Posted by David Krulac on November 17, 2000 at 19:34:08:
it doesn’t mean don’t buy, it just means buy smartly.
Around here the electric utility uses a different color
wire tab on the meters that are turned off. So from 50 feet awat you can tell if the power company shut the electricity off. Electric/gas/water companies usually will tell when the last time utilities were turned on. The electric company here has a rule that if the power was off for more than a year, the new power customer/owner must have a third party inspection before the electricity will resume. Since they have that rule they must tell you when (more than a year) you need the inspection.
Water leaks can be hard to detect. Look for puddles, water stains, etc. Look inside the boiler cabinet, if the boiler is leaking, there may be rust on the chamber from a leak.
If there is reason to believe that there is freeze damage, factor it into your purchase price. Don’t assume that the mechanicals work, assume the worst and there’s less chance of getting burnt.
Sometimes it may pay to have the utilities turned on for a day or two at your costs to have your or a professional inspection, then turn the utilities back off. It will cost you a few bucks, but could arm you with information that no other bidder has. And after all isn’t real estate an information business?