Lesson Learned: How We Saved $15,000 in 5 Minutes!
Throughout our real estate journey we have learned some lessons -- both the easy and hard way! So on the blog we will sprinkle in some short posts about lessons learned. This first lesson could have been one of our most expensive lessons if it were not for one phone call.
Whenever you purchase a house (or make any other big decisions or investments...), make sure you check all the mechanicals and look for odd things on the property! During one of my walk throughs of a property with a contractor during our escrow period we noticed that the electrical box looked like it had been tampered with. I thought this was odd (especially since the current owners had many other "odd" red flags about them), and decided to call the power company. Typically, I don't do much with utility companies when purchasing a property--they are in the current owners name and we just call to put them in our name after closing on the property. And the closing company will handle prorating any city assessed utilities (like water or sewer if applicable).
But this one phone call was worth the 5 minutes of my time it turns out! I told the power company that the box looked tampered with and they said that the power had been shut off for a while at the house due to lack of payment and they would have someone go check it out. The next day they called me back and let me know that the current owners had illegally reconnected the power and had stolen over $15,000 in energy! YES, $15,000! I guess that explained all the lights being on and music blasting every time I had been over there, regardless of if they were home...they didn't care how much energy was being used because they were not paying for it! And here is the real kicker, the customer service agent at the power company told me that it was a good thing that I had called when I did because had we called after closing when we were the owners of the property we would be the ones responsible for that bill! Now that would have put a damper on our budget. So next time you walk a property, keep an eye out for electrical boxes that have been tampered with, or anything else out of the ordinary, and it may just save you thousands!