Vacant Homes: Turning Utilities On- San Diego Home Inspector- Currently, the majority of the properties for sale here in San Diego County are short sales or bank-owned homes. By the time a property sells and I arrive to conduct the home inspection, it has likely been vacant for several months and the utilities have been turned off.
I make every effort to ensure the gas, water, and electricity have been turned on before the inspection date. At the time of appointment booking, I send email confirmations to the buyer, buyer's agent, and the listing agent regarding the scheduled inspection. The email states in bold red letters the need for all utilities to be turned on for a complete inspection. The email to the listing agent states that an additional fee will be assessed if a return trip to the property is required.
Yet, when I arrive on scene, the utilities are still turned off a large percentage of the time. If the utilities have been turned on by the utility company but are still off at the house (electric panel, water and gas meters), I do not mind turning them on, but it can be risky doing so. The vacant home may have been sabotaged by the previous owner or damaged by vandals. What if the home catches on fire when the circuit breaker is turned on, or floods when I turn the water on?
When turning on the utilities, I always make sure someone is inside the home to warn me if there are any problems. Most electric meters here in southern California have been replaced with "smart" meters. Here's a helpful tip: In addition to flipping the main circuit breaker, the smart meter has a "reset" button that must also be pushed before the power will turn on!
Vacant Homes: Turning Utilities On- San Diego Home Inspector- The lack of seller disclosure can be a disadvantage when buying a distressed home. A good property inspection by an experienced home inspector will let the buyer know what issues they may have to face with their new home. Steve Stenros- First Choice inspections, a San Diego home inspector, can be reached for appointment at 888-335-3040. Steve is a CREIA-certified inspector with the MCI designation. Clients receive a FREE lifetime appliance RecallChek with every standard home inspection.