Some utility companies will allow services to be turned on by a 3rd party, even with an outstanding unpaid utility bill. In some areas, especially Palmdale, Lancaster, the water company will not allow water to be turned on in the name of a 3rd party unless the outstanding bill is paid in full and the water company does not care that the party who pays the outstanding bill was not the previous account holder who failed to pay their bill.
I have run across this situation with increasing frequency. The seller is not willing to pay to keep the utilities on so if buyers want to conduct inspections that depend on them being on it is on the buyers to reactivate them. It is a risk because you want to know that things are in working order, but you have to bear the burden & expense of the utilities in order to make that happen. I would have my agent talk to the listing agent and see if they might be willing to assume the responsibility of reactivating the utilities. If not, you need to decide how much you want the house - enough to pay to reconnect the electricity so you can comfortably move forward? I feel like this is becoming a new expense for due diligence. It is a tough spot to be in.
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