Buying Investment Property Electrical Inspection When Buying a House: What Investors Should Know by Charles Mburugu August 20, 2021August 20, 2021 by Charles Mburugu August 20, 2021August 20, 2021 An electrical inspection is one of the most critical steps towards buying an investment property. The inspection gives you a chance to ensure that the home complies with the National Electric Code (NEC) safety standards. You will also get a general overview of the income property’s electrical health and find out whether any repair is required. An electrical system inspection can take between 1 to 3 hours. It involves looking at many elements including circuit breakers, electrical wiring, smoke alarms, safety switches, connections with devices, and electrical panel inspection. Related: What to Look for During a Home Inspection of a Fixer Upper Reasons to Ask For an Electrical Inspection Here are some of the reasons why you should ask for an electrical inspection before purchasing a house: A Normal Building Inspection Doesn’t Always Include Electricals Typical building inspection covers things like foundations, heating, plumbing, fire safety, and structure examination. Since this inspection might not include testing of wiring, circuits, and other electrical elements, it is advisable to request an electrical inspection. This way, you can be sure that all the components are functional and safe. Outlets Need to Be Tested Electrical outlets in a home must be tested to ensure that they are well-grounded. This will prevent potential danger when appliances are plugged in. Physical flaws such as loose screws and cracks could imply that there isn’t sufficient tension to hold the chord while plugged in. Kitchen outlets in particular might need extra testing since they supply power to many appliances. Electrical Wiring Has a Lifespan Like many other components in the house, electrical wiring has a lifespan. This means that it will not perform effectively towards the end of its life. It is therefore important to get the circuit and wiring tested before buying a home. Examining the Power Box Also known as the service panel, a home’s power box is the hub of the whole electrical system. It must therefore be tested to make sure that it can keep working for a long time to come. The power box must be up-to-date and should be able to accommodate expansions on the circuit to satisfy the demands of new technology. You Are Buying an Old House If you are thinking of purchasing an older home, an electrical inspection is absolutely critical. All the areas mentioned above must be checked to ensure that the original circuits are still functional and can handle the demands of modern living. Benefits of Electrical Inspection A thorough electrical inspection offers the following advantages: Safety: Defects in an electrical system can result in electrocutions and shocks, home fire, and shorted-out appliances. The wrong components, faulty wiring, DIY work, and wrong installation methods can be a safety hazard. An experienced inspector will identify any of these problems and advise on how to make the home safe Prevention: While the system may be currently safe, an electrical inspector will spot issues that could escalate into larger problems in the future. Correcting potential problems now will help you avoid dealing with safety concerns, electrical failures, and higher costs in future Wire health: Wires run all through a home and connect to lights, switches, outlets, and other fixtures. Loose connections, exposed metal, and overloaded wires can cause a fire hazard. A qualified inspector will know where to look for issues Price negotiation: An electrical inspection could come in handy when negotiating prices. In case the electrical system is in bad health, you can negotiate a lower sales price based on the cost of electrical wiring and the cost of updating electrical fixtures. Alternatively, you could ask the seller to make the required repairs before you move in What to Expect in an Electrical Inspection An electrical inspection usually happens in two stages. The first is referred to as the rough-in inspection. This happens when all the cables, wires, conduits, and electrical boxes have been installed. Rough-in inspection needs to be conducted before insulation is installed to allow inspectors to see all the wire runs clearly. The second inspection happens when the home is complete, but before you move in. This is known as the final inspection. At this stage, floors are complete, painting is finished, walls are closed in and you are ready to bring in the furniture. If the inspector approves the electrical system, it means that it is up to code and meets professional standards. Here are some of the things electrical inspectors look for: Box heights: Inspectors measure switch and box heights to determine if they are consistent. Generally, outlets (also known as receptacles) should be not less than 12 inches above the floor, while switches should be no less than 48 inches above the floor. However, this is subject to specific allowances. For instance, the height could be much lower in a child’s room to allow accessibility Receptacles: Receptacles or outlets will be checked to ensure that they have a ground, and are free from cracks or other physical flaws. Specific areas to look out for are garages, kitchens, bathrooms, basements, and outdoor outlets. Some of these areas could be damp or wet, thus requiring a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) to be installed Cables and wires: At the rough-in stage, inspectors will check how the cables are placed in the boxes. There should be no less than 8 inches of wire length extending from the box. This ensures there is enough wire length to connect to the device and makes provision for future trimming. The inspector will also check if the wire gauge is suitable for the amperage of the circuit GFCI and AFCI circuit protection: GFCI circuit protection has always been a requirement for appliances or outlets located near sources of water or in outdoor locations. A newer requirement for home electrical circuits is arc-fault circuit interrupters (AFCI). The inspector will check to ensure this protection adheres to code requirements Proper circuits: The inspector will check to ensure that the house has the right number of circuits for the electrical demand. This includes ensuring that there are dedicated circuits for appliances, especially in kitchens. The inspector will also check if there is a suitable number of lighting circuits for each room Related: The Ultimate Property Inspection Checklist for Real Estate Investors Hiring a Residential Electrical Inspector Considering the importance of electrical inspection, it is very important to look for a credible company to do the job. Here are the factors to consider before hiring an inspector: Licensed and insured: If you work with an uninsured and unlicensed company, you are likely to become a victim of fraud or poor workmanship. This is why it is advisable to go for a company that is both licensed and insured Experience and qualifications: It’s important to know how long the company has been in business. In addition, find out if their technicians have the necessary qualifications and experience Equipment: It is not possible to do a proper inspection without the right equipment. Choose a service provider that uses up-to-date technology for home electrical testing Warranty: With a warranty, you are assured that if any issue arises after an inspection, you will get free replacement or repair Electrical inspection cost: The cost of an electrical inspection on the home should also be considered. According to Thumbtack, the cost of electrical inspection ranges from $110 to $125 per session. However, the full cost will vary based on several factors. Conclusion The importance of electrical inspection cannot be overemphasized. To save yourself heartaches and frustrations in the future, be sure to get a thorough inspection done before signing on the dotted line. When choosing a service provider, check their license, qualification, experience, equipment, warranty, and cost for electrical work. To learn more about how we will help you make faster and smarter real estate investment decisions, click here. Start Your Investment Property Search! START FREE TRIAL Home Inspection 0 FacebookTwitterGoogle +PinterestLinkedin Charles Mburugu Charles Mburugu is a HubSpot-certified content writer/marketer for B2B, B2C and SaaS companies. He loves writing on topics that help real estate investors and agents make better choices. Previous Post Why Buying Property Makes Sense in 2021 Next Post A real estate investor’s guide to sewer line inspection Related Posts Concrete vs Asphalt Driveways: Which is the Best Option for Investment Properties? Best Place to Buy Investment Property for Cash on Cash Return in 2018: Oakland Real Estate Market How to Find Investment Property for Sale Near Me Why Buying Property Makes Sense in 2021 What Cash on Cash Return for a Rental Property Can You Expect in 2018? Price-to-Rent Ratio: Everything You Need to Know 6 Things You Should Know Before Buying a Landlocked Property Is There Really a Best Time of Year to Buy a House for Real Estate Investing? 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