Buying a house with electrical problems

If you are considering buying a home with electrical issues, you need to understand that it can be a risky investment as these issues can be expensive to fix.

And with two-thirds of homebuyers not having their home electrically checked by a professional beforehand, we may soon regret our purchase.

One of the big problems is that homebuyers who invest in a full survey may believe it will include an electrical inspection – it doesn’t.

But with a third of homebuyers soon discovering an electrical problem, according to the Electrical Safety First charity, it means they will face an average bill of £1,700 – and some would have had to face a whole lot more rewiring. expensive.

This means it will be worth investing in a Report on the state of the electrical installation to find out exactly what is wrong with the electricity in the property you want to buy. This report must be completed by a licensed electrician.

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However, there are things you can do to minimize risk when buying, as the team at Property Road explain.

Buying a house with electrical problems

For anyone considering buying a home, here’s what you should consider:

Get a professional opinion

Before purchasing the property, have a professional electrician assess the electrical system and provide a report. This will give you an idea of ​​the extent of the problem and the cost of fixing it – if there is a problem.

Negotiate a price

If there is a problem and you decide to go ahead with the purchase, try to negotiate a lower price based on the electrical issues. This will give you some extra cash to spend on troubleshooting.

Get a guarantee

You or the seller must agree to fix the electrical problem, but be sure to get a warranty on the work done.

What are the most common electrical problems in a home?

There are different types of electrical problems that can occur in a home. These include:

  • Faulty wiring;
  • Circuits overloaded;
  • Outdated or damaged electrical outlets.

If you think there may be a problem with the property you want to buy, it is important to have it checked by a professional electrician as soon as possible.

Ignoring these issues can lead to serious consequences, such as fire or electric shock. Let’s face it, you could be putting your life and that of your family in danger.

How do you know if a house has electrical problems?

There are a few key indicators that can tell you if a home has electrical issues.

This means you shouldn’t be shy about turning on lights and appliances, and you should be looking for:

  • Flickering or dim lights, as these are often a sign of a wiring problem;
  • Outlets that are hot to the touch or sparking indicate a serious problem that should be addressed immediately.
  • Any strange smell coming from the electrical system is also a concern.

If you notice any of these issues, it’s important to have a professional electrician come in and have it repaired.

What are the consequences of not fixing electrical problems in a house?

If electrical problems are not solved in a house, the consequences can be serious.

Electrical fires are a major hazard if electrical issues are not addressed.

In addition, faulty wiring can lead to electric shock, which can be fatal.

In addition to running a health risk and serious damage to your home, you also need to understand that when you have just sold your home, a buyer is unlikely to want to take on the issues, even if you offer a significant discount.

How much does it usually cost to fix electrical problems in a home?

The cost of repairing electrical problems in a home can vary depending on the severity of the problem.

The bill will also depend on where you live in the UK and whether you need the electrician to ‘chase’ the wires ie hide them in the walls.

  • For minor repairs, such as replacing a light switch or dimmer, you might only need £40-60.
  • Adding a light to your loft would cost between £60 and £160, installing kitchen downlights between £250 and £500, but fit an external electric light and the bill could rise to £150.
  • Add two double sockets to a room and you’ll pay between £100 and £170, fitting an electric shower, and it’ll be up to £450.
  • Rewiring a two-bedroom terraced house, which could take five days and cost between £2,000 and £3,000. The three-bedroom house will cost between £3,000 and £4,500, while a four-bed detached house could cost up to £5,500.

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When visiting a property – what electrical checks can I do?

We’ve emphasized in this article that you need to be careful when buying a home with potential electrical issues – and the property doesn’t even have to be that old.

This helps you be able to do a visual safety check – and Electrical Safety First has a free app called “Home Electrical Safety Check” to help. Checks include:

  • Check that the fuse box has RCD protection;
  • Check that power outlets are not overloaded;
  • Make sure sockets and plugs are not damaged;
  • Make sure the light fixtures are not damaged;
  • Check that all downlighters are working.

We also recommend that you ask the seller for copies of all recent utility bills. This will give you an indication of how much energy the house is using and if there have been any spikes in usage that could indicate electrical issues.

What can a seller do with a house that has electrical problems?

There’s no point in just giving your property a lick of paint to find buyers, you’ll need to be honest with them if you know of any issues and don’t tell them. These tips are also good things to watch out for as a homebuyer! For instance:

Is your wiring control panel or fuse box a modern installation?

Having a modern fuse box can prevent many electrical problems in your home.

These are now called ‘consumer units’ and in an older home this is a telltale sign that the electrics might need updating. And remember having a modern unit will provide peace of mind to a buyer. They will also know that there should be no need to upgrade the electrical system and that there is no room to negotiate a discount.

Two-pin sockets

Another issue that will be a “red flag” for a potential buyer will be outdated two-pronged sockets. Dull light switches are also telltale signs that your property will need some electrical work done. Buyers today will want to use modern sockets immediately – and not wait for the electrics to be updated.

Not enough sockets

There is also the problem of the lack of sockets in the house you are selling. Older properties had fewer outlets and some rooms only have one outlet. This is not good for modern homeowners, and you should have multiple outlets in every room. Potential buyers will not want to use extension cords.

Bad wiring

Poor or old wiring will be one of the reasons potential buyers tend to avoid older properties due to the inherent risk, as well as the expense and hassle of rewiring a property. It should be pointed out to buyers that extensive wiring work has been carried out in recent years.


The issue of amperage is important. Modern homes are wired to receive higher amperage than older properties – which used less electricity and were built to cope with lower amperage capacity. As such, older properties with old wiring will struggle to power the fixtures and fittings we tend to use today.

Wet area

As a door-to-door seller, you need to be aware of electricity in wet areas. There are limits to reduce the risk of electrocution, so shaver sockets should be placed at least 15cm from any splash area, including showers. And any electrical equipment in a bathroom will need to have an IP signal cable, such as Cat5.

Again, if you have any doubts, invest in having a professional electrician visit to check your home – for you and your family, as well as to increase your chances of a sale. It will also help prevent an eager buyer from backing out.

Buying a house with electrical problems

There’s no doubt that electrical issues can be a big expense, so it’s important to get professional advice before buying a property that you suspect or know has electrical issues.

If the professional finds a problem – or problems – you should also try to negotiate a lower price or have them do the work and send you the warranty.

And if you notice any electrical problems after purchasing the property, don’t panic. You can find experienced electricians to do the job and do the job well.

But the main advice when buying a house with electrical problems is not to ignore them. – whether they’ve been highlighted in a report or you can see a problem – because electrical faults need to be repaired as quickly as possible.

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