Most homebuyers have someone inspect the house before they buy it. According to recent surveys, early 80% of homebuyers get a home inspection and about 99% of realtors recommend the practice to their clients. The costs of home inspection services range from $200 to $500 and can uncover electrical problems or issues with drainage. Common electrical problems include improper or undersized electrical wiring.
Things to look for when inspecting your home:
- Hire a professional housing inspector. Get recommendations, interview a few, get quotes and go with the one you trust the most. Ask if they have references, what their experience level is and what their past clients think of them. You probably know someone who has bought a house, see who they hired. Word of mouth advertising is the best kind.
- Research what the inspector will be looking at. You want their expertise and experience but you should know some things to look for. When looking for electrical problems, a bunch of loose wires coming out of the fuse box should be a red flag, of course but there might be less obvious signs that there are issues. Also pay attention to the foundation, plumbing, heating and cooling units, the roof and the gutters.
- Try to be objective. It may be hard to hear that your dream house is too flawed to buy but you have to do it. If your inspector finds the foundation is flawed and will need huge repairs, you may have to look at other houses. Electrical problems may do the same thing as they can be incredibly expensive to fix. This is why you hired the inspector so do not let their expert opinion go to waste.
Not all problems your inspector finds will be “make or break” issues. Some can be fixed pretty easily. If there are electrical problems, there is a chance they can be fixed by upgrading to at least 100 amps and by fixing any wiring that may have been done wrong. One other electrical issue that inspectors find fairly commonly is reversed polarity in some of the outlets. All this means is the neutral and hot wired are put into the wrong terminal. This is a pretty easy thing to fix but might be something that not everyone knows to look for.
Some home sellers do try to “pull the wool over the eyes” of the homebuyer. Most of the time, however, if you or your inspector find problems with a house, the current owner just didn’t know about the issue. For some electrical problems, such as the reversed polarity, that might be in an outlet they have not used or checked. Because people don’t always keep up with certain things, it is even more important than you hire a professional home inspector to look the place over.
Any research you do into a new home is money well spent. It will save you hours of worry and thousands (at least) of dollars later.