How To Buy A House With Electrical Problems
Thinking of buying a home, but it has electrical problems? House electrics are a pretty important part of home ownership, and any electrical issues the home you’re considering purchasing has are a big issue. The electricity in your house has to work well, or you could have an electrical house fire on your hands. One way to prevent buying a home with issues is to do an electrical safety check when buying a house, but what if you do if there are electrical problems and you still want to buy a house? This guide can help.
As You Shop
One of the first things you can do is take a closer look at the property while you’re shopping for it. Determining if a house has electrical problems is important before making a purchase, and you can look out for several indicators that may suggest there are issues with the electrical system. It’s essential to turn on lights and appliances and observe for the following:
- Flickering or dimming lights are often signs of wiring problems.
- Outlets that feel warm to the touch or have sparks coming from them are red flags and should be dealt with immediately.
- Strange smells from the electrical system could also be cause for concern.
If you notice any of these indicators, you’ll want to look further into the electrical systems of the home before you make the purchase.
You can also ask whether you can see the electrical certificate for that property. If you do get a copy, you may want an electrician to look the certificate over for you so that you can better understand any potential problems it may have. If there is no electrical certificate, you’ll want to have an electrician perform an electrical check before you finalise the purchase of the property.
What are Some Common Electrical Issues Facing Homes?
Many homes, particularly older ones, face several different electrical issues, and that can create a problem for potential buyers. Common issues include faulty wiring, overloaded circuits, and outdated or damaged electrical outlets. Fortunately, though, an electrician can easily spot any of these issues and help you better understand what might be wrong with the house you’re interested in.
Keep in mind that it is important to address any potential problems immediately, as ignoring them can lead to hazardous consequences such as fires or electrical shocks, putting both you and your family at risk. It can put your investment in your new home at risk too!
What If You Still Really Want to Buy the Home?
Imagine you’ve found the property of your dreams, but you already know there might be electrical issues with it. What should you do at that point? Start by looking for professional help. Before you commit to actually buying the property – even if it is your dream home – you’ll want to have a qualified electrician evaluate the system and give you a comprehensive report. That will help you better understand the details of any electrical problems that come with the property as well as what those repair costs might look like (we’ll discuss the potential costs of repairs in the next section).
These reports are most commonly known as EICRs, Electrical Installation Condition Reports. They’re essentially the best way to check whether the wiring in the property and the electrics as a whole are safe. Most experts recommend having one done in your home every ten years. During an EICR, a registered electrician carefully inspects all of the electrics and tests to be sure they’re safe. They then find and report any damage or spots that are wearing out that may make the electrics unsafe shortly. They also look for anything that doesn’t meet the current wiring regulations while they’re on the property. Finally, they check for any problems that may cause electric shocks or anything that might create high temperatures that could lead to additional electrical problems in the home.
Many people don’t have these reports done because they’re worried about the added expense when buying a home, but the reality is that you can typically have one of these inspections completed and the report filed for less than £150. It often takes less than a week to have it done too.
Once you have that report, you’ll want to negotiate a lower price for the home. If the assessment shows there are electrical issues, you’ll need to address them. Electrical problems in a home pose significant dangers and should not be ignored. Not fixing them can lead to electrical fires and even electrocution, which can be life-threatening. It can also lead to significant damage to your home and pose a health risk to you and your family. Additionally, should you ever decide to sell the house again in the future, potential buyers may not want to take on the problems when you decide to sell your home, even with a substantial discount, so knowing what you’re getting into is an absolute must. As a result, you won’t want to pay full price for the property. Instead, you’ll want to negotiate a price that leaves you room in your budget to deal with the cost of repairs.
You may also want to seek a warranty for electrical repairs or the home itself before you make a purchase. This is particularly true if the seller decides to have the repairs made before you make a purchase. You want to be sure that the repairs remain under warranty because it can help give you the peace of mind you need to purchase the home.
How Much Do Electrical Repairs Cost?
How much can you expect to spend on electrical repairs in a home? The cost of repairing electrical problems in a home can vary depending on the severity of the issue and your location in the UK. For minor repairs, such as replacing a light switch or a dimmer switch, you may spend between £40 and £60. If you need something more extensive, though, the price can go up considerably. For example, completely rewiring a two-bedroom terrace house may take five days and cost between £2,000 and £3,000. For a three-bedroom home, it could cost between £3,000 and £4,500, and for a four-bedroom detached house, it could cost up to £5,500. Naturally, many different things may need to be done short of complete rewiring, and an electrical professional can help you decide exactly what must be done to the home before you can safely live in it.
While you’re having the electrical repairs completed, there may be some changes you’d like to make as well, and you’ll need to factor those into the costs too. For example, adding a light to your loft would cost between £60 and £160, while fitting kitchen downlights could cost £250 to £500. Adding an external electric light could cost up to £150. Installing two double sockets in a room could range from £100 to £170, and an electric shower could cost up to £450. There are lots of great upgrades you could make to help improve the home while addressing any potential electrical problems the home you wish to purchase might have.
Choosing the Right Electrician to Help
If you are planning to buy a home with electrical problems, you’ll want to work with a great electrician to help you sort those problems out. How do you choose the right one to meet your needs?
To locate a registered electrician anywhere in the UK, you can use one of many different online tools to help. For example, Electrical Safety First, a charity that is working to help reduce potential death or wounds caused by electrical problems in the UK, offers a free online tool to help you connect with registered electricians in the UK. There are several other directories as well to help you connect with an electrician who can meet your needs.
Keep in mind that it is crucial to choose a registered electrician for any electrical installation work to ensure safety and reduce the risk of accidents or injuries caused by electricity. While you may find providers who offer their services for less, choosing not to work with a registered electrician can be a fairly serious problem.
Why is working with a registered electrician so important?
- They are regulated by the UK and Scottish Governments, as appropriate.
- They follow the BS7671 safety standard.
- Their work is regularly assessed.
- They have insurance for your protection.
Maybe the most important reason, though, is that certain electrical work requires a registered electrician by law, and only they can offer you the electrical certificates your insurance provider will require.
If you’re ready to choose an electrician, there are several things you should do. First, clearly state the work you want to be done and request at least three written quotes before you decide on an electrician. Then, you’ll want to verify that the electrician is registered with a government-approved scheme to help protect you and the work you want to have done. Next, be sure you ask for references. That will help you determine if the individual electrician has previously offered quality work to clients. Finally, you’ll want to be sure the electrician you choose has public liability insurance. Most individuals carry a policy of at least £2 million that will help you should something go wrong during the course of the project.
Once you think you’ve found someone who can help, ask for their qualifications and registration status, as well as references from previous customers. It’s important to know who will work in your home and seek a second opinion if necessary. Additionally, check whether your electrical work falls under the Building Regulations for your area, as you may need to use a registered electrician to handle everything and notify your local authority before the work begins. Finally, ask for a quote for the work that needs to be done. To simplify the quotation process and create a clear record of what has been agreed upon, provide your electrician with a written summary of the work required. This will allow for easy comparison of quotes and ensure that the electrician is aware of any special instructions or multiple options for providing the work.
The Bottom Line
There are many different ways to prevent buying a house with electrical problems. The first is to be on the lookout for any common electrical problems with the home. More than that, though, you’ll want to book an electrical inspection of the home before you finalise the contract itself.
If you do find a home you love, but it happens to have electrical problems, you can still buy the home, but you’ll either need to lower your offer on the home so that you can hire an electrician to handle those problems before you move in or you’ll need to negotiate with the seller to be sure they have those problems addressed before you finalise the purchase of the home. Keep in mind that if you are buying a home with known electrical issues, you may have trouble getting a mortgage on the property because of those issues, so make certain you talk to your lender before you complete your mortgage paperwork to be certain those electrical issues won’t hold you back from the purchase of a home.
Electrical problems may not be on the top of the list of things you want in a new home, but fortunately, it is still possible to repair those and move into the home of your dreams as long as you have the help of a registered electrician on your side to make it happen.