Utilities are essential when you have your home listed for sale… and while it is “under contract”. Having the utilities on will enable potential buyers to see the proper function of the entire home and all it’s systems. Buyers will want to see how the home functions, Inspectors will need to verify what is and isn’t working, Appraisers will need to ensure that the home meets basic HUD guidelines and all of this is impossible without having the utilities TURNED ON.
If utilities are disconnected for nonpayment, they often can't be turned back on unless the previous delinquency is paid, this places a burden on both the buyer and seller. Sometimes sellers don't think about the utilities when they're getting ready to move and vacate. Of course, they'll want to make sure to begin service at their new home, but sometimes they're so distracted and overwhelmed with the moving process that they don't realize that turning off the utilities at their existing home could carry consequences.
As a seller: You can call ahead of time to schedule the termination for your utilities, however it is important to stay vigilant about the closing date. If the date is to change you need to contact the service provider again and update them with the new changes. Be sure to keep all utilities on right up until closing. The buyer has the right to do a final walk through and will need to be sure that all systems and appliances are in the same good working order as expected.
As a buyer: Make sure you CALL AHEAD OF TIME and schedule to transfer all of the utilities in your name on the day of closing. Most utility companies give you the ability to schedule things to be transferred in your name without interruption from the previous owner. If the closing date has to be delayed or moved up, it’s just a quick phone call to update the utility company.
Leaving the utilities connected while selling a home makes the process easier for the buyer, the appraiser and the home inspector. Keeping utilities on can also prevent damage and provide security. MORAL OF THE STORY… don't turn off the utilities until after you've officially closed the deal and signed the papers!!