Whether this is your first time or it’s your first time in 20 years, when house hunting, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the signs of an electrically damaged home. The unseen mechanical systems of a home are often overlooked during the home buying experience. Unfortunately, buyers tend to focus mainly on the aesthetics of their potential purchase. The following advice will help you through the home buying process:
- Don’t be fooled by staging – Sellers strategically place mirrors, lighting and plants to hide imperfections or make rooms appear larger than they actually are.
- Check out the neighborhood – The best way to get a feel for your potential neighborhood is to survey the area by foot. Taking the time to walk through the neighborhood will allow you to see the area in a more detailed way than a quick drive-through.
- Don’t overlook potential hidden dangers – Make sure to check obvious issues such as cracks in the walls, but also be aware that faulty wiring or other hidden dangers could exist underneath. The wires, conduits and boxes should be securely fixed to the building, and there should be no visible signs of damage or deterioration.
- Electrical panels are important – Panels should be neat and tidy. There are several brands of circuit breaker panels with well-known documented issues. The most notable would be Federal Pacific Electric (FPE) and Zinsco. Zinsco panels also bore the brand name of Sylvania, GTE, and Kearney. If you chose to purchase a house with these panels, they will need to be replaced.
- Bring in an expert – Calling a professional electrician for an inspection will help spot the potential issues, give you negotiating room or help you decide to move on, to the next house.