Seller wants to shut off utilities, still have not closed...

15 Replies

I just got a call from my realtor letting me know that the listing agent is asking if we need the utilities on anymore.  They would like to shut down the utilities since inspection is done and she is saying that they do not have any reason to keep it on.  

We are closing on September 12th and all inspections have been done and we are definitely buying the home.  

This is our first rental home and not to sure if this is a problem or if this is normal.  Just looking for any advice regarding this process.  Is this normal?  Should I push for it to be left on or is it fine to have them shut it all off?  

Thank you BP!

What are you worried about?  If you are that concerned just turn them on in your name.

Not worried, this is just my first time buying a rental property so I am just asking any questions that come up.  I guess this is normal so I really have nothing to worry about.  Thanks for your help.

If I am going to be eventually doing a little bit of work to the house should I just turn it on in my name or should I wait till after closing to turn it back on.  

Its still their houses.  They could shut off utilities without your permission, so they're being courteous and asking if you still need them.

Does the house have galvanized pipes?  If so, you are far better off leaving them on, assuming you're not planning to replace the plumbing already.  If you shut off the water and galvanized ends up empty (full of air) you will start getting rust and sediment as the air interacts with the damp and likely already rusty insides of the pipe.

No problem.  If it was in winter then there would be a legitimate concern over pipes freezing.

@Jonathan Gregori  

 I wouldn't necessarily call it "normal" but it's certainly not unheard of.  The only problem I can think of immediately would be winter in a cold place where you'd run the risk of frozen pipes, etc.  In that case, as someone pointed out above, you could always set up the utilities in your name ahead of closing (some utilities may not allow that but most will).  That said, looks like you are in the South and it's early September, so pretty low risk...

If you are using the standard TREC One to Four Family Residential Contract that agents in Texas use, then they are supposed to keep utilities on while the contract is in effect. 

See Paragraph 7A

7. PROPERTY CONDITION:

A. ACCESS, INSPECTIONS AND UTILITIES: Seller shall permit Buyer and Buyer’s agents access to the Property at reasonable times. Buyer may have the Property inspected by inspectors selected by Buyer and licensed by TREC or otherwise permitted by law to make inspections. Seller at Seller's expense shall immediately cause existing utilities to be turned on and shall keep the utilities on during the time this contract is in effect.

Yeah not to worried about freezing pipes.

Thank you @Matt G.   maybe i will point that out to my realtor and see what she says.

If you are planning to do a walk through just before the settlement, then you want the utilities on. 

This is why I love BP,  thank you all for helping this rookie!

I always would want to keep utilities on. I want electric on to keep A/C running (in FL), and that would be the same reason I would want them on in your case. The higher humidity in the house with the A/C off can cause mildew growth and in the case of wood or laminate flooring causes them to expand. In extreme cases this can cause damage due to buckling. 

I just bought a house last week. I was concerned about the same things. My realtor said that I could change the utilities any time since we had an accepted offer. It was about four days ahead of closing and I went ahead and did it no problems.

That's odd, I would think they would just get them turned off day of closing, that's what people do here, they call in advance to have utilities stop being billed in their name day of closing. In your area do they actually turn the utilities off, or just come read the meter so they know what the final bill is? I would definitely want utilities functioning for the final walkthrough so you don't find out later after closing that the furnace or A/C or whatever stopped working.

Out here in California, it is cheaper in most instances to just transfer utilities to a new name rather than turn them off and turn them back on.

Get the Ultimate Beginner's Guide

Sign up today to receive the popular eBook for free!