Can I Sell My House with Past Due Utility Bills?

house keychain with dollars

There are so many things going on during a house sale that little details can be overlooked. If you plan to sell your home and move out, what happens to the utilities? 

Should you leave them running or cancel them? Who pays for the accumulated bills? Have you ever pondered this question: Can I sell my house with past due utility bills? 

Sellers often fail to consider their utility bills until they move out of the house. Unpaid utility bills will warrant disconnection of the services and put a lien on the property. It may hold up the sale and will not look enticing to many buyers. 

But, there is a way you can amend it for a smooth sailing sale transaction without encumbrances on the title. Here’s all you need to know about the utility bills when selling the house. 

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Can I Sell My House with Past Due Utility Bills?

You may sell a house with delinquent utility bill payments, but sometimes it can slow down the sale. Buyers are not always keen on buying properties with unpaid balances. The burden is in the transfer of title, which can be difficult if there are liens on the property. Buyers may walk out on you at the last minute on closing. 

It might sound unfair, especially if you have already moved out of your home. However, it is important that you keep the utilities up and running while selling. You, as the seller, can terminate the services on the date following the buyer’s possession. 

house utility bills concept

Effect of Unpaid Utility Bills on a House for Sale

Unpaid utility bills not only pose a liability for the seller, but more importantly, they may put a lien on the property

A lien is a legal claim against the property held as collateral for the debt. There are many types of liens, like a mortgage, which is a voluntary lien. It allows the lender to foreclose the property in case of delinquent payments.

There are also involuntary liens placed by third-party creditors or the government against the property in case of non-payment. Being involuntary, these liens are placed on your property, even without your consent. 

The creditors can use them against you for legal recourse if you fail to fulfill your financial obligation. It includes property tax, code violations, special assessments, tangible personal property tax, and utility liens, among others. 

Can I Sell My House with Past Due Utility Bills and Go Unnoticed by Buyers?

In Denver, investment buyers can conduct a lien search on a property. Interested persons may check the pending local and federal debt of a house in the market. 

It is a public record obtained through personal inquiry or checking online databases to retrieve all the information on a property in question. 

Even if you fail to disclose the debts and violations of your home, buyers can more or less access these data. The nondisclosure can ward off prospective buyers perceiving the sale as a fraud. The only way to clear a title is to pay off all the outstanding debts of the house. 

Why is it Important to Leave the Utilities Connected?

If you move out to a new home but intend to sell the previous one, it is necessary to keep your utilities in place. It is not only a courtesy to the next occupants but for more important reasons. Buyers will likely test the electricity, water, gas, and sewer on a site visit, so they should be functional. 

On a different note, sellers are also obliged to disclose the condition of the house when listing it. It includes all the violations and unpaid liabilities so buyers know of the additional costs they can incur. 

The State Disclosure Requirement requires sellers to stipulate all adverse material facts regarding the property. Leaving the utilities turned on will be easier to reference all the issues in the disclosure.  

Utilities include services such as: 

  • Electricity
  • Water
  • Gas
  • Sewer
  • Satellite
  • Telephone
  • Cable and internet
  • Security system

You can opt out of other unnecessary services not needed for the sale before moving out. An example could be your cable service, satellite, or television. However, it is essential to keep relevant utilities connected for the following reasons: 

For Home Inspection and Walk-Throughs

After signing the contract to sell, local building authorities will proceed with the home inspection. They will assess the overall structure of the house and recommend repairs in case of building code violations.

Home inspectors will likely check on the electrical and wiring installation, which needs a working energy source. They will also test the water pressure, receptacles, and gas source for their functionality or impending hazard for correction. Thus, it requires a working facility for the house throughout.

The information on the house status is important for the home inspectors, agents, and buyers. Buyers will rely on its functionality on the first walk-through until the time the sale is completed. 

Damage Prevention

During harsh winters, water pipes are in danger of bursting, which can cause extensive damage to many homes. Turning the heaters off increases the risk of bursting pipes and eventual flooding. If it happens, you know how water damage can be more costly than paying for the utility itself. 

Conversely, high temperatures can also cause damages that may devalue your property. High temperature and humidity can result in mold growth or chipping paints that are not very appealing to potential buyers. 

The damages that the house can incur still fall on the seller before closing. Thus, you should ensure that you have it taken care of before moving out. Fortunately, today, smart devices allow you to control your home temperature remotely through apps. It is possible to keep your utilities turned on until the house is sold. 

For Security

A home shrouded in darkness attracts burglars. You can prevent break-ins if you leave a few light fixtures working. You can find many automatic lamps in the market that turn on and off at certain hours. 

Like your thermostat, you may also be able to control lamps remotely through smart apps. Turn the lamps open, preferably by the front porch and backdoors. It will help discourage potential intrusions at night. 

How Can I Sell My House with Past Due Utility Bills?

How can I sell my house with past due utility bills is a common question for some sellers.

The responsibility for paying the utility bills remains with the seller until the services are canceled. If you have past-due accounts, the only way to clear the title is to pay them off. 

Thus, your option is to pay the bills and send proof of payment to the closing agents. Or, you may choose to have the outstanding balance debited to the final settlement. 

A house free of liens and liabilities with functional facilities is attractive to buyers. You may even raise the selling price of the property with a clean slate. Thus, it always pays to have an updated payment and proper notice to the utility companies before vacating the property. 

How Soon Should You Cancel the Utility Services?

Sellers terminate the services reasonably and justly on the succeeding date of the escrow or date of buyer’s possession. It may take a day or two for the utility companies to turn on the services. So, as a consideration to your buyer, have the utilities on until the next business day after closing. 

It is best to call the utility companies a few weeks in advance to notify them that you are moving out. Schedule your disconnect date the day after closing. The closing date should remain flexible until you receive the proceeds from the sale. If the closing date is moved, inform your utility companies to keep them aware.  

Other Tips for Smooth Moving Out When Selling the House

Paying overdue bills before moving out has a positive impact on your credit score and the sale of the home. 

Here are some tips to keep you off the tension of past-due utility bills. 

  • Give the utility company your forwarding address for the last bill.
  • If possible, opt for online billing and receive bills through email. 
  • Have the utility service providers come into the house for final meter reading and keep a copy of their report.
  • Confirm your “Stop Service” request on the day you cancel their services and transfer it to the new owner.

Can I Sell a House with Past Due Bills Without Hassle?

Sometimes after moving out, your house for sale may get stale in the real estate market. It can be disheartening to pay additional bills while waiting for the closing of escrow. 

Luckily, it is still possible to disclose your property even with liens on its title. Cash investors like We Buy Houses in Denver can offer to pay the property for cash. It will discharge you from the liabilities, stress, and hassle while marketing your home.

All you have to do is give us a call, and we will give you a fair deal for it. Our team of experts will buy your property for cash, and we will take the matters from there.

We buy houses and we buy apartments for cash too! Sell your house fast for cash. is your solution to selling your house. Fast and painless, that’s what we are because we’re the number one cash home buyer in Denver! Contact us now or fill out an online form and our team of experts will get to work, quick and smart, to help you get your house SOLD!

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