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Electrical Issues That Can Sabotage a Home Sale

Your lights are flickering and the duct tape on your electrical panel is not masking that annoying humming sound. You know it’s time for an electrical upgrade, but you’re putting it off because you plan to put the house on the market. Not so fast! Some electrical issues can put the brakes on a home sale. Not sure which ones? These handy tips from The Neighborhood Electrician can give you a heads-up.

Everyone knows that a nice lawn and front door add “curb appeal” to your home’s value. But sometimes what’s hidden in a breaker panel box can send potential buyers screaming into the night. Don’t make that mistake. Investing some money upfront may help seal the deal or (at least) keep buyers from fleeing.

Bulbs and knobs and tubes… Oh, my!

Some wiring systems in older homes have been in place since William Howard Taft was in the White House. Take a bulb-style fuse box. Or better yet, don’t! Ancient systems like knob and tube aluminum wiring are a leading cause of home fires. If a home inspector finds these in your home, it is likely that buyers and insurance companies will scramble for the exits. Furthermore, those old, creaky systems can’t handle the strain of today’s electronic lifestyles. Your home needs solid copper wire and proper grounding.

Speaking of grounding, nothing screams “let’s get out of here” like those dinosaur two-pronged outlets. Nobody wants to risk their 60-inch smart TV by plugging it into ungrounded receptacles. So you must change those “two-fers” for “three-fers.” That’s easy right? Maybe not! All outlets in your home need to be three-pronged plugs and properly grounded. You can’t just switch out the outlets for the ones with three holes. The reason the house has two-pronged outlets is that a ground wire was never installed. That’s a job for The Neighborhood Electrician.

How old is your electrical panel? Older homes might have an antiquated 60-amp panel with fuses instead of breakers. These days a home should have no less than 100-amp panels, and we recommend 200 for replacement or new construction. Don’t risk losing the sale because your house has a Jurassic era electrical panel. Have it switched out for one that meets today’s needs.

Keep in mind that with electrical panels, some old systems have been recalled for safety reasons. An inspector finding one of these in your home can be a real deal-breaker. The first ones that come to mind are Federal Pacific panels from the 60s and 70s. Those are real fire hazards, and insurance companies won’t touch them with a twenty-foot pole.

Looking for an Outlet!

Back in “olden times” people didn’t need a lot of juice. So it’s not uncommon to find a shortage of outlets – sometimes only one per room. While you not mind long extension cord runs, that won’t sit well with inspectors and prospective buyers. Homes should have multiple outlets in convenient places, such as near dressers and night tables, outside the front door, and near the bathroom mirror for shavers and hair dryers. Adding new outlets involves wiring inside the wall, and it’s not a job for amateurs. So if your home is stingy in the outlet department, let The Neighborhood Electrician open up a new world of connectivity for you.

While we’re on the subject of electrical outlets, wet areas of your home, such as kitchens, bathrooms, laundry rooms, and garages must have GFCI outlets. The initials stand for Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters. Their purpose is to prevent you from lighting up like a Christmas tree if you come into contact with a live circuit. These are easy to install and may not be deal-breakers, but it’s far better to have them in place before a buyer requests a home inspection.

Get a pre-listing electrical inspection

The time to find out if your home’s electrical system is up to the challenge is before you put it on the market. An electrical inspection can spot potential deal-breakers before they happen. We know you don’t want to sink a fortune into a home you want to sell, but it’s advantageous to avoid unpleasant surprises and learn if your system needs to be upgraded to help you earn top dollar on the sale.  Presenting a safe and solid electrical system can save you from rounds of haggling over your home’s price.

So if you’re thinking of selling your home, call us today. The Neighborhood Electrician is here for you Monday through Friday. Call 828-650-9944 or contact us to make an appointment.

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