Sellers, Keeping Up With Your End of The Bargain

by Mike Yeo on October 29, 2011

I have 2 transactions that stalled out because of this incident, thus I figure I should blog about it.

Transaction 1: Short sale seller moved out when we submitted the offer. 30 days later, the contract was approved, hence we proceeded on Buyer’s performances of the contract. Turned out, the Seller would not turn utilities on, hence it would be impossible to check some important items in the house such as water heater, furnace and a/c unit. Short sale seller owed over $800 in utility bills. In order to have it turned on, the account needs to be brought up to current.

Listing agent’s advice: Have your buyers turn it on. They are going to buy the house anyways. You’re getting too emotional in this transaction. Tell your buyers they are buying this house for very cheap. Plus, this house is only 3 years old. Nothing should go wrong.

Transaction 2: Seller would not turn on gas in her name.  She hasnt lived in the house in over 5 years. She does not have a gas account.

Listing agent’s advice: Only the water heater is affected. The inspector can check everything except for the water heater. It should be covered under warranty anyways if it is broken.


Okay, I must admit that I learnt from my very 1st listing I sold some 6 years ago, that the Seller moved out and have utilities turned off. Come inspection, the Buyer’s agent then chewed me out, almost belittled me because I reiterated my client’s wishes to request for Buyers to turn on in their names. Oh no. That didn’t go very far. In the end, my Seller clients had to turn it on in order to sell it.

So, some 6 years later, I have 2 back-to-back transactions stall out because of utility/ inspection issue.

Buyers will spend somewhere between $300-$400 for a home inspection. The Sellers should keep up with their end of the bargain by providing utilities on: water, electric and gas. No, buyers should not turn utilities on in their names, not knowing what turns out with the inspection.

Real estate is NOT rocket science. It’s not too hard to figure out how to treat others fairly in a transaction. Mr. and Mrs. Sellers, if you were the Buyers, would you turn utilities on in your name – not knowing if you would end up buying it?

How about this? What if I wanted to sell you my car? Can I just tell you, it should be fine? You trust me enough to take my word for it? What if I didn’t want to put gas in my car for you to test drive it? If gas cost $150 just for you to test drive, would you walk away from the deal?

When in doubt, treat others the way you want to be treated. Fairly and honestly.


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Sellers, Keeping Up With Your End of The Bargain.

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