In today's market, short sales and foreclosures make up a sizable portion of the inventory. Many of them have the utilities turned off to save the seller some money, especially if it is taking a while to sell...little do they know that this could possibly cost them more than they bargained for...
In Tucson, if the electric is off for 6 months or more, one must obtain a "Re-connect Permit" from the city or county before service can be restored. It used to be that you went down to the Public Works Building, paid your $75 and an inspector would be out the next day to look at the panels, check around the house for possible major problems and give the OK to have the electric company turn on the juice...not anymore, buddy!
the home has to be brought up to standards BEFORE a permit will be issued. No if's, &'s, but's or exceptions.
For newer homes, this isn't such an issue...but for older homes, it can be an expensive proposition for a seller already strapped for cash (or a bank holding a lot of real estate in its portfolio). For buyers, well...who wants to put money into a home that you aren't even sure you want to buy without seeing if everything works or not?
Most of the general public doesn't know about this rule...which was implemented just this past April.
In the case that a seller cannot afford, or refuses to bring the home up to code, the house is going to sit...and sit.....and sit........and deteriorate..........and be worth less money...........become a target for vandals....................you get the picture.
The smart buyer and agent, knowing this regulation, will check the age of the prospective home AND call the utility company to see how long it has been without power before even thinking about viewing it.
The smart seller will keep the utilities on, so that their returns don't diminish even further. Saving a few bucks now can cost a whole whale of a lot down the road a few months. Make it possible for buyers to have solid inspections done without the hassle of having the basics turned on for a day.
Foreclosure companies can save themselves a lot of headaches down the road if they take Tom Bodette's saying to heart: "We'll leave the light on for you!"