Note to Seller - keep your utilities on even if the home is vacant.

By
Real Estate Agent with Results Realty

Selling a house in Northwest HoustonI am amazed at how many vacant houses that I show where the utilities have been turned off.  I personally think this is a hindrance to selling the house, especially in Houston in the summer time.  When I show a vacant house in the summer with the heat the way it is we breeze through; as it is too miserable to stay long.  The other thing that seems to happen is the home gets an odor, it almost smells like mildew.  I have spoke to home inspectors about this and they have said it can cause issues. 

With the time getting ready to change it is going to start getting dark earlier and earlier.  There are certain clients who can only see homes after work and if the utilities are not on that is almost impossible.  I have tried to show with a flash Sold homes in Northwest Houstonlight but I have not found it to work. 

Keeping your utilities on is also going to make it easier once you get a contract.  If your utilities are off you are going to have to get them all turned on for inspections.  This can take up to a week for all the utilities to get turned back on.  I have a situation happening right now where we have to wait for the gas to be turned on to finish our inspections.  I'm not sure why the gas is the one that usually gets turned off but it is.  Probably it is because our weather is so mild we don't use our gas furnaces that much.

I realize that it is an extra expense leaving the utilities on when you are not living there but I think a "Sold" home will be the return on your investment.

For all your real estate needs, contact me today!
Marchel Peterson
Results Realty
Cell: 832-721-8332

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Rainmaker
640,198
Marchel Peterson
Results Realty - Spring, TX
Spring TX Real Estate E-Pro
Mary, I have never understood why seller's turn off the utlities.  If they visit their own house they must realize it is pretty miserable. 
Sep 26, 2007 09:25 AM #10
Rainmaker
640,198
Marchel Peterson
Results Realty - Spring, TX
Spring TX Real Estate E-Pro
Mike, you are right no utilites does make the home seem like a foreclosure.  I had not even thought of that.
Sep 26, 2007 09:30 AM #11
Rainmaker
640,198
Marchel Peterson
Results Realty - Spring, TX
Spring TX Real Estate E-Pro
Missy, thanks for stopping by.  I'm also hopeful that some seller's will take note.  It is really miserable showing vacant homes here in the summertime.
Sep 26, 2007 09:32 AM #12
Rainmaker
640,198
Marchel Peterson
Results Realty - Spring, TX
Spring TX Real Estate E-Pro
Candy, I have had it take up to a week getting those utilities back on which runs havoc with the option period. 
Sep 26, 2007 09:33 AM #13
Rainmaker
640,198
Marchel Peterson
Results Realty - Spring, TX
Spring TX Real Estate E-Pro
Paual and Thesa, I had not even thought about the flip of this but I'm sure it is really miserable in the winter time up north to show a vacant house.  I sure hope they have them winterized before they turn them off up there that could be a really expensive lesson with broken pipes.
Sep 26, 2007 09:35 AM #14
Rainmaker
640,198
Marchel Peterson
Results Realty - Spring, TX
Spring TX Real Estate E-Pro
Tom, you can't imagine how many vacant homes that I show and my client is asking me what that smell is.  They do get musty fast here.
Sep 26, 2007 09:36 AM #15
Rainmaker
75,367
Robert Monk
100% Realty, Inc. - Santa Rosa Beach, FL
Florida Real Estate
You would think that leaving the utilities on is not something a seller would need to be told, but you bring the proof....
Sep 26, 2007 10:37 AM #16
Ambassador
1,451,885
Jennifer Fivelsdal
JFIVE Home Realty LLC | 845-758-6842|162 Deer Run Rd Red Hook NY 12571 - Rhinebeck, NY
Mid Hudson Valley real estate connection
This is a great point, it amazes me that people turn off the utilities, I know of a case where the pipes froze.  Also when renting a house the landlord might want to keep the electricity in his name as well as the heating oil deliver.  if in tenant's name and the bills goes unpaid the consequence could be severe.
Sep 26, 2007 02:26 PM #17
Anonymous
Anonymous
Anonymous

This is a great blog! Yes please keep it on especially in Texas where it is 100 outside and 150 in the house!! Plus Realtors please go behind your clients and watch what they do. I had a client who's home was for sale. They kept the utilities on. Someone looking at the home and used the bathroom up stairs. Let the toilet get hung up and did not tell the Realtor and they left. A couple of days later another Realtor showed the home and called to let me know that the upstairs bathroom toilet had overflowed and was running and that the upstairs was flooded, it was raining to the downstairs. It did about $10,000 worth of damage!

Carla Cullum

Keller Williams Flower Mound Texas

Sep 26, 2007 04:54 PM #18
Rainmaker
640,198
Marchel Peterson
Results Realty - Spring, TX
Spring TX Real Estate E-Pro

Robert, I agree you would think this is a no brainer; especially when you live somewhere that is really HOT but you wouldn't believe how many homes I show that don't have the utilities on and they are not foreclosures.  Like Mike said not having them on makes them look like a foreclosure though.

Sep 26, 2007 07:19 PM #19
Rainmaker
640,198
Marchel Peterson
Results Realty - Spring, TX
Spring TX Real Estate E-Pro
Jennifer, great point on the tenant side.  We don't have to deal with frozen pipes but I can see where that would be a major issue up north.
Sep 26, 2007 07:20 PM #20
Rainmaker
640,198
Marchel Peterson
Results Realty - Spring, TX
Spring TX Real Estate E-Pro

Carla, how awful for your client; $10,000 for a running toilet.  All they probably would have had to do was jiggle the handle.  It is MISERABLE showing vacant houses in Texas in the summertime!!!!!!

Sep 26, 2007 07:22 PM #21
Rainer
71,677
Rita Taylor
None - Sanford, NC
Sanford NC Real Estate - Homes for Sale in Sanford North Carolina

Marchel,

I agree with Mike's above comment - turning off the utilities makes the home like a foreclosure.  It makes it much harder for people to imagine themselves in the home.   

Sep 26, 2007 10:26 PM #22
Rainmaker
640,198
Marchel Peterson
Results Realty - Spring, TX
Spring TX Real Estate E-Pro
Rita, I had not thought about the house looking like a foreclosure with the utilities off until Mike commented on it but I agree also.  Here they also start getting a musty smell that is a real turn off.
Sep 26, 2007 10:59 PM #23
Rainer
6,816
Monica Rainey
First National Realty - Olive Branch, MS
I agree .. how can a buyer really no what they are looking at.. I think it costs the seller more to leave the power off in some cases , I have had buyers walk away from property because it made them feel the seller may be hiding something.
Sep 27, 2007 02:26 PM #24
Rainmaker
640,198
Marchel Peterson
Results Realty - Spring, TX
Spring TX Real Estate E-Pro
Monica, you make another good point as to why sellers need to leave the utilities on.  I have also had people think something must be wrong with the house when there are no inside pictures in MLS.  Thanks for stopping by. 
Sep 27, 2007 04:01 PM #25
Rainer
100,660
Cheri Smith
Prudential Gary Greene, Cypress TX - Cypress, TX
Realtor Prudential Gary Greene
I walked into one the other day and the panelling and some leftover funiture had started to MOLD! It had this "fungus" growing on every wood surface in the home. It smelled horrible. No one understands about keeping the utilities on until they have to pay the deposits to get them back on for inspections!!
Sep 27, 2007 04:38 PM #26
Rainmaker
640,198
Marchel Peterson
Results Realty - Spring, TX
Spring TX Real Estate E-Pro
Cheri, there are times that I walk out of a house and think I need to go home and take a shower; that is really sad.  It would make so much more sense to spend the little bit of extra money to keep the utilities on.  Thanks for stopping by.
Sep 27, 2007 05:07 PM #27
Rainer
103,109
Armando Rodriguez
QUEST REALTY SERVICES - Orlando, FL
Orlando Homes 4 Sale, Real Estate Broker-GRI

Very good post-I totally agree.

Thanks for sharing it.

Sep 29, 2007 11:09 AM #28
Rainer
17,342
Shellee Ashmore
The Inner Iris Photography - Spring, TX
I was thankful for the utilities being left on in my new home. It made the process of switching over a lot easer and faster. I have heard many stories of how long others had to live without utilities when they moved in. It definitely is a major help to the buyer plus being able to see the house after dark is always a happy thing for an agent who may be showing a house in winter when it gets dark so early.
Sep 30, 2007 09:04 AM #29
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Rainmaker
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Marchel Peterson

Spring TX Real Estate E-Pro
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