Good questions and unfortunately a more common one these days with a short sale or foreclosure. Generally the responsibility of turning on the utilities for inspections falls on the seller. In the case of short sales and foreclosures, many of these properties document their inability or unwillingness to turn on the utitlies and place this responsibility on the buyers agent and the buyer. Lights are generally easy to get turned on as long as the meter is still at the property. The ones you have to watch out for are water and gas.
You may want to consult with someone about the potential for liability when turning on water or gas. What happens if there is a problem? They own it and you turned on the water or gas in your name and there is now a problem....do you have any liability? One of the last addendums that I saw a seller submit to the buyer included a liability clause placing liability for damage on the buyer. Make sure to ask questions and get an answer from an attorney before moving forward.
Gas is one of the most expensive to get turned on if the gas meter has been removed. Most cities will require that th eplumbing be inspected and tested for leaks by a licensed plumber before the city will sign off on allowoing the utiltiy company to come and replace teh gas meter and turn on gas service. This can take a couple weeks to do and push you outside the 7 to 10 days that you would have for inspections. Make sure to add time to your due dillegence period if it looks like the gas meter has been removed.
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Chris Schilling, ABR, GRI, CRS, GREEN
Real Estate Broker