Here’s the rub: if you make an offer on the home, and the bank accepts it, the house has to be de-winterized in order to do a proper home inspection. And, when the inspection is complete, it often requires re-winterizing. Some banks handle this for the buyer through the listing agent, and some don’t. And sometimes the bank requires the buyers to arrange, at their expense, for the utilities to be turned on briefly for the inspection--which is not an easy process.
For the really cheap “bargain” properties, you may not be allowed to turn the utilities on at all. It’s as is, where is; take it or leave it. But a competent home inspector can still tell you a lot about the condition of the home and its components during a “dry” inspection--we just don’t like to do it that way, because there are invariably a few unpleasant surprises when the utilities kick on.