .. its a false savings not to keep the house heated ( or cooled )

robbin
Premium,MVM
join:2000-09-21
Leander, TX
kudos:1
Totally agree, I always keep my houses heated and cooled even when they are empty.

graniterock
Premium
join:2003-03-14
London, ON
Reviews:
·WIND Mobile
·TekSavvy Cable
reply to GlassyMcPete
I echo what most are saying.... assume the utils now.... Gas / Hydro / Water at least. Regardless do phone the companies (even if to say disconnect) and don't assume the previous own remembered to cancel. I recorded my meter reader numbers just in case but in my case everything went fine.

zapattack

join:2012-07-02
CANADA
Verify with your insurance agent how often the premises must be checked. A local company in BC requires a COMPETENT person to check every few days, or your insurance is void. Also, if you are not living on the premises, you do not get a home-owner rate. Failure to disclose can be grounds for claim denial.

Critsmcgee

join:2011-12-02
Reviews:
·Verizon FiOS
reply to guppy_fish
said by guppy_fish:

Homes don't like not being keep in a small temperature range, if you let the home get cold, you can get wood shrinkage, drywall can pop nails or screw, wall can crack .. its a false savings not to keep the house heated ( or cooled )

Pipes can freeze but other then that houses have been unconditioned for a long time with wood and drywall without any issues.


Crauler1

@mycingular.net
reply to GlassyMcPete
Before you close make sure that you yourself do a walk through! Do not just rely on the home inspector. We had to replace our entire HVAC system because the home was forclosed and the previous owned dumped heavily urinated cat litter down the registers. We didnt notice it because the home had been cold and we immediately detected it after running the heat at night and my wife got a terrible upper respiratory infection from it. They did this in a few registers and evidently the ammonia and moistur promoted growth. Double check everything yourself first!!! You may want to stay a night yourself before you bring your kids and wife in you never know dude, it is not worth the risk! Run the hvac for a day before you move in


StepR
Code Warrior
Premium
join:2000-11-06
Elgin, IL
reply to GlassyMcPete
Leave the heat on so the pipes do not burst during a freeze. A low temperature saves money, but unplug the refrigerator since it will not cycle enough when the house is cool and since it is an energy hog. Lights on timers are a good idea.