One sometimes overlooked step in real estate transactions is starting and stopping (or transferring) your San Diego utilities. While some sellers sometimes elect to discontinue non-essential utilities like cable or satellite service beforehand, it is generally advisable to leave essential utilities like electric/gas and water service in place until close of escrow.
Aside from basic safety and courtesy, these San Diego utilities are typically needed for a thorough home inspection which the buyer is likely to conduct during their due diligence phase of the escrow period. Having functional lighting and plumbing can be an important part of that process, and it’s actually something that is contractually required in the current California Residential Purchase Agreement.
If a property is being fumigated for termites, the pest control company will schedule with the utility to have gas service shut off for the fumigation. After the fumigation, the prior or new homeowner will need to schedule restoration of gas service. The utility company will require the prior or new owner to be present when gas is restored to provide access to the property.
While we’re on the topic of continuing services, it’s also vital that sellers maintain appropriate insurance coverage on their property while their home is on the market and in escrow. That is not an area you want to pinch pennies, as doing so can come back to haunt you in potentially catastrophic ways. Buyers should similarly make sure appropriate insurance coverage is in place for when they close escrow.
I am sometimes asked my opinion about earthquake insurance here in San Diego. Earthquake insurance is NOT part of a typical homeowner’s insurance policy and is usually secured through supplemental coverage purchased through the California Earthquake Authority (or CEA). These policies often have high deductibles and tend to protect from catastrophic rather than minor earthquake damage. I personally purchase this insurance for my family and believe it is worthwhile peace of mind in the event of severe earthquake damage to our home. I would recommend contacting the CEA and discussing with your insurance professional to determine if it makes sense for you to purchase earthquake insurance.
The following are some very useful San Diego utility contacts whether you’re a seller that is about to close escrow and needs to stop or transfer your utility services, or a buyer looking to establish utility service before moving in.
Electric / Gas Service
San Diego Gas & Electric
San Diego City Water & Sewer Service
San Diego City Customer Care
San Diego Trash and Recycling Collection
The City of San Diego Environmental Services provides trash collection to most residences within the city. To find the collection days and schedule for your address, visit the Environmental Services Department Collection Services Search.
Trash and Recycling containers provided by the city are required to stay with a property when sold. If you have questions about missing, damaged or additional containers, visit the City’s Container Information Page.
Other San Diego Garbage collection resources include:
Allied Waste Services
Cable TV, High-Speed Internet, etc.
These services tend to be divided geographically. CableMover.com can help you decipher what company serves your address. The primary companies serving most of San Diego are listed below along with their contact information.
Satellite TV / Internet
If you have a landline telephone service in place or are looking to add one to a property you are moving into, you will most likely be contacting either an Internet service provider, or mostly likely a major telecom that provides landline service in your area (typically AT&T). Their phone is 877-712-4446.
The San Diego cable company providers noted above all typically offer phone service as well.
If you are attempting to bring a phone number to your new address, keep in mind that process can sometimes be challenging and time consuming. According to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), “If you’re switching service providers and remaining in the same geographic area, you can keep your existing phone number. This process – often referred to as phone number porting – can be done between wireline, IP and wireless providers.” For more tips and information, visit the FCC’s porting information page.
If you are unsure what water district applies to your address, you can use this online water district lookup tool.
San Diego Water Department
Carlsbad Municipal Water District
Del Mar Water Department
Encinitas (San Dieguito Water District)
Leucadia County Water District
Mt Helix Water District
Olivenhain Water District
Solana Beach / Olivenhain (Olivenhain Water District)
Vallecitos Water Department