Results Realty Buzz: Note to Seller - keep your utilities on even if the home is vacant.

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

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

Comment balloon 29 commentsMarchel Peterson • September 25 2007 04:09PM

Comments

Turning the utilities back on is a huge pain.  Plus, how are you going to do a decent home inspection if the utilities are off?  Good advice, Marchel.
Posted by Jolynne Photography, Creative Wedding Photography, Family Portraits, Bar Mitzvahs, Bat Mitzvahs, Senior Pictures, Event Photography (Jolynne Photography) almost 12 years ago
Joey, it is a PAIN to turn those utilites back on and I had it take up to a week!  Thanks for stopping by.
Posted by Marchel Peterson, Spring TX Real Estate E-Pro (Results Realty) almost 12 years ago
Marchel...good reminder to everyone.  It's the same here...with the temps at 110 to 117 in the summer it's mighty HOT in a house with no electricity!  Same in winter when it's cold out.  The utilities have to be turned on for the final walk-thru, and it costs to turn them back on, so why not just leave them on through the listing period and set the temps accordingly.
Posted by Mary Warren almost 12 years ago

No heating and cooling make me rush through a house.  It is too hard to point out the good points when people are freezing or sweating.

No utilities make decent homes show like foreclosures!

Posted by Mike Jaquish, 919-880-2769 Cary, NC, Real Estate (Realty Arts) almost 12 years ago
Absolutely !! Great post and I hope many Realtors read this !!
Posted by Missy Caulk, Savvy Realtor - Ann Arbor Real Estate (Missy Caulk TEAM) almost 12 years ago

Hi Marchel, You are absolutely right!  It makes it such a hassle to try and do inspections and get the utilities on in a timely manner. 

Posted by Candy Henthorne, Spring Texas Real Estate (Results Realty) almost 12 years ago
Marchel - Especially in the winter when pipes can freeze here in the Midwest. i just told a seller the other day he would need to leave the utilities on!
Posted by Paula Henry, Realtor - Indianapolis Real Estate - 317-605-4174 (Home to Indy Team @ HomeSmart Realty Group) almost 12 years ago
I always am dumbfounded by this too - think of showing a home when the outside temp is 20 and the high for the week has been 36 and there is no heat.... we do not spend anytime there either
Posted by Thesa Chambers, Principal Broker - Licensed in Oregon (Fred Real Estate Group) almost 12 years ago

Great advice.... especially for the inspections.

And you are right.... a musty old house in the summertime doesn't make me want to stay and look long. Especially in the humid area you work

Posted by Tom Burris, Texas/Louisiana Mortgage Pro - 13 YRS Experience (NMLS# 335055) almost 12 years ago
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. 
Posted by Marchel Peterson, Spring TX Real Estate E-Pro (Results Realty) almost 12 years ago
Mike, you are right no utilites does make the home seem like a foreclosure.  I had not even thought of that.
Posted by Marchel Peterson, Spring TX Real Estate E-Pro (Results Realty) almost 12 years ago
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.
Posted by Marchel Peterson, Spring TX Real Estate E-Pro (Results Realty) almost 12 years ago
Candy, I have had it take up to a week getting those utilities back on which runs havoc with the option period. 
Posted by Marchel Peterson, Spring TX Real Estate E-Pro (Results Realty) almost 12 years ago
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.
Posted by Marchel Peterson, Spring TX Real Estate E-Pro (Results Realty) almost 12 years ago
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.
Posted by Marchel Peterson, Spring TX Real Estate E-Pro (Results Realty) almost 12 years ago
You would think that leaving the utilities on is not something a seller would need to be told, but you bring the proof....
Posted by Robert Monk, Florida Real Estate (100% Realty, Inc.) almost 12 years ago
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.
Posted by Jennifer Fivelsdal, Mid Hudson Valley real estate connection ( JFIVE Home Realty LLC | 845-758-6842|162 Deer Run Rd Red Hook NY 12571) almost 12 years ago

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

Posted by Carla Cullum (Integrity Team Keller Williams Flower Mound ) almost 12 years ago

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.

Posted by Marchel Peterson, Spring TX Real Estate E-Pro (Results Realty) almost 12 years ago
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.
Posted by Marchel Peterson, Spring TX Real Estate E-Pro (Results Realty) almost 12 years ago

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!!!!!!

Posted by Marchel Peterson, Spring TX Real Estate E-Pro (Results Realty) almost 12 years ago

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.   

Posted by Rita Taylor, Sanford NC Real Estate - Homes for Sale in Sanford North Carolina (None) almost 12 years ago
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.
Posted by Marchel Peterson, Spring TX Real Estate E-Pro (Results Realty) almost 12 years ago
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.
Posted by Monica Rainey (First National Realty) almost 12 years ago
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. 
Posted by Marchel Peterson, Spring TX Real Estate E-Pro (Results Realty) almost 12 years ago
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!!
Posted by Cheri Smith, Realtor Prudential Gary Greene (Prudential Gary Greene, Cypress TX) almost 12 years ago
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.
Posted by Marchel Peterson, Spring TX Real Estate E-Pro (Results Realty) almost 12 years ago

Very good post-I totally agree.

Thanks for sharing it.

Posted by Armando Rodriguez, Orlando Homes 4 Sale, Real Estate Broker-GRI (QUEST REALTY SERVICES) almost 12 years ago
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.
Posted by Shellee Ashmore (The Inner Iris Photography) almost 12 years ago

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